The U.S. Capitol seen through a window of the House Cannon building.

The U.S. Capitol seen through a window of the House Cannon building. (Carlos Bongioanni/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — The House Armed Services Committee will consider a proposal next week that will give junior enlisted troops a 15% basic pay raise on top of a 4.5% raise for all service members.

The targeted pay boosts for the military’s youngest service members would give troops ranked E-4 and lower several hundred dollars in additional pay each month, hiking their annual pay by nearly 20%.

Service members with an E-5 rank would also receive a pay bump under the committee’s draft version of the 2025 National Defense Authorization Act, an annual must-pass bill that sets priorities for the Pentagon.

House lawmakers had long indicated they would pursue higher compensation for junior enlisted members to address rising living costs and the military’s ongoing recruitment struggles.

In April, a House panel tasked with improving the quality of life for service members and their families said a 15% pay raise for junior troops would help the military compete with the civilian labor market.

Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Ala., the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said the recommendation, along with proposals to improve allowances, would serve as the foundation of negotiations over the defense authorization bill this year.

The probability of the pay raise being enacted into law is uncertain.

The White House last year opposed a House proposal to give junior enlisted troops a 30% pay raise before a quadrennial review of military compensation is completed. It is expected to be finished by January 2025.

The Senate Armed Services Committee, which is also drafting its own version of the authorization bill, has not taken a definitive stand on the issue. Committee Chairman Jack Reed, D-R.I., told reporters in March that the committee is examining ways to give pay raises that are not necessarily uniform across every rank.

Military leaders have voiced support for efforts to increase pay for junior enlisted service members, some of whom make less than $25,000 in basic pay, but have also worried about the impact on other ranks.

Lt. Gen. Caroline Miller, the deputy chief of staff for manpower and personnel of the Air Force, told House lawmakers last month that there was “potential concern” about “compression” in some areas of the enlisted military basic pay table as a result of the proposed increase for junior troops.

“If we’re going to [raise pay], how’s that going to impact the higher rank?” she said. “But any pay and benefits that we can do to support our airmen and their families, we are all in.”

Service members of all ranks would receive a 4.5% pay increase under the White House’s 2025 budget request for the Pentagon — slightly less than the 5.2% pay boost troops received under last year’s budget.

The House Armed Services Committee will debate its authorization bill next week. The bill will need to be funded by matching appropriations legislation that will be worked on by another group of lawmakers.

author picture
Svetlana Shkolnikova covers Congress for Stars and Stripes. She previously worked with the House Foreign Affairs Committee as an American Political Science Association Congressional Fellow and spent four years as a general assignment reporter for The Record newspaper in New Jersey and the USA Today Network. A native of Belarus, she has also reported from Moscow, Russia.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now