2012 BAS Rates Released


Are you looking for 2013?  See 2013 BAS Rates Announced.

The 2012 Basic Allowance for Subsistence rates were released yesterday.  The new rates are:

Enlisted personnel:  $348.44, up from $325.04

Officer personnel:  $239.96, up from $223.84

These new rates reflect a 7.2% increase, which correlates with the increase in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s “cost of food at home” index.

Why do officers and enlisted folks get different rates?  I have researched and researched, and I have never been able to figure out the historical reason behind the difference.  If anyone of you know, I would love to hear!

Want to know more?  You might find answers in Understand How Basic Allowance for Subsistence Works.

About the Author

Kate Horrell
Kate Horrell is a military financial coach, mom of four teens, and Navy spouse. She has a background in taxes and mortgage banking, and a trove of experience helping other military families with their money. Follow her on twitter @realKateHorrell.

21 Comments on "2012 BAS Rates Released"

  1. The BAS rates are different for officers/enlisted because officers make more base pay so therefore they don’t “need” as much for cost of living adjustments.

  2. Officers don't work as hard as the enlisted and NCO's either :o)

  3. I hear what both of you are saying, but BAS is specifically designed to pay for food for the active duty member. It is in lieu of receiving rations. So it still doesn't make sense to me.

  4. Officers don't get a uniform allowance either…. plus look at officer BAH and enlisted BAH.

  5. We could go on and on about the differences in pay and allowances between enlisted and officer. For instance, Departmental LCPO's don't receive a bonus as Department heads do. As for BAS, officers have a mess bill that they pay monthly. Enlisted usually never see the monies because it's already deducted for the month, whether they eat all three meals or not.

  6. My husband said its because most lower enlisted live in barracks which means they eat at dfac (meal deductions).. And officers typically make more money so they don’t utilize defac.

  7. From what I have heard in the past it was about the calorie intake required for the enlisted workers doing more physical labor and those who were not doing as much physical labor, officers.

  8. Officers make more money because they are OFFICE sirs, and therefore should always stay in their office. At least that is what my CH Assitant tells me.

  9. Fred Koppenhafer | December 29, 2011 at 4:45 pm |

    It has been years since I was involved with military pay, however there are certain understandable differences between the two groups. First, our enlisted men and women have more children dependents therefor the greater need for space and food considerations. The economic income of our enlisted personnel is considerably less than the economic income of officer personnel. In addition, there is a significant need to attract enlisted recruits and what better way is their than to provide a monitary incentive. All other opinions are welcome, but the bottom line is we need to recruit the best enlisted personnel available in order to make the overall military function opperate effectively.
    Fred ( an E-1 (MOS 1930) to an O-5 Retired)

  10. The BAH is specifically taylored to the area in whihc you are stationed. In my area an E-5 like myself who gets single BAH gets $843 a month. whereas an O-3, and I'm not sure that's even a fair comparison since O-3 is automatically obtained in 4 years, while E-5 typically takes 5-8 to obtain. But regardless, an O-3 recieves $1248 a month in BAH. The difference in BAH alone more than outweighs the lack of uniform allowance and the $108.48 per month in BAS when calculated over a 12 month duration. Add to that the difference in Basic Pay, which for a quick example we can reference the same E-5 and O-3, considering the idea that both have 6 years of service the E-5 makes $2620.20 per month while the O-3 makes $5188.80 per month. And E-5 in 6 years is quite ambitious, while O-3 in 6 years is 2 years after automatic promotion. So the moral of my story is that any officer who truly feels the need to complain about the $108.48 difference in BAS needs to look at the bigger picture, and then themselves to decide if they are really qualified to be wearing a Commissioned uniform.

  11. There are so many items on this page that can be addressed. I’ll hit on a few.

    Each pay or allowance a service member receives needs to be considered entirely separate when comparing. The amount of BAS for officer or enlisted has absolutely no relation to base pay, or BAH. Just as BAH has no relation to base pay or any incentive pays. As to the exact reason officer BAS is lower I am uncertain. But, if I were to take a guess I would throw my hat in on the overall amount of food that a physically active person would require.

    That being said, I will accept the fact that most enlisted personnel do more physically demanding work than most officers. That doesn’t take away from the fact that most officer positions carry much more responsibility to it. Even senior enlisted have an officer over them that is responsible for duties/actions. Today’s military has many more enlisted with degrees than ever before. Most of those degrees were obtained thanks to the many programs available to military personnel. This enables an enlisted person to better their education to make themselves more marketable upon EAOS or apply for a commissioning program.

    When I was enlisted I would’ve agreed with the concept that the officer/enlisted pay scale was out of balance. Since discharging from active duty I went back to school, received a bachelors and a doctorate. I applied for and received a commission and am active duty. As much as I know I will get flack for the next statement . . . My previous belief of the pay scale discrepancy was born out of ignorance and partly jealousy.

    The amount of physical work performed is not related to the amount of pay one receives. If that were true then a foreman of a construction job would be paid less than the apprentice journeyman. Heck, the new guy on the job site should make more than the owner of the company!! Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.

    I never would have imagined the amount of responsibility and work required as an officer. I certainly don’t work “physically” hard and I haven’t cleaned a head (except at home) in a LONG time. But, I have had to deal with things that I never would’ve imagined when I was enlisted and I know for a fact that most of the enlisted people I work with don’t know either. I wouldn’t expect them to because it’s not their job, it’s mine.

