March 27, 2011

Another Year With No Social Security Increase Yet Another Year of DOD Increases and Military Bonuses for the Perpetual Global War on Terror

Medicare Rise Could Mean No Social Security COLA

The Associated Press
March 27, 2011

Millions of retired and disabled people in the United States had better brace for another year with no increase in Social Security payments.

The government is projecting a slight cost-of-living adjustment for Social Security benefits next year, the first increase since 2009. But for most beneficiaries, rising Medicare premiums threaten to wipe out any increase in payments, leaving them without a raise for a third straight year.

About 45 million people — one in seven in the country — receive both Medicare and Social Security. By law, beneficiaries have their Medicare Part B premiums, which cover doctor visits, deducted from their Social Security payments each month.

When Medicare premiums rise more than Social Security payments, millions of people living on fixed incomes don't get raises. On the other hand, most don't get pay cuts, either, because a hold-harmless provision prevents higher Part B premiums from reducing Social Security payments for most people.

David Certner of AARP estimates that as many as three-fourths of beneficiaries will have their entire Social Security increase swallowed by rising Medicare premiums next year.

It's a tough development for retirees who lost much of their savings when the stock market collapsed, who lost value in their homes when the housing market crashed and who can't find work because the job market is weak or they are in poor health.
"You just don't have the words to say how much this impacts a person," said Joyce Trebilcock, a retired legal secretary from Belle, Mo., a small town about 100 miles west of St. Louis.

Like most U.S. retirees, Trebilcock, 65, said Social Security is her primary source of income. She said a back injury about 15 years ago left her unable to work, so she applied for disability benefits. Now, she lives on a $1,262 Social Security payment each month, with more than $500 going to pay the mortgage.

"I've cut back on about everything I can, and I take the rest out of my savings," Trebilcock said. "Thank God I've got that. That's going to run out before long, at the rate I'm going. ... I have no idea what I'm going to do then."

Medicare premiums are absorbing a growing share of Social Security benefits, leaving retired and disabled people with less money for other expenses, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

Social Security recipients spend, on average, 9 percent of their benefits on Medicare Part B premiums, plus 3 percent on premiums for the Medicare prescription drug program. By the time someone retires in 2078, he or she will spend nearly one-third of their benefits on premiums for both Medicare programs, the report said. Also, when premiums for the prescription drug program increase, as they do almost every year, they can result in a pay cut for Social Security recipients.

"We could very well be entering a period where we're all stuck with flat benefits because of the growth in health care costs," said Mary Johnson, a policy analyst at The Senior Citizens League.

By law, Social Security cost-of-living adjustments, or COLAs, are determined each year by a government measure of inflation. When consumer prices go up, payments go up. When consumer prices fall, payments stay flat until prices rebound.

There had been a COLA every year from 1975 through 2009, when a spike in energy prices resulted in a 5.8 percent increase, the largest in 27 years. Since then, the recession has depressed consumer prices, resulting in no COLA in 2010 or 2011.

Older people might feel they are falling behind because they haven't had a raise since 2009, but many are benefiting, said Andrew Biggs, a former deputy commissioner of the Social Security Administration who is now a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.

Consumer prices dropped, but Social Security benefits didn't drop, Biggs said [Editor's Note: The Consumer Price Index does not include food and energy prices]. At the same time, health care costs went up, but Part B premiums stayed the same for most beneficiaries.

"They are better off because of that," Biggs said. "Somebody else is paying for a greater share of their health care. This will get me hate mail, obviously. But it is what it is."

Next year, the trustees who oversee the Social Security project a 1.2 percent COLA. President Barack Obama, in his spending proposal for the budget year that begins Oct. 1, projects a COLA of 0.9 percent. The average monthly payment is $1,077, so either way, the typical increase is projected to be between $10 and $13.

The current spike in energy prices could boost next year's COLA, if it lasts through September, when the increase for 2012 will be calculated. The COLA will be announced in mid-October.

Medicare Part B premiums must be set each year to cover 25 percent of program costs. By law, they have been frozen at 2009 levels for about 75 percent of beneficiaries because there has been no increase in Social Security. That means the entire premium hike has been borne by the remaining 25 percent, which includes new enrollees, high-income families and low-income beneficiaries who have their premiums paid by Medicaid, the federal-state health care program for the poor.

The 2009 premium levels, which are still paid by about three-fourths of beneficiaries, are $96.40 a month. Most of those who enrolled in the program in 2010 pay $110.50 a month and most of those who enrolled in 2011 pay $115.40.

The Medicare trustees project a Part B premium of $113.80 a month for next year. Obama's budget projects a monthly premium of $108.20, said Donald McLeod, a spokesman for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. McLeod cautioned that the projections could change significantly by September, when 2012 premiums are calculated.

Under either projection, a small share of beneficiaries would get lower premiums. The vast majority would get higher premiums that could swallow their Social Security COLA.

"That little raise helps us," said Estelle Jones, 66, of St. Paul, Minn. "Food, heating bills, water bill, all that stuff has gone up. ... All my medicines are very expensive, and every month I have to figure out how I am going to pay for them."

Republicans Target Retirement Benefits (Social Security and Medicare)

The Associated Press
March 25, 2011

If there's any place where tea partiers in Congress might hesitate to call for cuts in Social Security and Medicare to shrink the federal debt, Florida's retirement havens should top the list.

Even here, however, Republican lawmakers are racing toward a spending showdown with Democrats exhibiting little nervousness about deep cuts, including those that eventually would hit benefit programs long left alone by politicians.

