The military's Basic Allowance for Subsistence will rise 2.9 percent next year, a bump in pay that will help offset a historically small pay raise and a cut in housing allowances.
Starting in January, enlisted service members will receive $367.92 per month in BAS pay, up from $357.55 in 2015, defense officials said.
For officers, next year's BAS pay will be $253.38, up from the 2014 rate of $246.24, officials said.
The BAS rate is intended to offset the costs for service members' meals and is based on the military's tradition of providing room and board or rations as part of military pay. Its rise is linked to the cost of food as measured by the U.S. Agriculture Department's food cost index.
The uptick in BAS comes at the same time that the 2015 pay raise will be capped at 1 percent, slightly below the 1.8 percent estimated growth in projected private-sector wage growth.
And the defense bill finalized by Congress in December will shave 1 percent from the tax-free Basic Allowance for Housing. Under the new law, the 2015 BAH is calculated to cover only 99 percent of estimated housing costs, a change from the policy for the past decade of providing troops with a BAH to cover 100 percent of housing costs.
Despite the BAH cut, individual troops will not see any year-over-year drops in BAH if they are remaining in the same location. The Defense Department's rate-protection policy is designed to shield service members who have entered into multiyear leases.