Skip to main content

The Military Compensation Conundrum: Rising Costs, Declining Budgets, and a Stressed Force Caught in the Middle

National security requirements should be the rationale for any major decisions impacting the U.S. military. Unfortunately, the Budget Control Act and sequestration are forcing civilian and military leaders to make critical decisions with limited regard for their national security implications. The effect on the military has been profound.

Driven by the need to meet budget targets set independently of strategic considerations, recent reductions in force size and underinvestment in training have combined to adversely impact military service members. Even though service members’ compensation has increased amid these cuts, the cumulative burden of budget reductions is causing a deterioration in their capability and well-being. A shrinking military, brought about by budget cuts, places an additional workload on the service members who remain. Additionally, current trends deter those who might be interested in joining the military, which further erodes the ability of the Defense Department to execute its national security mission.