Military Pay Tended to in 2019 DOD Budget

About the Author

Col. Mike Barron, USA (Ret) is the Director of Currently Serving and Retired Affairs for MOAA's Government Relations department.

President Donald Trump's FY 2019 DoD budget request released Feb. 12 attempts to meet future strategy requirements and reflects the new view outlined in the new defense strategy that sees inter-state competition, not terrorism as the primary concern in future U.S. national security - with long-term strategic competition with Russia and China becoming the Pentagon's main focus.

Counterterrorism, long the dominant factor in DoD planning, is still important. However, investment in next generation weaponry to stay ahead of rivals is the prevailing theme throughout the new strategy.  

The strategy, in particular, focuses resources on three main areas as detailed in the budget:

  • building a more lethal force,
  • strengthening alliances and attracting new partners,
  • and reforming DoD for greater performance and affordability. 

The strategy further highlights DoD's need to continue to put resources toward recruiting and retaining high quality personnel.

In terms of numbers, the FY 2019 request of $716 billion lifts the sequester cap and includes $617 billion in the base budget and $69 billion in Overseas Contingency (war) funding for a total of $686 billion, with an additional $30 billion for other programs.

The newly released budget also directly supports several of MOAAs stated goals and objectives for FY 2019:

  • a 2.6% military pay raise at ECI;
  • includes no new compensation cost share reforms, such as increases in TRICARE fees;
  • and increases end-strength for the force by 25,900 (24,100 in the active components and 1,800 in the reserve components) over the FY 2018 budget.

The budget for FY2019 also puts resources toward sustaining family support initiatives by investing over $8 billion in family readiness and related programs.

Hearings before the key oversight committees in Congress by DoD senior leadership to discuss details in the budget are set to begin immediately on the hill and will continue through the House and Senate defense authorization and appropriation committee legislation mark ups in the late spring.

MOAA will continue to follow the request and provide updates in the coming weeks as more details and potential impacts on servicemembers, veterans, and their families becomes clearer.


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