In fact, many GOP freshmen seem bolder than ever. It's Democrats, especially in the Senate, who are trying to figure out how to handle the popular but costly retirement programs. Congress, meanwhile, is rapidly nearing critical decisions on the budget and the nation's debt ceiling.

In southeast Florida last week, first-term GOP Rep. Allen West, a tea party favorite, called for changes that some might consider radical: abolish the Internal Revenue Service and federal income tax; retain tax cuts for billionaires so they won't shut down their charities; stop extending unemployment benefits that "reward bad behavior" by discouraging people from seeking new jobs.

As for entitlements, West told a friendly town hall gathering in Coral Springs, if Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid "are left on autopilot, if we don't institute some type of reform, they'll subsume our entire GDP" by 2040 or 2050. GDP, or gross domestic product, measures the value of all goods and services produced in the by $514 billion over the past two years.Sources of Federal Revenue

Social Security, the largest federal program, mainly benefits retirees. Medicare provides health coverage for older people. Medicaid helps those with low incomes. Combined, the three consume about 40 percent of the budget. Their costs are growing rapidly. Social Security and Medicare benefits now exceed the payroll taxes that fund them.

Editor's Note:

Social Security is not an entitlement program. Social Security and Medicare are directly funded by "Payroll Taxes" (FICA); 80% of federal revenue comes from taxing wages (individual income tax and payroll taxes).

Social Security has accumulated a massive surplus—$2.5 trillion. This vast wealth was collected over many years from workers under the Federal Insurance Contributions Act (FICA) to pay in advance for baby boom retirements. The money will cover all benefits until the 2040s—unless Congress double-crosses workers by changing the rules (which they did in 2011 by reducing workers' contributions to Social Security by 2%).

This nest egg does not belong to the government; it belongs to the people who paid for it. FICA is not a tax but involuntary savings.

Over the past quarter century, the U.S. government has stolen $2 trillion in Social Security and Medicare revenues to finance wars and pork-barrel projects.

West, who's likely to draw serious Democratic opposition next year, showed scant interest in edging toward the center on anything. He didn't take issue with the man who said congressional Democrats "have joined with the radical Islamists," or with the woman who said President Barack Obama "certainly doesn't support Israel."

In Greenville, S.C., a different Republican freshman with tea party ties, Rep. Trey Gowdy, also suggested during last week's congressional break a paring back of social programs.

According to a Greenville News account posted on his website, Gowdy "described a recent school classroom where most children indicated they think it's the government's job to provide health care, Social Security and education.

'We've got to do something about the sense of entitlement,' Gowdy said."

Gowdy's office later said he thinks Social Security "is a key aspect of a broad effort to fundamentally reform our entitlement system, but any solution must honor our commitment to current retirees."

Indeed, West and many other Republicans say current and soon-to-be retirees should see no benefit cuts. Their calls for changing Medicare and Social Security often lack specifics, and it's unclear whether the divided Congress will tackle the programs' long-term problems or postpone action, as has happened many times before on Capitol Hill.

West's desire to slash spending seems to stop at his district's doorstep. The Coral Springs audience cheered loudly when he said he helped secure a $21 million grant for a new runway at the nearby Fort Lauderdale airport.

"Grant money is not pork," West said. He issued a press release saying the runway project "will generate at least 11,000 jobs" by 2014 and cost $791 million.

While West spoke in Coral Springs, several dozen Republicans had wine and hors d'oeuvres in Palm Beach as they awaited a speech by former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani. There was ample sympathy in the room for raising the eligibility age for Social Security benefits.

Obama's debt commission recommended gradually increasing the full retirement age, from 67 to 69, over the next 65 years.

"No one is going to be hurt by it," said Steve Stevens, 80, a retired real estate developer. If people, rich or poor, count on Social Security to fund their retirement, he said, "it's very poor planning."

Cynthia Steele, 51, said anyone making more than $100,000 a year should not receive Social Security benefits, even if it affected her and her friends.

In Washington, Democrats are conflicted. Thirty-two Senate Democrats joined 32 Republicans in urging Obama to negotiate a broad-based spending plan that includes changes to Social Security and Medicare.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., says he opposes cuts in Social Security benefits.

The centrist Democratic group Third Way says the public is ready to embrace gradual changes to entitlement programs and that Republicans are winning the issue so far.

"We don't believe Republicans 'going too far' will be their Waterloo," the group said in a memo. "The party seen as most serious on the issue will win the day."

If Republicans and Democrats cannot agree soon on spending plans for this year and next, the government could face its first partial shutdown since 1996 [Editor's Note: This is a empty threat]. That prospect worries leaders of both parties, and they are watching to see if last week's recess hardened of softened lawmakers' positions.

West suggested there is room for compromise, but not much.

"I'm not for shutting down the government," he told the Coral Springs crowd. But he said Obama must lead the budget negotiations, or else.

If there is a shutdown, West said, "it's going to be because the president is not engaged."

Social Security Could Be Next to Need a Bailout

By Allan Sloan, Washington Post
February 2, 2010

Don’t look now. But even as the bank bailout is winding down, another huge bailout is starting, this time for the Social Security system.

A report from the Congressional Budget Office shows that for the first time in 25 years, Social Security is taking in less in taxes than it is spending on benefits.

Instead of helping to finance the rest of the government, as it has done for decades, our nation’s biggest social program needs help from the Treasury to keep benefit checks from bouncing — in other words, a taxpayer bailout.

No one has officially announced that Social Security will be cash-negative this year. But you can figure it out for yourself [I did a year ago], as I did, by comparing two numbers in the recent federal budget update that the nonpartisan CBO issued last week.

