October 11, 2006:
U.S. military personnel are getting a 2.2 percent raise next year. Some legislators had pushed for 2.7 percent, in order to narrow the gap (of about four percent) between military jobs and equivalent civilian ones. Instead of the higher raise, billions more money went into targeted pay increases. All warrant officers, and some mid-level NCOs will get additional raises. A lot of money is also going into re-enlistment bonuses. Research has shown that many troops are satisfied with current pay scales, but that some of those in key jobs (Special Forces, linguists, some technical specialties) are tempted to get out because of much better economic opportunities in civilian life. So more bonuses are being used to deal with this. That approach is nothing new. For decades, bonuses have been paid to doctors, pilots, submarine crewmen and others. Educational benefits the "G.I. Bill"), which remain a big draw for new recruits, also went up four percent. Former military personnel can now get up to $38,700 for educational expenses. Reservists, activated for at least a year, are eligible for up to $11,000.