U.S. Military members are paid a monthly, tax-free allowance, called "BAS," or "Basic Allowance for Subsistence, which is designed to pay for the food they eat. It should be noted that BAS is designed to pay for the food military members eat, not food for their family members.
Military members who are authorized to eat for free in the base dineing facilities (chow halls) have all or most of this allowance automatically deducted from their pay checks (you can't be paid BAS, and get free food from the chow hall at the same time).
This year's BAS raise was very small over the 2010 rates. That's because (by law), BAS is based on the average cost of food, and -- according to the Department of Agriculture (where DOD gets their data), food prices increased very little over the past year.
2011 BAS Rates
Enlisted Members: $325.04