The first number is $120 billion, the interest that Social Security will earn on its trust fund in fiscal 2010 (see page 74 of the CBO report). The second is $92 billion, the overall Social Security surplus for fiscal 2010 (see page 116).

This means that without the interest income, Social Security will be $28 billion in the hole this fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30.

Why disregard the interest? Because as people like me have said repeatedly over the years, the interest, which consists of Treasury IOUs that the Social Security trust fund gets on its holdings of government securities, doesn’t provide Social Security with any cash that it can use to pay its bills. The interest is merely an accounting entry with no economic significance.

Social Security hasn’t been cash-negative since the early 1980s, when it came so close to running out of money that it was making plans to stop sending out benefit checks. That led to the famous Greenspan Commission report, which recommended trimming benefits and raising taxes, which Congress did. Those actions produced hefty cash surpluses, which until this year have helped finance the rest of the government.

But even then, it was clear the surpluses would be temporary. Now, years earlier than projected, Social Security is adding to the government’s borrowing needs, even though the program still shows a surplus on paper.

If you go to the aforementioned pages in the CBO update and consult the tables on them, you see that the budget office projects smaller cash deficits (about $19 billion annually) for fiscal 2011 and 2012. Then the program approaches break-even for a while before the deficits resume.

Social Security currently provides more than half the income for a majority of retirees. Given the declines in stock prices and home values that have whacked millions of people, the program seems likely to become more important in the future as a source of retirement income, rather than less important.

It would have been a lot simpler to fix the system years ago, when we could have used Social Security’s cash surpluses to buy non-Treasury securities, such as such as government-backed mortgage bonds or high-grade corporates that would have helped cover future cash shortfalls. Now it’s too late.

Even though an economic recovery might produce some small, fleeting cash surpluses, Social Security’s days of being flush are over.

To be sure — three of the most dangerous words in journalism — the current Social Security cash deficits aren’t all that big, given that Social Security is a $700 billion program this year, and that the government expects to borrow about $1.5 trillion in fiscal 2010 to cover its other obligations, about the same as it borrowed in fiscal 2009.

But this year’s Social Security cash shortfall is a watershed event. Until this year, Social Security was a problem for the future. Now it’s a problem for the present.

False Alarm: Why Social Security Isn't Going Broke

By Dr. Irwin Kellner, MarketWatch
April 8, 2008

Reports that the Social Security system will soon run out of money have been greatly exaggerated.

As sure as day follows night, the annual report from the board of trustees of the OASDI fund (Old Age Survivors and Disability Insurance otherwise known as Social Security) has brought forth alarms that the fund will run out of money in the not-too-distant future.

Although flush with cash now and over at least the next 10 years, the Social Security system is expected to gradually begin paying out more in benefits than it takes in from payroll taxes with the result that by 2041 its assets, in the words of the trustees, will be exhausted.

For those who look at only the summary page, this conclusion is nothing new. Indeed, the trustees have come to the same conclusion every year -- the only exception being the year the fund is expected to run dry.

In 2000, the system's actuaries thought the assets of this fund would be exhausted by 2032. Two years later it was 2037. Now the projected exhaustion date is 2041. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office, which makes these projections as well, recently thought the system will remain solvent until at least 2052.

Me, I don't make these projections personally, but I would like to point out that this year, as has been the case every year in the past, the actuaries have made and released not one but three projections. They call them low cost, intermediate and high cost.

The projection that has provoked these alarms is the intermediate projection. This reflects the trustees' consensus views regarding such inputs as economic growth, productivity, inflation, earnings, employment and interest rates.

Judging by past history, assumptions underlying the intermediate projection are very conservative -- especially when it comes to economic growth. And as you might imagine, the speed at which the economy grows has a lot to do with the other variables -- including the interest the fund earns from investing its surplus in Treasuries.

The intermediate projection assumes that the economy will grow by an annual rate of 2.3% per year between now and 2085. This may be higher than the 1.9% per year that was projected as recently as three years ago, but it is still well below the 3.4% that the economy grew on average between 1960 and 2005.

The actuaries' own low cost projection assumes an average annual growth rate of 2.9% between now and 2085. This is higher than the 2.3% pace embodied in the intermediate projection, but it is still well below the 3.4% average of the past.

Guess what? Under the actuaries' low cost projection, the Social Security system never runs out of money!

That said, you might ask the question why this more realistic projection has escaped politicians from both major parties. I don't know why, but I can only theorize that it's because they haven't taken the time to read the entire report, which is available on the system's website. Here's the link.

If you go beyond the highlights section to the projections section, you will see exactly what I mean.

In other words -- if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

DOD 2011 Budget Increases $18 Billion for a Total of $708 Billion

DOD Press Release
February 1, 2010

President Barack Obama today sent to Congress a proposed defense budget of $708 billion for fiscal 2011. The budget request for the Department of Defense (DoD) includes $549 billion in discretionary budget authority to fund base defense programs and $159 billion to support overseas contingency operations (OCO), primarily in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The fiscal 2011 budget request builds on the reforms begun in last year's defense budget,” said Defense Secretary Robert Gates. “These substantial changes to allocate defense dollars more wisely and reform the department’s processes were broadened and deepened by the analysis and conclusions contained in the Quadrennial Defense Review.”
The fiscal 2011 base budget request represents an increase of $18 billion over the $531 billion enacted for fiscal 2010. This is an increase of 3.4 percent, or 1.8 percent real growth after adjusting for inflation. The DoD needs modest real growth to maintain, train, and equip the forces that sustain our wartime efforts.