  12. Tom Sachariason | January 26, 2012 at 4:35 pm |

    Enlisted BAS used to correlate to the monthly cost of the meals at the unit's dining facility (DFAC). Prior to 1 Jan 2002, Soldiers living in the barracks didn't get the BAS because they ate in the DFAC for free. The Soldiers that lived off-post got Separate Rations. When an Officer would go to the DFAC, he/she paid for their meal and also paid an additional amount or surcharge. The officer BAS became the amount that it would cost to pay that surcharge at each meal. The surcharge was less than the cost of the meal, so the result was a reimbursement less than the amount of BAS that the Enlisted person received. Eventually the rates were standardized and then the yearly increases were based on the cost of food, as in this year's 7.2% increase over last years rates. The BAS rates were never intended to be equal because they grew out of a culture over 250+ years in the making that began with a huge disparity between "Gentlemen" and "Grunts." Those things have changed greatly, but there are still lasting reminders of that separation.

  13. In submarines officers have to pay for their meals which are at a low cost. Us enlisted people have an automatic deduction and it varies from 290-310. The rest of the money from everyone on board goes into a fund which the lead cook uses to order our food with. I can’t speak for surface navy or any other branches but it might be similar

  14. As a former Submariner I thought ‘d throw my 2 cents in here. Whenever an enlisted guy is in charge of a Sub, or say a carrier, or even an F18 then he can ***** about his pay. It all comes down to responsibility. As an NP if I order the wrong medication for my patient it’s not the tech who’s *** is on the line it’s mine. You want more responsibility, more pay….go to college…..go to OCS. Get er Done.


  15. MilitaryBrat101 | February 26, 2012 at 10:12 pm |

    The bottom line is officers' pay reflect their education and the intellectual labor they bring to the military. Enlisted members' pay reflect the manual labor they bring to the military. BOTH are important and valuable to the military. However, manual labor has always been cheaper than intellectual labor and it is reflected outside of the military as well. It is what people call blue collar and white collar jobs. Having spent over 10 years in the military on both sides of the fence, I wanted to add my two cents as well.

  16. There are well educated service members in both the enlisted and officers ranks. It is a matter of preference where an individual finds comfort in the station of those ranks. If a service member is dissatisfied with the station they play within those ranks, the service member is solely responsible to change those circumstances. In or out of uniform, the successes and failures we produce in our lives are the product of our own doing. It is an indication of immaturity when an individual attempts to place blame on another for their own shortfalls. Furthermore to belittle the achievement of another’s successes is an indicator of your self-conscious insecurities due to your own inhibition. Individual success begins when you recognize your short comings, set goals to prevail over them and seek self improvement. Enlisted and officers have defined roles. If you find that you are unsatisfied in your current role, recognize that you are the only one that can have an effect on your role and take action. Failure to take action does not warrant your admission of guilt through petty comments of generality about another’s accomplishment. That type of insubordinate behavior causes a caustic predisposition amongst service members and stifles personal and professional progression at all levels.

  17. o-1 officer compared to an e-1 enlisted makes about $1500 more in just base pay. when u add both bah and bas the officer is still making more money up to about $2000 and increses with every rank

  18. Aaron Siwa | June 24, 2012 at 1:02 am |

    Can I save my BAS for not using it? :) Like not eating at any military kitchen.

  19. I was enlisted for eight years and left with a rank of E-5 to college. Now a LCDR each time I look back my instinct convince me that anyone could do thesame. I like to encourage all to look beyond now in every aspect of what we do. The end always justify the means. But God has given each and everyone the ability to make choices. The choice we make will either help us to succeed or help us to fail.

  20. John Arnhold | August 21, 2012 at 9:03 pm |

    Officers certainly make more in base pay. That is a fact. How much the differential is depends on where you are comparing. I'm applying for a commission right now, and as a E-6 at 10 years, the difference in pay between O-1E and E-6 is about 900 bucks. Factor in my incentive pays (about $750 a month), and the difference in BAS, the difference is really about $50 a month. Add in the difference in BAH for my locale, as an officer I would make about 100 dollars a month more based on net.

    However, once O-2 is obtained after 2 years, then I would really see the difference between E-7 and O-2E. O-3E only further exacerbates this, consider I would most likely not be a 14 year E-8 (very few and far between).

  21. It seems everyone here must be Navy, which being married to a Navy officer, the first deployment he went on I was dumbfounded to find out we had to write a check to the ship for his meals for those 6 months- it is unreal!! I think if the government can't afford to at least feed our military members while they are stuck on a ship for months at a time away from families and protecting our country then they should leave the ships in port, all should be fed at no cost while deployed period! Then what I found absolutely crazy unfair, having a brother in law in the Air Force, when they are on the same ships they get per diem for their meals- how is that fair to treat different branches differently? The whole system is broke if you ask me, in the outside world when a company you work for wants you to move – first you get a choice and if you choose to move they pay for you to go house hunting, pay for your move and temporary housing if needed, help you sell your current home, and so much more, the military way, your going here, be there in 10 days, figure it out! And I can tell you that people are always astounded to find out that our military men and women pay the government for their meals when deployed, and those In areas that have to eat those freeze dried packets, to think they are charged for those as well, and everyone I talk to is disgusted by this- if only the American people knew the half of what you all deal with……
    And all the while the politicians in their nice safe offices with all their perks get custom chefs to cook their meals and at no expense to them!!

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