Frustration over declining budgets has caused a downward spiral for the military’s approval rating for the president, but the bosses have a plan: On Jan. 1, troops will receive a 1% pay raise in an effort to bolster morale.
The Pentagon announced on Monday that the changes will come into effect as a result of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act. But if troops were waiting on a boost that would restore their confidence in the current administration, they may be out of luck: The amount is still very small. Lawmakers originally slated the pay increase at 1.8%, but after negotiation, the amount was slashed to 1%. For personnel with three years of service, the pay raise only totals $22.20 per month, and for an officer with six years of experience, the raise bumps their salary up to $54.30 a month.
The pay increase doesn’t apply to everyone. Neither generals nor flag officers will benefit.
Congress also decided to move away from a 1% increase of the Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH), and opted for only a 0.5% boost. Additionally, renter’s insurance was cut for 2015. In an effort to not seem overly unreasonable, the DoD added a crucial exception: A “service member who maintains uninterrupted BAH eligibility in a given location will not see a rate decrease. This ensures that service members who have made long-term commitments in the form of a lease or contract are not penalized if local housing costs decrease,” the press release states.
At the same time, the Pentagon has cut the cost-of-living allowance for 12,000 troops stationed in the U.S. For 4,000 personnel, the allowances will simply be removed entirely.
It’s unclear how much of an effect the combination of pay increases and decreases will have on troop morale, but it seems certain it will take a lot of work to pull approval for the president out of the fire. At the moment, an abysmally low 15% of the military approve of President Barack Obama.
Garry Schmitt, director of the security center at the American Enterprise Institute, commented:
When the military moved to an all-volunteer force, there was a sort of implicit deal that although new enlistees would never get rich, they’d in return receive the best training and the best equipment.
But recently, they don’t see Obama as having fought very hard to stave off budget cuts. They see training modules being eliminated and cut back. They’re being asked to deploy without the same kind of training. They feel it. They have a sense that Obama doesn’t have their back in the way previous presidents have had.
This report, by Jonah Bennett, was cross-posted by arrangement with the Daily Caller News Foundation.