By Gina Harkins, Senior Staff Writer at MOAA
Members of Congress agreed on a deal that would give
servicemembers a 2.4-percent pay bump in 2018 - up from the 2.1-percent
raise proposed by the president.
Lawmakers released the National
Defense Authorization Act plan for FY 2018 on Wednesday. The proposed
$700 billion spending bill still requires approval in the House and
Senate, but if it is passed it will mean more money in the pockets of
Lieutenant colonels and Navy or
Coast Guard commanders with 16 to 17 years of service will take home an
extra $2,400 next year under the new plan. O-3s who've served for four
to five years will pocket an extra $130 each month on the plan, and E-5s
with at least six years in uniform will earn an extra $822 next year.
face a wide array of threats around the globe and this bill provides
the authorities and resources for our men and women of the armed forces
to do the job we've asked them to do,” Rep. Rob Wittman, (R-Va.), chair
of the House Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower and Projection
Forces, said in a statement.
A 2.4-percent pay raise would mark
the largest increase for troops since 2010. For years, servicemembers'
pay increases have lagged behind those in the civilian sector. This
raise would help close that gap in 2018.
Sens. Joni Ernst (R-Iowa) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), along with
Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas), have pushed for higher military pay
raises, citing a mandate that requires increases to match the Employment
Cost Index unless the president cites economic concerns or a national
emergency. President Donald Trump's proposed pay raise for
servicemembers wasn't enough to match the private sector, they said.
[military] personnel are our country's most valuable asset,” a House
Armed Services Committee Majority summary of the conference report
states. “The bill fully funds the 2.4 [percent] pay raise our troops are
entitled to under law while blocking the president's ability to reduce
The spending plan also calls for an additional 20,300
troops in uniform: 16,600 on active duty and another 3,700 in the
The Army would get the biggest increase with
8,500 more soldiers. The Air Force would be next in line, with 5,800
personnel. The Navy would get 5,000 more sailors and the Marine Corps
1,000 more leathernecks.
The increases are necessary, lawmakers said in the release, as the world becomes a more dangerous place.
military leaders continue to warn that our personnel and their
equipment are stretched thin after years of war, billions in budget
cuts, downsizing, and continued funding uncertainty,” the release
states. “To help alleviate the stress on the force, the NDAA authorizes
increases to the size of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Army Guard
and Reserve, Naval and Air Reserve, and Air Guard commensurate with the
threats we face.”
The plan also includes nearly $66 billion for
overseas contingency operations as troops continue deploying to places
like the Middle East, Europe, and the Asia-Pacific region. Congress has
until December to come up with a deal to fund its $700 billion defense
proposal, or it might have to delay its spending plans again, Stars and Stripes reported.