Pentagon to Propose 1 Percent Pay Raise for Troops

Defense Department file photo

The Defense Department will request a 1 percent pay increase for members of the uniformed military for 2014, the Pentagon announced Wednesday.

Military service members received a 1.7 percent increase for 2013.

"The proposal provides a pay raise for U.S. forces in an era of slowing defense spending," said Defense spokesman George Little. "In addition to this pay increase, the department will maintain important benefits for active duty service members and families, including housing and subsistence allowances, special pay, tuition assistance, health care, commissaries, child care and youth development programs, and military retirement benefits."

Little acknowledged that the increase was "less than previously projected," but said it "allows the department to maintain critical investments in readiness and modernization going forward."

At a briefing with reporters Wednesday, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said, “no one is getting a pay cut, but we will provide a pay raise that’s smaller than we’ve seen in past years in order to achieve some savings by virtue of what we confront in the compensation area.”

Panetta noted that military personnel costs have gone up by 80 percent since 2003, and said the department must slow the growth or be forced to steeply cut the size of the force. He also noted that Congress has approved a commission to look into trimming military retirement benefits.

“We will stress that retirement benefits would be grandfathered,” he said.

Panetta also said Defense's fiscal 2014 budget proposal would recommend another round of military base closures, and identify $30 billion in savings from overhead and duplication at the department.

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