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WASHINGTON (AP) — It sounds like a pretty good deal: Retire at age 38 after 20 years of work and get a monthly pension of half your salary for the rest of your life. All you have to do is join the military.

As the nation tightens its budget belt, the century-old military retirement system has come under attack as unaffordable, unfair to some who serve and overly generous compared with civilian benefits.

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