Junior Enlisted Pay Raise

| June 14, 2024 | 33 Comments


Well, Military.com reports that junior enlisted are underpaid (no surprise) and Congress wants to give them a major sized pay increase – but the Senate and White House are doing some fiscal pearl-clutching over the cost of said raise and oppose it.

Under both the House and Senate plans, all service members are on track to get at least a 4.5% raise next year, which matches what the Biden administration requested and what a federal formula for annual military pay raises says troops are entitled to.

But in the House, after months of study of military quality-of-life issues by a bipartisan panel of lawmakers, members are pushing for a 15% boost for junior enlisted troops on top of the across-the-board raise, for a total 19.5% increase.

Think the biggest boost I ever saw was 10% back in 1977 – but things were a bit less inflationary then (at least until Carter’s impact was felt.)

With the Senate’s more modest proposal and the White House’s objection to any targeted boost to junior enlisted pay before an administration study on military compensation is finished, the fate of the House plan to give E-1s through E-4s a 19.5% pay hike next year is growing shaky.

Elizabeth “Let ‘Em Eat Cake” Warren blames the Republicans:

“We’ve done everything we can to put as much money into pay raises for our active-duty military and particularly for the E-1s through E-3s, the lowest paid,” Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., who chairs the Armed Services Committee’s personnel subpanel, told reporters Wednesday after her subcommittee approved its portion of the NDAA. “But it’s still not enough. I’d like to see more money for our active-duty military and for our civilian workforce that supports our defense effort. But right now, we have to stay under those budget caps that were negotiated in 2023 that the Republicans insisted on.”

She says they put some hard work in on it.

Asked how senators arrived at 5.5%, Warren said, “We squeezed as many dollars from every place else in the DoD budget that we possibly could.”

How selfless of them. I don’t suppose anyone asked about the TRILLIONS the administration has given away.

The White House also cited cost concerns with the House’s proposal. A Congressional Budget Office analysis released Monday estimated the increase in pay for junior enlisted troops would cost $24.4 billion from 2025 to 2029.


Call it roughly $5,000,000,000  a year. They just floated (literally) about 7% of that off Gaza and easily that much in orphaned equipment and armaments in Kabul, right? How much in spending on illegals? DEI? The list goes on…


Category: "Your Tax Dollars At Work"

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I used to teach my troops how the budget and balance a checkbook. That appears to be a lost art.


In the bad old days we were taught to do that in jr. high school or by our parents.

President Elect Toxic Deplorable Racist SAH Neande

When I was “in”, the annual pay raises did no good. As soon as a pay raise percentage was announced (yay!), the prices at the Commissary and PX went up by the same amount (boo!). Hence, pay raise negated.

Prior Service (Ret)

Don’t forget annual rent increases tied directly to housing allowances!

Green Thumb


My base pay in 73 was $288.00. ( A third of what civilians wages were) I came from a family farm job earning $25 a month. Thought I was in heaven with that kinda money.
The pay for SM is way too low. I don’t know what SM get paid today. If you’re going to buy groceries and pay a mortgage, raise a family, you’re going to need some good money. I think starting pay should be in the range of $60k. and go up from there. That’s starting pay for a kid out of college with a useful degree.


That was min wage. If your getting minimum $1.60, chances are you were washing dishes in a restaurant or something like that. Just like today, if your getting min. Wage you’d have a hard time making ends meet. The military needs to compete for qualified people and appropriate pay to do so. Patriotism is a great incentive, but you need to take care of your family too.


“The military needs to compete for qualified people”

  • Be between 17 and 35 years old
  • Be medically and physically fit
  • Be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident with a valid Green Card
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Earn a minimum score on the Army’s entrance test

Those are the qualifications . How much does that pay in the civilian world? In the military E1 pays $2000/mo. plus free medical, free food & shelter, free training so civilian employers don’t laugh at you when you want to get paid more than minimum wage, etc.

I seem to recall some comments here a couple of weeks ago whining about the lack of secure parking for POVs when troops get orders to do what they signed up to do. If jr. enlisted can afford cars, they don’t need a pay raise.


I don’t think you understand how much money people make these days. Around here McDonald’s starts at $15 an hour which is $2,600 a month. You gets free food too. A coffee shop barista in Southern California makes about $60,000 a year. A healthy 21-year-old kid doesn’t give a s*** about health insurance. Starting pay at factory jobs around here, of which there are plenty, is about $22 an hour or more than $3,800 a month. For this you have to pass a minimum intelligence test and a drug test as well as be physically fit. You also get a full benefit package. I live in an average cost area nationally. Normally after a year you’ll be making about $25 an hour, or more than an E6 with 10 years, Even with his housing allowance. If you add in overtime a factory worker can easily be making $70,000 a year after two years on the job. Same as true of a lot of other jobs like oil rig workers. An oil field worker can easily make six figures the first year on the job with the same qualifications as joining the army. We don’t really have active unions around here so that’s money that everybody gets to keep, It doesn’t go to support corruption. You also left out some important qualifiers for the military job such as the willingness to sign up to perform your duties unto death, be required to drop your whole life and deploy anywhere in a moment’s notice, get your leg blown off in a third world s*** hole country, and then deal with the s***** VA medical system. If his boss yells at him at McDonald’s because he burned the fries, he can tell his boss to f*** off and start working the next day down the street at Taco Bell for the same amount of money. Try that in the Air Force and you can go to prison. He won’t get fired for smoking a joint at McDonald’s either. And you think all that is worth $2000 a month, Plus the privilege of living… Read more »


“I don’t think you understand how much money people make these days”

You do realize that lots of civilians also get food stamps, right? And an Earned Income Tax Credit? Etc.? And maybe you can tell me how well I am doing with my Social Security and all those millions I saved from those lucrative civilian jobs.