The fiscal 2011 OCO request will provide additional resources needed to sustain U.S. forces in Operation Enduring Freedom – in Afghanistan and elsewhere – and Operation Iraqi Freedom. Included are funds for pay and benefits, logistics and other support, force protection, continuing efforts to counteract improvised explosive devices, as well as funding to fully support the buildup in Afghanistan and to carry out a responsible drawdown in Iraq.
“The choices made and priorities set in these budget requests and strategic defense reviews reflect America's commitment to succeed in the wars we are in while making the investments necessary to prepare for threats on or beyond the horizon,” said Gates.
Also accompanying the 2011 budget proposal is a fiscal 2010 supplemental request of $33 billion to support the added costs of the President's new strategy in Afghanistan and strengthen U.S. force levels with approximately 30,000 additional troops.
“To make sure we have the resources needed to support our troops deploying to the Afghanistan theater, I will be asking the Congress to enact the supplemental by spring 2010,” said Gates.
Key highlights of the proposed DoD budget are outlined in the attached summary and charts. For more information and to view the entire fiscal 2011 budget proposal, please visit and download the "FY 2011 Budget Request Overview Book."
The 2010 QDR and BMDR are available online at
Transcripts from applicable budget and strategic defense review briefings can also be viewed at

U.S. Military Receive 1.4% Pay Raise for 2011

Between 2001 and 2009, per capita spending on three major components (basic pay and allowances for housing and subsistence) of cash compensation for active military personnel rose by 37 percent in inflation-adjusted dollars.

Navy CyberSpace
January 10, 2011

Rumors are abound concerning a military pay stoppage if the government shuts down -- it didn't happen in 1995, and it will not happen in 2011 as the military is considered an essential service.

On January 7, 2011, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2011 (H.R. 6523) that provides a 1.4% increase for military pay, effective January 1, 2011. The raise should be noticed in January's first pay check.

On November 10, 2010, President Obama's bipartisan commission on reducing the national debt recommended, amount other things, a freeze of non-combat military pay and bonuses for three years at 2011 levels - the raise amount for 2011 has yet to be determined, but a number of congressmen have gone on record to say that the budget deficit will not be fixed on the backs of our service members when there are so many other places to cut. We'll see.

On February 1, 2010, President Obama, in his defense budget proposal for 2011, recommends an increase of 1.4% for military base pay. The percentage of presidential pay raise proposals in recent years has utilized the Employment Cost Index (ECI) published by the Department of Labor, and this year was no different. Congress has supported and passed a half percent increase to each president's proposal, every year since 1999, to help close the gap with the private sector. Both the Obama Administration and the Pentagon are at odds with the additional half percent increase, citing the gap in military pay has been closed, and further increases to personnel costs will greatly reduce the military's effectiveness over time.

Military pay and allowances in the United States are distributed on the 1st and 15th day of the month. If the 1st or 15th fall on a weekend or national holiday payment will be made the working day prior. The pay scales below are proposals for active and reserve components of the Navy, Marines, Army, Air Force, Coast Guard and National Guard, and are monthly amounts rounded to the nearest US dollar.

2011 Enlisted Pay Chart - 2011 Officer Pay Chart
2011 Enlisted Reserve/Guard Drill Pay Chart
2011 Officer Reserve/Guard Military Drill Pay Chart

2011 Basic Enlisted Military Pay Chart
Pay Grade Years of Service
Less than 2 Over 2 Over 3 Over 4 Over 6


E-7 2638 2879 2989 3135 3249
E-6 2281 2510 2621 2728 2840
E-5 2091 2230 2338 2448 2620
E-4 1915 2014 2123 2231 2326
E-3 1730 1839 1950 1950 1950
E-2 1645 1645 1645 1645 1645
E-1 1467 1467 1467 1467 1467
E-1 with less than 4 months of service 1357

Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 8 Over 10 Over 12 Over 14 Over 16
4635 4740 4872 5029
E-8 3794 3962 4066 4191 4325
E-7 3444 3554 3751 3914 4025
E-6 3094 3193 3382 3441 3484
E-5 2800 2947 2965 2965 2965
E-4 2326 2326 2326 2326 2326
E-3 1950 1950 1950 1950 1950
E-2 1645 1645 1645 1645 1645
E-1 1467 1467 1467 1467 1467
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 18 Over 20 Over 22 Over 24 Over 26
E-9 5185 5436 5649 5874 6215
E-8 4568 4692 4902 5018 5305
E-7 4143 4189 4343 4426 4740
E-6 3533 3533 3533 3533 3533
E-5 2965 2965 2965 2965 2965
E-4 2326 2326 2326 2326 2326
E-3 1950 1950 1950 1950 1950
E-2 1645 1645 1645 1645 1645
E-1 1467 1467 1467 1467 1467
Enlisted Over 30 Years of Service
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 30 Over 34 Over 38 Over 40
E-9 6526 6853 7196 Make room
E-8 5411 5411 5411 Retire!!

Notes: For the Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Chief Master Sergeant of the AF, Sergeant Major of the Army or Marine Corps or Senior Enlisted Advisor of the JCS, basic pay is $7,490.

The US military has various pays which are not included these pay tables. They include, but not limited to, Submarine Duty Pay, Hazardous Duty, Imminent Danger Pay (Combat Pay), Sea Pay, aircrew-flight pay, Special Duty Pay (SDAP). You must be assigned in an available billet in the required field/location to draw additional pay status. The US military also has various allowances such as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), Cost of living Allowance (COLA) and Clothing Allowance just to name a few.

