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Proposed 1 percent military pay raise sparks outcry

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Posted at 10:54 AM, Apr 25, 2013
and last updated 2013-04-25 10:56:39-04

Military families and their advocates are battling an Obama administration proposal to limit troops’ pay raises to 1% in 2014, the lowest increase in half a century, USA Today reports.

Pentagon officials briefing military family representatives framed the 1% increase as a trade-off — “They believe servicemembers and families would be willing to give something on the size of pay raises to ensure funding for the mission,” the National Military Family Association explained to members on its website.

Pentagon records show that a 1% increase would be the lowest since 1963, when there was no raise followed by a double-digit increase later that year. The second-lowest raise since then was in 2011 at 1.4%.

Military pay increases by law are now linked with private sector growth as reflected by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index, an assessment that would call for a 1.8% increase in 2014, which advocates are seeking.

But the Pentagon is asking Congress to limit it to 1% and save $540 million. The Defense Department is also seeking to raise or establish certain fees in health coverage for retirees and military dependents, a savings of $1 billion.