BAS is a continuation of the military tradition of providing room and board (or rations) as part of a servicemember's pay. Although BAS is meant to offset the cost your meals, it is important to note that BAS is not intended to cover the costs of meals for family members.
Since January 1, 2002 most enlisted members get full BAS, but they must pay for their own meals, even those provided by the government.*
Because BAS is intended to provide meals for the servicemember, the monthly rate is based on the price of food. Therefore, each year it is readjusted based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index.
Because service members are assigned to a variety of situations, some of which either mandate or prevent obtaining meals from a government facility. Due to a rise in food prices in 2012, BAS has increased for 2013.
Enlisted: $352.27 a month
Officers: $242.60 a month
*Note: A Discount Meal Rate (DMR) offset applies to all Coast Guard enlisted members assigned to a ship with messing facilities, a Class "A" School, OCS (prior service), a deployed Port Security Unit, and enlisted members E-6 and below stationed ashore who reside in government-owned quarters and are required to eat meals at a government dining facility.