It’s not really breaking news, since most of us are capable of doing the basic math of multiplying by 1%, but the 2015 military pay charts have officially been released. You can find all the rates and details here at Military.com.
While 1% isn’t a huge increase, it is something and I am thankful for any raise while our federal budget is facing such challenges. However, those of you who are unhappy have valid reasons. Completely aside from the reasonable arguments we can make about the fact that you can’t really compare civilian life and military life, it is still a fact that active duty pay raises are specifically designed to keep pay “comparable and competitive” with the growth of civilian pay. The 1% is less than the 1.8% proposed to keep military pay raises in line with civilian pay raises, and also less than the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ reported 2.1% to 2.3% increase in average compensation costs for non-military employees.
Don’t forget that the fiscal year 2016 budget is predicted to be even more dire if Congress don’t act to repeal the mandatory yearly budget cuts that are the result of the sequestration section of the Budget Control Act. Legislators and military brass have been warning that more drastic cuts will have to be made as Congress has prioritized pay raises and refused to cut benefits despite the military’s shrinking budget and significant decline in readiness.
It’s not a pretty picture, but it is reality: the military budget has been cut by a large amount, and pay and benefits have hardly been touched. If change does not occur, that can not continue.
If this makes you unhappy, take some time to learn the nuances of the situation and then reach out to your legislators. The new Congress starts at the end of January, and intelligent and persuasive constituent pressure can have a big impact.