Is the Military Getting a 5% Pay Increase in 2024?
Are United States military members getting a 5%-plus pay raise in 2024? The short answer at the time of this writing is NO. That is not to say a 2024 military pay chart isn’t forthcoming, but the dollar amounts depend greatly on negotiations over the 2024 defense spending budget.
And there lies the issue. There has been (as of yet at press time) no National Defense Authorization Act passed for 2024. That annual legislation sets, among many other things, the amount of military pay and any proposed pay increases that might be included.
The NDAA has been held up by political infighting, and at press time, there’s no end to the impasse. The House and Senate have not approved a specific military pay raise together, nor has the President signed it into law.
The 5.2% increase or one close to it is likely to happen once the House and Senate have agreed upon the NDAA. The arguments over the NDAA have nothing at all to do with how much to raise military pay, as we’ll see below.
Why Are Military Bloggers Talking About a 5.2% Military Pay Raise in 2024?
One military-themed blog notes, “A 5.2% military pay increase is potentially on the horizon, starting January 1, 2024. The House of Representatives has approved the raise as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).”
That line may make it sound like the NDAA has passed, but it has not. The sentence above refers to the House version of the NDAA, which the Senate has not officially approved at press time. Congress.gov notes at press time that the House approved the bill but not the Senate.
But the likelihood of the House version passing the Senate is in question because of a number of non-defense budget-related add-ons, culture war riders, and other issues that potentially distract from how to compensate military members for their sacrifices.
Add-Ons to the 2024 NDAA Are Controversial
What does all that mean? Without diving into specific political issues, the House insists that any NDAA for 2024 must contain the following provisions which are mostly unrelated to defense and readiness; these are named in the official House Armed Services Committee 2024 NDAA proposal, and we quote verbatim from it below:
- Banning Critical Race Theory
- Prohibits Drag Shows
- Preventing a Military Green New Deal
- Enhancing Congressional Oversight of DoD Programs
Of the items in the list above, only the last bullet point directly relates to defense readiness. What all of this means is that the Senate is highly unlikely to pass a 2024 NDAA with such non-defense-related riders contained within.
What Does It Mean?
It’s not clear at press time what members of the House who drafted the NDAA believe Critical Race Theory or drag shows have to do with defense budgets or military readiness. What is clear?
Direct opposition in the Senate to such add-ons likely means the House’s version of the NDAA, along with the proposed 5.2% pay raise for the troops, goes back to the draft stages.
The House and Senate were so at odds over add-ons that even passing a temporary spending bill to extend NDAA negotiations was fraught with problems. A government shutdown loomed until the very last minute when the House approved an add-on-free temporary spending measure to keep the government running until a new budget could be worked out.
The temporary funding was eventually passed, and a new deadline of November 17, 2023, was established for the NDAA. But at press time, the House of Representatives can’t elect a new Speaker of the House, potentially stalling NDAA talks further.
Some are not optimistic about the House and Senate’s ability to avoid a government shutdown on November 17, 2023, and that will directly affect military members’s ability to be paid at all, let alone get a pay increase for the new year.
This is a developing story.
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About the author
Editor-in-Chief Joe Wallace is a 13-year veteran of the United States Air Force and a former reporter/editor for Air Force Television News and the Pentagon Channel. His freelance work includes contract work for Motorola, VALoans.com, and Credit Karma. He is co-founder of Dim Art House in Springfield, Illinois, and spends his non-writing time as an abstract painter, independent publisher, and occasional filmmaker.