The FY 2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) will ensure servicemembers receive a 4.6% pay hike in 2023, marking the largest raise in more than two decades.
The increase matches the third quarter Employment Cost Index (ECI) figure from 2021. Law requires those figures to line up, but the president and Congress have the authority to make the pay hike higher (as happened in the FY 2010 NDAA) or lower (as happened from 2014 to 2016).
It will mark the largest raise since 2002, when some paygrades received double-digit increases with an average hike of 6.9%.
Ensuring adequate pay raises for servicemembers remains a top legislative priority for MOAA, along with protecting the value of other benefits for those in uniform (such as the Basic Allowance for Housing) against inflationary and other market pressures.
[RELATED: MOAA’s COLA Watch]
MOAA also seeks to make up the “pay gap” created by the below-ECI pay raises noted above. This would require a 2.6% pay increase for servicemembers beyond the ECI figures.
What About Next Year?
The ECI figure for the third quarter of 2022 sits at 5.2%, pointing to a pay raise of that amount beginning in January 2024. However, as budget pressures mount, the raise becomes an ever-present target for budget analysts and others who wrongly see military personnel costs as “unsustainable.” MOAA frequently engages with lawmakers and the public to debunk these calls for belt-tightening, with a recent example coming from MOAA President and CEO Lt. Gen. Dana T. Atkins, USAF (Ret), in 2021.
In the piece, Atkins warned of long-term consequences should lawmakers decide to strengthen the budgetary bottom line on the backs of servicemembers and their families.
“If our nation persists in again going down the well-trodden route of successive, incremental cuts to military compensation, none of us should be surprised when crises of the past reemerge as the next war or next crisis only to find our uniformed services unready,” Atkins wrote last year – since then, recruiting and retention challenges faced throughout DoD has made the need for fair compensation even more apparent.
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