Military Pay News
The proposed package includes two major ideas, retired Adm. Donald Pilling, former vice chief of naval operations, explained. These include revamping the retirement system so service members receive more pay throughout their careers rather than at their completion, and basing pay on performance rather than longevity and other factors, he said.
Pilling emphasized that any proposed changes to the compensation package would be grandfathered in, so currently serving members would not be affected. The only exception could be in the case that current members are offered the opportunity to voluntarily "opt in" to the new system, he said.
In terms of retirement, the committee recommends: vesting members at 10 rather than 20 years; paying graduated retirement plans ranging from 25 percent of base pay at 10 years to 100 percent of base pay at 40 years; establishing a Thrift Savings Plan with government contributions of 5 to 10 percent of base pay; providing "gate pays" at specific service milestones, as determined by the individual services; and delaying payment of the retirement annuity until age 60.
In terms of pay for performance, the committee recommends revising the pay charts so pay is based on time in grade rather than years of service; and eliminating the "with dependents" and "without dependents" provision of basic allowance for housing so all service members in the same pay grade receive the same allowance, regardless of their family situation.
And in line with these changes, there's a move afoot to push the pay tables out to 40 years.
Pentagon officials will ask Congress to extend the military pay table to 40 years, with pay increases designed to give senior military personnel — enlisted, warrants and commissioned officers — an incentive to stay in the force a little longer.
David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, on Wednesday did not provide any details of what the pay raises might look like, but said defense officials would like to see senior people with high-demand technical skills or valuable institutional knowledge keep serving longer than they currently are.
They'll have to change the law regarding high year tenure for that to be of any value, though.
And finally, there's a group of Democrats that think the proposed 2.2% raise for next year is not enough.
Sen. John Kerry and a team of Democratic lawmakers are pushing for a bigger pay raise for military personnel in 2007, saying the proposed 2.2 increase simply isn’t enough.
“I will push for a salary that meets the needs of our troops,” Kerry said in a statement sent to Stripes on Friday. “When gas prices and everything else are so high, we can’t just pull a number out of thin air. We have to be sure their salary is enough to put food on the table and do right by their families.”
The 10-senator team earlier this month sent a letter to the Senate Budget Committee calling the Defense Department’s proposal “paltry” and saying “Congress must do better” for the troops.