Biggest Pay Raise For U.S. Troops In 20 Years

( A big pay raise could be coming to both civilian workers and troops if the Pentagon’s request for funds under its annual budget are approved.

On Monday, the Pentagon released its annual budget request, which included a 4.6% increase in pay for all civilian workers and troops. That would mark a huge increase from the 2.7% pay raise they got in 2022. Still, it’s much lower than the rate of inflation the country is experiencing.

In speaking with reporters on Monday, Kathleen Hicks, the deputy defense secretary, commented:

“That’s our largest pay raise in 20 years on the military and civilian side.”

Other main measures included in the Pentagon’s $773 billion budget request are reforms regarding sexual assault as well as initiative earmarked for climate change.

The Pentagon requested $479 million to accomplish recommendations handed down by a review panel that was ordered by President Joe Biden last year. This money will go toward implementing various reforms regarding sexual assault.

In addition to the pay raise, military families might be eligible for an increase of $200 every month to their normal subsidy for child care. Other “non-appropriated fund employees” — those federal employees who work at golf courses, bowling allies and restaurants — would have a new minimum wage rate of $15 per hour.

The overall spending request by the Pentagon represented a 1% increase over last year’s actual spending numbers. It’s just a request, of course. Along with Biden’s spending plan proposal, it now will head over to Congress, who will undoubtedly craft their own plan before it’s finally approved.

Just because the Pentagon is requesting a big raise for civilian workers and troops, for instance, doesn’t mean that they will ultimately get it. Congress members could decide to slash that part from the final budget, or they could even decide to increase it.

The pay raise for 2022 was 2.7%, and that was fully authorized when Biden signed the defense authorization bill last December. That was actually a decrease from the 3% increase that civilian workers and troops got the year before.

While the request for a 4.6% pay increase sounds like quite a lot, it still pales in comparison to the rate of inflation, which has been more than 7% just this year. That means that the increase in pay may not even exceed the increased costs of goods and services.

As Hicks explained:

“We will at the same time be looking over the summer at where exactly inflation lands and how inflation ends up affecting our service members. That said, we built into this ’23 budget the best information that we have at the time we built the budget.”

The money included in the budget for sexual assault reforms will in part pay for hiring personnel dedicated to military justice and counseling, according to Mike McCord, the comptroller of the Department of Defense.

Hicks last year unveiled a new plan that would create a specialized workforce for the military that was focused solely on preventing sexual assault, as well as adding victim advocates and response coordinators.