The Administration’s contention that military pay has drastically increased is accurate. However, there is much more to the story.
Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, military pay was capped by Congress below private-sector wage growth which resulted in a 13.5% gap between military and civilian pay and a serious retention and recruiting crisis by the early 2000s.
In the last decade, Congress has worked hard to fix the pay gap, ensuring it kept pace with the private sector. But now, history is repeating itself. The FY 2015 administration budget submission keeps pay caps in place for not just a second straight year but for six straight years.
It took Congress 10 years to make military pay competitive with the civilian sector again. It would be a travesty to undo it.