Dwindling Pay Raises

Military pay, which has risen at well over inflation since 2001, will slow under the new austerity defense budget submitted to Congress on Monday. After proposed raises of 1.7 percent in Fiscal 2013 and Fiscal 2014—consistent with government-figured inflation—raises will only be 0.5 percent in Fiscal 2015, 1.0 percent in Fiscal 2016, and 1.5 percent in Fiscal 2017, according to Pentagon Comptroller Robert Hale. At the Pentagon press conference rolling out the Fiscal 2013 defense budget request, Hale noted, however, that basic pay is something that will be evaluated every year, cognizant of the economy, competition with the private sector, and retention. Retention right now is “very strong,” said Hale, so a big pay increase isn’t necessary to hold people. Plus, the Pentagon is seeking to shed tens of thousands of uniformed personnel anyway. Even so, Hale noted an axiom of budgeting that “the outyears never come,” and the real world will doubtlessly drive future pay raises.