Troops Would See 2.7% Pay Raise Under Proposed DoD Budget

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Military pay. Military OneSource photo
Military pay. Military OneSource photo

Military service members and civilian federal government employees would both receive a 2.7% pay raise under the proposed fiscal 2022 budget request released Friday.

See what the projected 2.7% pay raise means for you.

In its first budget proposal, the Biden administration is asking for $715 billion in funding for the Defense Department in 2022, a 1.6% increase over the current year's budget of $703.7 billion.

The proposed budget would also provide an average 3.1% increase in troops' basic allowance for housing payments, and an average 2.3% increase in basic allowance for subsistence payments.

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The proposed pay raise would be slightly lower than the 3% pay raise enacted in fiscal 2021. If approved, the 2.7% raise would mean an extra $183 each month for a major with more than six years of service, who makes nearly $6,800 per month. It would also mean roughly another $105 per month for an E-6 with more than eight years of service, who makes nearly $3,883 in basic pay.

For the first time since the 9/11 attacks, the Pentagon is not planning to break funding for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq into a separate Overseas Contingency Operations, or OCO, fund. That move comes as the Biden administration is pulling all remaining troops from Afghanistan and winding down the nearly two-decade war there.

Funding for operations that formerly would have been funded under the OCO -- long derided by critics as a "slush fund" for its lack of transparency and for being exempt from budget caps the rest of the DoD has operated under for years -- will now be part of the Pentagon's standard budget. The military expects to spend $53 billion on OCO costs in 2021.

But the Pentagon is still budgeting $42.1 billion as part of the regular budget for "Direct War and Enduring Operations" costs. This would help pay for the military's "over the horizon" capabilities that would allow it to respond to emerging terrorist threats in Afghanistan after the military withdraws, among other things.

The Pentagon's budget for next year largely focuses on countering China, which it said "poses the greatest long-term challenge to the United States."

The military will also seek to help the nation wipe out COVID-19; address threats from Russia, Iran, North Korea and other violent extremist organizations, such as the Islamic State; modernize its warfighting capabilities and divest outdated and unnecessary programs; and focus on climate change as a national security priority.

The proposed budget includes more than $500 million for COVID-fighting efforts, such as vaccinating local populations. And it would set aside $617 million in new investments to make military installations more resilient and prepared for climate change. This issue has become more pressing in recent years, as the Air Force suffered severe damage to Tyndall Air Force Base, Florida, and Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska, following a devastating hurricane and flooding, respectively.

The focus on China -- which the budget called the nation's "pacing threat" -- means big proposed budget increases for the Navy and Air Force, but a cut for the Army and other DoD organizations.

The Navy's budget would grow by 2.2%, from $207 billion to $211.7 billion. The Air Force's budget increase would be nearly twice as big, growing 4.3% from $204 billion to $212.7 billion.

The Army, however, would see its budget fall from $174.3 billion to $172.7 billion, a nearly 1% cut. Other DoD organizations would also lose $597 million in funding, bringing them to $117.8 billion.

The budget includes nearly $5.1 billion in investments for specific programs in the Pacific Deterrence Initiative to help stave off potential threats from China. This initiative seeks to modernize and strengthen U.S. forces in the region; improve logistics and maintenance; and stockpile equipment, munitions, fuel and materiel in the area; hold training and exercise programs for joint forces; improve infrastructure; and build up allies' and partners capabilities.

Although the military is planning to cut its total force end strength by about 5,400 in 2022, the growth in pay and benefits means personnel funding would still grow to $167.3 billion, $5 billion more than is expected to be spent in 2021.

-- Stephen Losey can be reached at stephen.losey@military.com. Follow him on Twitter @StephenLosey.

Related: Biden's 1st Budget Request Sidelines Defense Spending in Favor of Massive Domestic Investments

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