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Military Pay Raises Likely to Be Smaller for 2022

military pay raise 2022

Military Pay in 2022 Likely to Not Increase as Much as Last 2 Years

For the last 2 years, service members have enjoyed pay raises of at least 3%.  However, it is becoming apparent that troops should not count on a similar military pay raise in 2022.

The New White House Administration and Congress have not begun work on the next military budget; however, the federal government’s formula to determine pay raises has already been established. Title 37 USC is labeled as “Pay and Allowances of the Uniformed Services.” Chapter 19 Section 1009 of title 37 established the specifics of monthly basic pay.


>> View the proposed 2022 military pay charts!

How is the Military Pay Raise Determined?

According to federal law, military pay increases are to mirror private-sector wage growth as stated by the Employment Cost Index (ECI). Under that law, the ECI number—a measure of the changes in pay, not living costs—for the 12 months through each September is supposed to be used in setting the across-the-board segment in the White House’s subsequent budget proposal for the following fiscal year. A half percentage point is to be taken off that amount, and locality pay is determined to also be paid, varying by locality. The resulting figure for the measuring period toward January 2022 was 2.7%. According to the military pay raise formula outlined in title 37, the military pay raise for 2022 will be 2.7%.


“According to the military pay raise formula…the military pay raise for 2022 will be 2.7%.”


This means that military pay raises are usually higher when the economy is healthy, straightforward, and simple. Recent historic “high” military pay raises resulted from a rising economy over the past three years (pre-COVID), following several notably stagnant economic years.

Prior to COVID, employment was historically high during this recent period, and unemployment was at record lows for all demographic and social-economic sectors. Domestic production was up, private-sector wage growth too high, etc.

Can the White House or Congress Use a Different Percentage for a Military Pay Raise?

The percentage increase for a military pay raise is not entirely locked in. The administration and Congress can still increase it, if they determine that the gap between civilian and military wages has grown within the last few years.  Additionally, they can decrease it to save on military funding allowing them to allocate money towards other assets resources.

Faced with a vast $3 trillion economic deficit and continuing pandemic recovery measures yet to come, appropriations will be a stringent environment for the next few years. Lawmakers are already discussing level DoD budgets and will indeed look at different avenues to increase future savings.

Over the past 5 years, lawmakers have decided to stick to the federal formula for pay raises and not make any discernable changes, stating the need to keep military salaries competitive with private-sector wages.


“A small 0.5% increase in pay equals about $3 billion in additional spending over five years.”

Military Pay Increase Examples

  • For junior enlisted service members, a 2.7% increase in 2022 would amount to roughly $790 more a year in income over 2021 levels.
  • For senior enlisted servicemembers and junior officers, that hike equals about $1,400 more.
  • An O-4 with 12 years’ service would see an increase of more than $2,600 extra next year with a 2.7% increase in wages.

To view the proposed increases in a military pay chart format, please go here.

Pentagon Warnings About Impact of Pay Raises

Pentagon leaders have stated warnings that pay increases above the federal formula can remove resources from other military assets or needs. A small 0.5% increase in pay equals about $3 billion in additional spending over 5 years, given the number of service members and the way each year’s raise stacks upon the previous one.

Researching the Pay Raise Calculation

In order to adequately research the pay raise calculation, a Service Member can visit the DFAS MyPay website or Federalpay.Org. The FederalPay.org website is a free public resource for United States Government employees.

They have pay tables and calculators for all 4 major Federal Government pay scales and military service members.  In addition, they offer:

  • a depository of information on Per Diem rates
  • all Federal holidays
  • a government employee database

This is a data-based created by federal employees for federal employees.


>> View the proposed 2022 military pay charts!





About the author

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Julie Provost is a freelance writer, and blogger. She lives in Tennessee with her National Guard husband and three boys.