WASHINGTON — Service members would see a 3.1 percent pay raise next January and the military would add about 30,000 more active-duty and reserve troops under President Donald Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal released on Monday.
For junior enlisted troops, a 3.1 percent pay hike would to about $815 more a year in pay. For senior enlisted and junior officers, the hike equals about $1,500 more. For an O-4 with 12 years service, it’s more than $2,800 extra next year.
In his budget announcement, Trump said the 3.1 percent increase was “the largest increase in a decade." According to the Pentagon’s records, service members received a 3.9 percent pay increase in 2009 and a 3.4 percent increase in 2010. The size of each year’s raise is linked to private sector wages, as measured by the Employment Cost Index.
The proposed $750 billion defense budget is dependent upon Congress supporting an additional $164 billion in overseas contingency operations spending, or OCO. It would be the largest OCO amount requested since the Obama administration requested $167 billion at the height of the surge in Afghanistan, and $194 billion in 2008 at the height of the Iraq surge. That request, however, is likely to be challenged by House Democrats who object to increased military funding while domestic programs face sharp cuts.
The document highlights a host of administration priorities for the Defense Department, including personnel policies. In the budget, officials said their plan “builds on steady gains that have restored military readiness, enhanced lethality, and increased force size” in recent years. The plus-up of personnel would increase military end strength to 2,140,300 active and reserve military personnel, according to the budget documents.
White House officials said extra troops are needed “to achieve the objectives in the National Defense Strategy.” Details on which services will gain forces are expected in the coming days.
Leo covers Congress, Veterans Affairs and the White House for Military Times. He has covered Washington, D.C. since 2004, focusing on military personnel and veterans policies. His work has earned numerous honors, including a 2009 Polk award, a 2010 National Headliner Award, the IAVA Leadership in Journalism award and the VFW News Media award.
Tara Copp is the Pentagon Bureau Chief for Military Times and author of the award-winning military nonfiction "The Warbird: Three Heroes. Two Wars. One Story."