Before the advent of the Uniform Services Thrift Savings Plan, servicemembers often invested in U.S. Savings bonds. As a rule the TSP has seen greater rates of return, but it carries a greater level of risk, especially in the current market.
Those who seek a safer way to invest still have access to purchasing U.S. Savings Bonds. The Treasury Dept. announced the earnings rates for Series I Savings Bonds (.74 percent) and Series EE Savings Bonds (.6 percent), issued from November 2010 through April 2011.