On August 30, 2013, President Obama informed Congress that he will be exercising his powers as President to cap the military's pay at one-percent for 2014. Congress can still override the President's cap and send him the 1.8% per current Title 37 mandate; however, Congress would need to find the additional funding required to make this a reality, and finding the additional $580 million will be difficult with the state of today's economy.
If approved, a 1.0 percent raise equals $3.79 a week more (before taxes) for a newly joined member of the Armed Forces.
According to the Defense Finance and Accounting Service official website, the base pay for Pay Grade E-1 in all branches of the Armed Forces is $1,516.20 per month.
According to The Department of Health and Human Services’ Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation (APSE) official website, the poverty line for a single person is $11,490.00 per month.
The highest pay raise the uniformed services received between 1976 and 2009 was during the Reagan presidency was in 1982, with a pay raise of 14.3 percent. During Pres. Reagan's administration, the smallest pay raise ever approved was 2.0 percent which occurred in 1988.
During the Obama administration, pay raise approvals for the Services have seen a steady decline:
2009 – 3.9%
2010 – 3.4%
2011 – 1.4%
2012 – 1.6%
2013 – 1.7%
2014 – 1.0%
Military pay increases by law are now linked with private sector growth as reflected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index. Using this Index, an assessment that would call for a 1.8% increase in 2014, which military family advocates are seeking. Despite the US Congress sending to the White House a pay raise for the Uniformed Services in keeping with the formula utilized the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Pres. Obama has decided to bypass Congress by using his presidential privilege of dispensing of the law and almost halve the recommended 1.8 percent hike for the military. According to the Army Times, The White House spokeswoman stated that President Obama is committed to "a sacred trust" with military members, but needed to reduce the pay raise, partly to offset congressional refusal to cut spending on "outdated weapons system." The Pentagon is asking Congress to limit it to 1% and save $540 million that the Defense Department must pay for training and support. The Defense Department is also seeking to raise or establish certain fees in health coverage for retirees and military dependents, a savings of $1 billion.
Military families and their advocates are battling this proposal of what is the lowest increase in half a century, at a time when forces will still be fighting in Afghanistan. Pentagon officials briefing military family representatives framed the 1% increase as a trade-off — "They believe servicemembers and families would be willing to give something on the size of pay raises to ensure funding for the mission," the National Military Family Association explained to members on its website. This "trade-off" has not been well received by miltary spouses who do not see this as a fair choice as funding training and readiness are vital to the servicemember and the Department of Defense, but should not be used for comparison.
Non-military federal workers have seen their pay frozen for three years and Obama exempted troops from the impact of sequestration furloughs.
The basic pay charts below are for active and reserve components of the United States Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard for the calender year 2014, beginning January 1st if approved. The pay rates are monthly amounts rounded to the nearest U.S. dollar.
Click on the following links to see the proposed 2014 military base pay charts: