Report Calls for Changes in Military Pay


After two years of study, the DoD’s 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation, has made its recommendations. The changes include replacing the combat zone tax exclusion, making changes to drill pay and reserve retirement, and increasing hostile fire pay.

The report includes the following findings and recommendations:

  • Officer pay is higher than 83 percent of civilians who hold bachelor's and master's degrees.
  • Enlisted compensation ranked even higher at 90 percent compared to civilians who have high school diplomas or associate degrees.
  • The current tax code favors high-ranking officers through combat zone tax exclusion benefits, who see less direct combat than junior personnel.
  • Each military service should have its own process to determine incentives for military and civilian personnel.
  • Servicemembers believe that current combat compensation is unfair.
  • Hostile fire pay should be increased.
  • DoD should annually recertify combat zones.
  • Imminent-danger pay should be tiered based on the varying levels of risk at different locations.
  • Further study of compensation for wounded warriors, their caregivers, and survivors is needed.
  • Reserve-component drill pay should be aligned with active duty pay.
  • The reserve-component retirement system needs to be changed to allow RC retirees to begin drawing pay on the 30th anniversary of their initial date of entry.
  • An overall career incentive special pay authority should be established that isn’t linked to specific career fields like nuclear, aviation, or medicine.
  • The Survivor Benefit Plan (SBP) - Dependency and Indemnity Compensation (DIC) offset should be changed to allow surviving spouses to keep at least half of their SBP.
Read Tom Philpott’s Military Update for a more detailed article. You can also download a copy of the 11th QDR report in pdf.

Check out the Pay Calculator to forecast your pay based on the 2012 changes.

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