2013 Military Pay Raises

Each year, fiscal budges are evaluated to determine their appropriateness and fit for the coming year. The national Defense Department is no exception. Amongst many debatable fiscal points, Congress has been busy trying to find balance between the number of civilian and contractor forces verses military service members. In order to solve this problem, new legislation has been implemented. New for the 2013 year, Congress and subsequently, President Obama, has passed legislation to include a 1.7% pay raise for all service members. This raise is set to be effective in the first pay period of 2013 and to be reflected in such paychecks. The legislation is listed as one of the provisions of the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act. Each year the defense budget is evaluated by the U.S. Congress and controlled mainly by two separate bills: defense appropriation bills and the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA). New provisions are made each year for the current issues. These bills determine numerous aspects of the U.S. Department of Defense such as setting funding levels, money spending policies and procedures, and establish responsibility roles for various agencies regarding defense. This is the 51st year that the NDAA has been enacted. Although the pay raises have been enforced, the act was almost not passed due to a couple of revisions. These include (but are not limited to), President Obama’s push to increase certain co-pays and fees of the existing military insurance policies that are provided through TRICARE, including prescription drug benefits. The President has stated that due to Congress’ lack of support for the insurance changes, the overall size of the country’s military forces may have to be reduced. Another provision of the act encourages the Pentagon to reduce civilian and contractor jobs by thousands over the next five years. This will be done at a rate of five percent, the equivalent of funding saved from troop reductions. It also allows the Defense Department to exempt certain jobs, such as mission-specific medical services and military equipment maintenance positions.  Overall, this could mean a loss of over 35,000 jobs before 2017. Despite Congress and President Obama’s disagreement on some of the terms of the act, both parties felt that it was vital to the Defense Department to move forward for 2013.