2011 Basic Officer Military Pay Chart
Pay Grade Years of Service
Under 2 Over 2 Over 3 Over 4 Over 6
See Note 1


O-8 9531 9843 10050 10108 10366
O-7 7919 8287 8457 8592 8838
O-6 5870 6448 6872 6872 6898
O-5 4893 5512 5893 5966 6204
O-4 4222 4887 5213 5286 5588
O-3 3712 4208 4542 4952 5189
O-2 3207 3653 4207 4349 4438
O-1 2783 2898 3503 3503 3503
Commissioned Officer With Over 4 Years of Active Service as an Enlisted Member or Warrant Officer
See Note 2 Under 2 Over 2 Over 3 Over 4 Over 6

4951 5189

4349 4438

3501 3740
Warrant Officers

Under 2 Over 2 Over 3 Over 4 Over 6

W-4 3836 4125 4245 4361 4562
W-3 3502 3648 3799 3847 4005
W-2 3081 3257 3411 3522 3619
W-1 2719 2943 3093 3189 3445
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 8 Over 10 Over 12 Over 14 Over 16
See Note 1


O-8 10798 10898 11308 11426 11779
O-7 9079 9360 9639 9919 10798
O-6 7193 7233 7233 7643 8370
O-5 6346 6659 6889 7185 7639
O-4 5913 6316 6632 6850 6976
O-3 5449 5617 5895 6038 6038
O-2 4438 4438 4438 4438 4438
O-1 3503 3503 3503 3503 3503
Commissioned Officer With Over 4 Years of Active Service as an Enlisted Member or Warrant Officer
See Note 2 Over 8 Over 10 Over 12 Over 14 Over 16
O-3E 5449 5618 5895 6128 6263
O-2E 4580 4819 5003 5140 5140
O-1E 3878 4020 4159 4349 4349
Warrant Officers

Over 8 Over 10 Over 12 Over 14 Over 16
W-5 -- -- -- -- --
W-4 4761 4961 5264 5530 5782
W-3 4313 4635 4786 4961 5142
W-2 4059 4214 4366 4552 4698
W-1 3746 3881 4070 4257 4403
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 18 Over 20 Over 22 Over 24 Over 26
See Note 1

15401 15476 15797 16358
13470 13664 13944 14433
O-8 12291 12762 13078 13078 13078
O-7 11541 11541 11541 11541 11599
O-6 8797 9223 9466 9711 10188
O-5 7856 8070 8313 8313 8313
O-4 7049 7049 7049 7049 7049
O-3 6039 6039 6039 6039 6039
O-2 4438 4438 4438 4438 4438
O-1 3503 3503 3503 3503 3503
Commissioned Officer With Over 4 Years of Active Service as an Enlisted Member or Warrant Officer
See Note 2 Over 18 Over 20 Over 22 Over 24 Over 26
O-3E 6445 6445 6445 6445 6445
O-2E 5140 5140 5140 5140 5140
O-1E 4349 4349 4349 4349 4349
Warrant Officers

Over 18 Over 20 Over 22 Over 24 Over 26
W-5 -- 6821 7167 7424 7710
W-4 5988 6189 6486 6728 7006
W-3 5466 5684 5816 5956 6145
W-2 4830 4988 5091 5174 5174
W-1 4538 4701 4701 4701 4701
Commissioned Officers Over 30 Years of Service
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 30 Over 34 Over 38 Over 40
O-10 17176 18035 18936 Time for
O-9 15155 15913 16709 Retirement!
O-8 13405 13739 13739 Retire!!
O-7 11832 11832 11832 Retire!!
O-6 10391 10391 10391 Retire!!
Warrant Officers Over 30 Years of Service
Pay Grade Years of Service
Over 30 Over 34 Over 38 Over 40
W-5 8095 8501 8926 Make room
W-4 7145 7145 7145 you're old!!

NOTE 1. Basic pay for an O-7 to O-10 is limited by Level II of the Executive Schedule. Basic pay for O-6 and below is limited by Level V of the Executive Schedule.

NOTE 2. Applicable to O-1 to O-3 with at least 4 years & 1 day of active duty or more than 1460 points as a warrant and/or enlisted member. See DoDFMR for more detailed explanation on who is eligible for this special basic pay rate.

Military Pay and Benefits Are at All-time Highs

Even in times of military budget cuts and economic downturn, the military continues to offer a variety of military bonuses, including cash signing bonuses of $15,000, reenlistment bonuses of $15,000, special services bonuses up to $40,000, and education incentives up to $73,000. The Army offers more enlistment incentives than any other branch of the US military services; the bonus or bonus combination cannot exceed $40,000 per active duty service member. In addition to free medical care at military facilities, clothing allowances, discounted groceries at military commissaries, and discounts at other military exchanges, uniformed service members are provided a 'basic allowance for housing (BAH)' based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed service members 'accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided.' According to the DoD, BAH rates now make it possible for service members to have zero out-of-pocket expense -- for service members living in civilian rented housing.

Comments from Michael J. Smith, M.P.A.,
September 23, 2010

The US taxpayer in today's national economy is being positioned to fund the surmised 'housing' costs of two married active duty personnel stationed in San Diego functioning in CLERICAL support roles of some sort. And yes, there are legions of CLERICAL support Navy staff of all ranks currently stationed in San Diego.

This couple, these THIRTY-SOMETHING volunteers, EACH WITH NO MORE THAN A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA, have been in the Navy for 16 years. Each has risen to the ENLISTED rating/rank of E-7. Each are provided with a generous base annual BASE salary of circa $48,000. But they are also currently handed, each of them, even for the very same household in which they both reside, a tax-free monthly 'housing' (and I'll call it for levity a US taxpayer 'hosing') allowance of precisely $4,107. According to current military policy, one volunteer gets $2,208 (BAH with the dependent rate), and the other gets handed $1,899 without the dependent rate.

