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Government Executive Editor in Chief Tom Shoop, along with other editors and staff correspondents, look at the federal bureaucracy from the outside in.

Trump’s Estimate of Joint Chiefs Chairman’s Pay Was Only Off By $4.8 Million

Gen. Joseph Dunford Gen. Joseph Dunford Sgt. James McCann, Office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff

President Trump’s assumptions about compensation for the nation’s top military leaders is apparently rooted more in his private sector experience than his knowledge of government pay scales.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has been telling others a story of watching television with Trump and asking the president what he thought Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, drew in salary.

$5 million, Trump guessed.

Informed that the Joint Chiefs chairman actually makes less than $200,000 per year, Trump told Kelly that Dunford deserved a raise. That would require a change in federal law, since pay for top military officers is currently limited to rates prescribed in Level II of the Executive Schedule.

The president has been donating his own salary in quarterly increments to various federal agencies, so presumably he’s aware that even the commander-in-chief only makes $400,000 a year.

Tom Shoop is vice president and editor in chief at Government Executive Media Group, where he oversees both print and online editorial operations. He started as associate editor of Government Executive magazine in 1989; launched the company’s flagship website, GovExec.com, in 1996; and was named editor in chief in 2007.

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