Military personnel will get a 1.7 percent pay raise for the next two years, but the rate will drop significantly after 2014, according to Defense Department officials.
Military personnel will see a pay raise of 1.7 percent in 2013 and in 2014, up from 1.4 percent in 2011 and 1.6 percent in 2012. Pay raises will drop to 0.5 percent in fiscal 2015, then increase to 1 percent in 2016 and to 1.5 percent in 2017.
The Pentagon said the smaller raises will help control personnel costs, which have risen 90 percent since 2001. Delaying pay-raise reductions will give military members time to plan for smaller increases, officials said.
"We will slow growth in pay, but there will be no pay freezes or cuts," said Robert Hale, the Pentagon's comptroller, during a press briefing Monday.
According to a defense budget overview released Monday, the higher pay raises during the next two years will help personnel deal with the "stress of military life" and "attract and retain needed personnel."
Comparatively, the Obama administration is proposing a pay raise of 0.5 percent during the next two years for federal workers who have endured a two-year pay freeze.
The new budget also proposes increases in military health insurance enrollment fees and increases in pharmacy co-payments for retirees, to be phased in over the next four years.
Changes to health care benefits would not apply to active duty service members, those who retired with disabilities or survivors of service members who died on active duty.
The total cost for military health care is $48.7 billion for 2013, down from $52.8 billion in 2012.
The Pentagon did not propose any changes in military retirement for 2013, but is recommending that Congress establish a commission to conduct a comprehensive review of retirement benefits. All proposed changes under the commission would apply only to new recruits.
Total savings in military pay and benefits will amount to $29 billion during the next five years.
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Kristina Wong is a national security reporter for The Washington Times, covering defense, foreign policy and intelligence affairs. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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