Think about that fact for a moment. THIS COUPLE gets handed greater than $4,100 PER MONTH (OR $49,200 PER YEAR) TAX FREE FOR SO-CALLED "HOUSING," WHICH IS ABOVE AND BEYOND THEIR COMBINED NEAR $100,000 BASE SALARY.

Several points:

First: Why should the US taxpayer pay these volunteers ANYTHING for surmised 'housing' when they are already being given $100,000 each year in salary alone?

Second: Why shouldn't these volunteers use at least some of their combined $100,000 salary to pay for their own housing just like the rest of the American population?

Third: Why should the US taxpayer pay BOTH of these volunteers a tax free monthly surmised 'housing' allowance when they both live in the same residence?

If the GOP is sincere about cutting fed expenditures, which is is NOT, they ought to consider the following:

Fact 1: The majority of DOD expenditures are for pay and benefits for active duty members.

Fact 2: Military pay and benefits are at all-time highs. O-5/ O-6 compensation, when greater than 20 years, commonly reaches $175,000 per year, $40,000 and more of which is in fully tax free 'housing.'

Fact 3: All members of the military are volunteers.

Fact 4: Most members enlist to serve and serve in non-combatant fields and specialties.

Fact 5: Only a small percentage of active duty volunteers (when viewed DOD-wide) served in Iraq or Afghanistan, and an even smaller percentage of those that did serve overseas never set a foot outside of the wire in either geographic location.

Fact 6: The VAST majority of active duty members are stationed stateside or on safe overseas bases.

Fact 7: According to recently published peer-reviewed studies, military direct compensation (salary and 'housing' allowances, amongst others) is now HIGHER than their demographic counterparts in the private sector. Note: This has NEVER EVER occurred in the Nation's history. NEVER!

Fact 8: The monthly tax free 'housing' allowances are excessively high. Many reach upwards of $3,000 - $4,000 per month.

Fact 9: No receipts are required to prove that these funds are even used on 'housing.' And as a result, many members pocket huge windfalls each and every month.

Fact 10: Other than the PHS and NOAA (both of which are miniscule in comparision to DOD, and both of which are full of MDs, PHDs, and public health scientists, there is no other public sector organization on the planet that hands its de facto employees between $3,000 - $4,000 (and above) tax free for so-called 'housing' above and beyond their salaries.

Fact 11: The majority of the American public, millions of who are struggling to even locate employment, are FULLY UNAWARE of these 'housing/hosing' windfalls.

You want something to cut, GOP, cut here!

Navy Bonus and Incentives Overview

The Navy offers many incentives for joining; these include several types of cash signing bonuses, education bonuses, and additional incentives. If you qualify for more than one bonus the Navy may combine them to pay a combined bonus, which is not to exceed $30,000, except in the case of Nuclear and SEAL enlistment programs which are capped at $40,000.

Many cash enlistment incentives may also be combined with either the Navy’s Student Loan Repayment Program or the Navy College Fund, but not both.

How the Navy Pays Bonuses

If you enlist for cash bonuses the Navy will normally pay the entire bonus amount (lump sum), when you arrive at your first permanent duty station, after you have successfully completed your training. In some cases the Navy may pay the bonuses incrementally as you reach certain career milestones or following special training.

Navy Cash Bonuses

The Navy’s cash bonuses include bonuses for joining the Navy SEALS, choosing a high demand job specialty - called a Navy Rating, for selecting a specific date to begin basic training - called shipping dates, for having a college education, signing up for “Delayed Entry,” and more.

The following is a quick summary of the current Navy Cash Bonus:
  • Enlisted Source Rate (Specialty) Bonuses (ESRBP)– Up to $15,000
  • Enlistment Bonus Source Rate with Navy College Fund (EBSR-NCF)– up to 8,000 plus up to $72,900 for the Navy College Fund.
  • Extended Enlistment BonusUp to $5,000
  • College Education Bonus up to $8,000
  • National Call to Service Bonus – Combined incentives equal to more than $23,000.
  • Navy SEAL or Special Warfare Bonuses – Up to $40,000
  • Extended Delayed Entry Program – $500
  • High ASVAB score - $100 for Each Month on DEP

Army National Guard Bonus and Incentive Overview

The National Guard offers many incentives for joining; these include several types of cash signing bonuses and education incentives. If you qualify for more than one bonus the National Guard may combine them to pay a combined bonus, which is not to exceed $20,000.

How the Army National Guard Pays Bonuses

Depending on the type of bonus, the Army National Guard Enlistment bonuses are paid either in one lump sum upon successful completion of initial entry training or in a 50/50 payment plan. Under the 50/50 plan National Guardsmen are paid 50 percent at the completion of Initial Active Duty for Training (IADT)and the remaining 50 percent paid in at the end of three years service.

Army National Guard Cash Bonuses

The bonuses include cash for choosing a high demand military occupational specialty (MOS), for selecting a specific date to begin basic training, for being willing to leave for boot camp within 45 days (Quick Ship), for advanced civilian skills, and more.

The following is a quick summary of the current Army National Guard Cash Bonus:
  • National Guard Non-Prior Service Enlistment Bonusesup to $20,000
  • Non-Prior Service Quick Ship or Off-Peak Bonus - $5,000 (each)
  • Prior Service Affiliation Bonus – up to $20,000
  • Civilian Acquired Skills Program (CASP) Bonus – $10,000

A $15,000 Bonus for Selected Marines

October 5, 2010

Even in times of military budget cuts and economic downturn, the military continues to offer a variety of military bonuses.