“get your leg blown off in a third world s*** hole country, and then deal with the s***** [workman’s comp] medical system”

As opposed to safe, comfy civilian jobs with great benefits, all of whom pay great wages.

“And you think all that is worth $2000 a month”

Somebody does. It’s an all Volunteer military, right? At least that’s what I keep reading here—the noble, patriotic, sacrificing people serving their country rather than themselves………

Furthermore, that’s all I am willing to pay. Take it or leave it. Actually, ti’s more than I am willing to pay, which is another reason I do not now, nor have I ever been, in favor of a volunteer military.


Everyone wearing a uniform should be able to afford a basic car.
Otherwise, recruiters don’t stand a chance against fast food where mouthbreathers can make $20/hr without having to do ” all that boot camp bullshit “


“Everyone wearing a uniform should be able to afford a basic car.”

Why? And what about civilians–don’t they need a basic car?

As I mentioned, E1 base pay is about $2000/mo. Plus 3 hots and a cot. $2000 is more than enough for a “basic car”.


$2k per month with benefits, I couldn’t hire a carpenter without experience for that. Military needs to compete with real wages. You made my point about the low pay.


Which is one reason why a volunteer military is a stupid idea unless you want something like the Swiss Guards; a small, ceremonial force that takes a casualty once every couple of decades at most.

AW1 Rod

Volodymyr Zelensky is probably concerned that such a raise would cut into “his share”.


Election year raises are usually the best, plus recruiting is in the toilet. How much free s*** did they give away for student loans? We’re getting ready to go to war with China and Russia and somehow this is not a priority?


Enough to pay for the raise for 85 years. For a bill that was supposed to go to the military.

Must not be enough voters there. I wonder what “freebie” he’s going to offer this summer to get people to vote for him. I’m not sure I can afford anymore.


“recruiting is in the toilet”
Raise the HFP high enough and problem solved.
If we’re going to war anyway might as well make it pay.


In Russia it is 100% plus two sacks of potatoes. In the US make it two pounds of ribeyes and they should get a bunch of takers.

Green Thumb



The proposed 19.5% increase will affect a large number of troops for a relatively short period of their career. Speaking for the Army, most Soldiers will be E-4s by 24 months, and many of those will be E-5s within 3-4 years. If anything, seeing a near-20% jump in pay might make some initial term Soldiers rethink getting out.

I wasn’t motivated by money early on, with my initial pay being $965/month. I know that’s a lot more than older vets earned (my dad made about $85/month in the ’50s), but for a young father of two in 2001/2002, paying out $100/month for the GI Bill, it was nothing. Each year, I’d watch my pay increase through promotions and annual raises, and of course as base pay rises, the percentage gets just a tiny bit more. Our annual raises just took effect last week; 3% doesn’t sound like a lot (and it isn’t in this economy), but it’s $0.57/hour, or $22.08 a week. Besides the outlier forklift mechanic job, where I got a total of $3/hour in raises during my first year, I used to be lucky to get $0.25 to $0.50. Of course, that’s a lot more when you’re making $7-9/hour.

Anyway, it’s nice that there’s billions to send to Ukraine and Gaza, and that we could afford to leave billions of dollars in equipment to an Afghan army that was defeated as soon as we left.

RGR 4-78

They just floated (literally) about 7% of that off Gaza and easily that much in orphaned equipment and armaments in Kabul, right? How much in spending on illegals? DEI? The list goes on…”

Priorities. You must have the correct priorities.


Squeezed money from DoDs budget everywhere they could. Did they look behind the door marked “Ukraine, Do Not Enter”?

Prior Service (Ret)

The idea that it is only a cost from 2025-2029 is a red herring because there’s no way anyone would ever rescind it. At first, I thought I was for a pay raise but on seeing “smoke my totem pole” Warren is for it, I’m not so sure…. I say, let’s finance it with the savings from that GOP draft legislation on ending DEI in federal things. Eat that, Lizzy!


Bring back Spec 5 with a retroactive pay raise to 1969 and
then we can talk budget.


The more we pay our troops the less is available to give away to people that hate us. I say we quit giving American Taxpayer money (and American Blood) and let them hate us for free. We are all tax slaves for the world and our troops are the cannon fodder.


Typical, our leaders have money for everyone except Americans


And now I hear we will rebuild Gaza after the war!


They don’t care for us – they really really hate us.


Navy. It’s not just a job. It’s $96.78 a week.


Here we go