Military bonuses are not about throwing money recklessly at troops; bonuses are deployed in order to help allocate the military budget in a clear, deliberate way and thus build the most complete and powerful U.S. military force possible.

For 2010, the Marine Force Reserve offered $15,000 in re-enlistment and affiliation bonuses for Marines in selected fields, with the goal of building and retaining a diverse selection of Marines and creating the most effective force.


The $15,000 Marine Force Reserve re-enlistment bonus eligibility includes active-duty or Individual Ready Reserve corporals (IRR), sergeants, and staff sergeants in over 125 Military Occupational Specialties (MOS), including Marines in infantry, communications and artillery spots.

Enlisted active-duty and IRR Marines entering the SMCR, who retrain for a new MOS, are not eligible for the $15,000 bonus.

The $15,000 Marine Force Reserve bonus, directed to the first 300 Marines to sign up and re-enlist before September 30, 2010, also required Marines to sign a three-year contract with the Selected Marine Corps Reserve.


After years of manpower shortages due to high operation demands in Iraq and Afghanistan, by 2010 the Reserve finally came back to a higher manpower number of 39,600. New bonuses intended to fill essential gaps in Marine units including intelligence, logistics, explosive ordnance disposal, aircraft maintenance, and public affairs.

More Army Incentives, Bonuses and Rewards

Military Hub
February 26, 2010

Today’s Army offers more enlistment incentives than any other branch of the US military services. Of course, joining any branch of the military comes with the special benefits and rewards of military life including today’s most complete GI Bill for educational support, and access to financial programs like VA Home Loans that can help you realize homeownership faster. But in particular, Army special enlistment incentives seem to be expanding further and faster all the time.

Each Army active duty incentive is individual and has limits on combinations with other offers, but in general, a military bonus or bonus combination cannot exceed $40,000. Army enlistment cash bonuses at or above $10,000 are paid in full upon successful completion of basic training. The rest of the eligible army bonus is paid in annual portions of $10,000 until the entire bonus amount is received in full.

There is a wide variety of active duty incentives, enlistment bonuses and benefits available; consider them all when you’re considering joining today’s Army...

Related Articles:

Military Pay Chart : 2011

ENLISTED PAY SCALE (Basic Pay Rates: Jan. 1, 2011)
Pay Grades E-6, E-7, E-8, and E-9

OFFICER PAY SCALE (Basic Pay Rates: Jan. 1, 2011)
O-1 to O-5 | O-6 to O-10 | W-1 to W-5 | E-1 to E-5 | E-6 to E-9
Active Duty Pay

2011 Basic Allowance for Housing Rates

The Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) is based on geographic duty location, pay grade, and dependency status. The intent of BAH is to provide uniformed servicemembers accurate and equitable housing compensation based on housing costs in local civilian housing markets, and is payable when government quarters are not provided.

Each year the BAH tables are released between December 15 and January 1.

2011 BAH Update:

The overall average military Basic Allowance for Housing rates across the country has dropped for the first time since 1998, the year BAQ was replaced by BAH. The 0.6 percent drop reflects a decrease in the average rental costs across the over 400 designated military housing areas.

Fortunately about 400,000 active duty service members will see their BAH protected from a rate drop Jan. 1; thanks to “individual rate protection,” which was adopted by Congress nine years ago.

View the 2011 BAH Rate tables:
2011 BAH With Dependents (pdf)
2011 BAH Without Dependents (pdf)

Non-Locality (Reserve Component/Transient and Differential BAH Rates)

Search for your 2011 BAH rate by zip code

You can also view the 2009 and 2010 BAH rate tables:

2010 BAH With Dependents (pdf)
2010 BAH Without Dependents (pdf)
2009 BAH With Dependents (pdf)
2009 BAH Without Dependents (pdf)

According to the DoD, BAH rates now make it possible for servicemembers to have zero out-of-pocket expense -- for servicemembers living in civilian rented housing. Since 2008 the BAH rates are directly related to the cost increases of the local rental housing markets.

With Unemployment So High and the Job Market So Bad, the U.S. Taxpayers Don't Need to Pay Sign-up or Reenlistment Bonuses

U.S. Soldiers are re-enlisting because of the poor economy, yet the military is paying up to $15,000 in re-enlistment bonuses. Is the U.S. government buying their 'loyalty' so that they will unlawfully detain and fire upon U.S. citizens when commanded to do so?

The Associated Press
December 2, 2008

Sgt. Ryan Nyhus spent 14 months patrolling the deadly streets of Baghdad, where five members of his platoon were shot and one died. As bad as that was, he would rather go back there than take his chances in this brutal job market. Nyhus re-enlisted last Wednesday, and in so doing joined the growing ranks of those choosing to stay in the U.S. military because of the bleak economy.
"In the Army, you're always guaranteed a steady paycheck and a job," said the 21-year-old Nyhus. "Deploying's something that's going to happen. That's a fact of life in the Army — a fact of life in the infantry."
In 2008, as the stock market cratered and the housing market collapsed, more young members of the Army, Air Force and Navy decided to re-up. While several factors might explain the rise in re-enlistments, including a decline in violence in Iraq, Pentagon officials acknowledge that bad news for the economy is usually good news for the military.

In fact, the Pentagon just completed its strongest recruiting year in four years.
"We do benefit when things look less positive in civil society," said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness. "What difficult economic times give us, I think, is an opening to make our case to people who we might not otherwise have."
The retention rate of early-career soldiers in the Army has risen steadily over the past four years and now stands 20 percentage points higher than it was in fiscal 2004. As for the Navy and the Air Force, early- and mid-career sailors and airmen re-enlisted at a higher rate in October than during the same period in 2007. The Marine Corps was not immediately able to provide comparative figures on re-enlistments...

Roughly 208,000 men and women left the military in 2007. Some were rank-and-file warriors, while others worked in specialized fields such as satellite communications or computer networking. Only about 30 percent of enlisted soldiers hold a bachelor's degree.

The job market is still fairly good for veterans with technical skills, especially those coveted by defense contractors, said Carl Savino, a retired Army major who runs a company outside Washington that offers employment services to new veterans. Sgt. Michael Rodriguez, 29, of San Antonio, decided to get out after he landed a job with a defense contractor working on communications systems. "I feel pretty secure with them," said Rodriguez, who will leave the military soon. But even defense-contractor jobs could dry up as the economic crisis deepens, Savino said.
"Jobs are getting harder to come by for veterans," Savino said. "The farther they deviate from the defense contractors, who are still in reasonably strong shape, the more challenging it is."

Frequently Asked Questions about U.S. Army Recruiting

U.S. Army

What is the current recruiting mission?

Active Army Mission -- 64,000*
Army Reserve Mission -- 19,320**

*Active Army reduced from 67,000 in January **Army Reserve mission includes 320 OCS

The fiscal year runs October through September.

What are your year-to-date mission accomplishments?

Monthly recruiting data for all the services is released by the Department of Defense on or about the 10th of each month. Look for it on the DoD News Release page.

An accession is an individual who has enlisted and shipped to initial entry training.

What are your previous year accession missions and accomplishments?

Fiscal Year 2010

Active Army: USAREC accessed 74,577 Soldiers against a mission of 74,500, or 100.1 percent mission accomplishment.

Army Reserve: We accessed 17,046 against a mission of 17,000, equaling 100.3 percent of mission.

How did your previous Fiscal Year accession missions and accomplishments compare to past years?


Active Army

Army Reserve































































For additional details, visit

Recruiting environment

Has the economic downturn affected recruiting?

While competitive forces remain difficult, the impact of a recession, growing unemployment, and improving attitudes towards military service present a favorable recruiting environment. Attitudes toward overseas contingency operations have improved. Propensity to enlist has increased nationally. Unemployment for Sept 09 was 9.8% - highest rate since 1983. Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the number of unemployed persons has increased by 7.6 million to 15.1 million, and the unemployment rate doubled in September 2009 to 9.8 percent. [as of oct. 30, 2009]

Interesting Recruiting Facts for the U.S. Military

By Rod Powers,
July 7, 2008

Did you know? On average, it costs the Air Force approximately $7,900 to send a person through the enlistment process (computed from the time the applicant first walks into a recruiting office, until the day they ship out to basic training). The next closest service is the Marines, who spend a little more than $13,000 per recruit, followed by the Navy at approximately $14,500 per recruit. The Army, meanwhile, is triple the Air Force at $26,000. For every Air Force recruiter on the streets, there are about nine Army, five Navy and three Marine Corps recruiters.

According to a recent Department of Defense market survey, about 73 percent of American youth (18 to 25) are not qualified to join the military. Weight, medical or conduct reasons disqualify more than half of them.

Total Military Recruits: Army, Navy, Air Force (Most Recent) by State

The U.S. military consists of five branches. They are the Army (1 million soldiers), Navy (460,000 sailors), Air Force (400,000 personnel), Marines (198,000 marines), and Coast Guard (40,000 active duty). As of 2008, the U.S. military consisted of about 3 million people. About half of them are reserve personnel. - eHow


Per capita

Bar Graph

Pie Chart



Showing latest available data.
Rank States Amount
# 1 Texas: 15,594
# 2 Florida: 9,581
# 3 New York: 7,523
# 4 Pennsylvania: 5,756
# 5 Illinois: 5,738
# 6 Georgia: 5,197
# 7 Virginia: 4,957
# 8 Washington: 3,942
# 9 Missouri: 3,523
# 10 Indiana: 3,393
# 11 Arizona: 3,367
# 12 Alabama: 3,172
# 13 Louisiana: 3,013
# 14 Maryland: 2,924
# 15 Tennessee: 2,896
# 16 Colorado: 2,767
# 17 New Jersey: 2,749
# 18 Oklahoma: 2,639
# 19 Wisconsin: 2,594
# 20 Kentucky: 2,109
# 21 Minnesota: 2,008
# 22 Oregon: 1,962
# 23 Massachusetts: 1,957
# 24 Kansas: 1,823
# 25 California: 1,648
# 26 Arkansas: 1,586
# 27 Iowa: 1,541
# 28 Nevada: 1,126
# 29 Nebraska: 1,123
# 30 New Mexico: 1,094
# 31 West Virginia: 1,021
# 32 Connecticut: 1,019
# 33 Hawaii: 920
# 34 Idaho: 846
# 35 Montana: 798
# 36 Maine: 792
# 37 New Hampshire: 635
# 38 Ohio: 586
# 39 North Carolina: 494
# 40 South Dakota: 437
# 41 Michigan: 436
# 42 Alaska: 406
# 43 Delaware: 354
# 44 North Dakota: 322
# 45 Rhode Island: 312
# 46 Wyoming: 307
# 47 South Carolina: 287
# 48 Guam: 245
# 49 Vermont: 225
# 50 District of Columbia: 189
# 51 Mississippi: 161
# 52 Puerto Rico: 139
# 53 Utah: 113
# 54 US Virgin Islands: 63
# 55 American Samoa: 40

Total: 120,449

Weighted average: 2,190.0

See America's Perpetual, Multi-generational Global War on Terror

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