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Soldier pay raise in 2019

Proposed 2.6 percent pay raise part of Army budget

Photo credit: Airman 1st Class Caleb Worpel

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A 2.6 percent military pay increase was included in the Army's $148 billion budget request for fiscal year 2019, which Congress must still approve and might also opt to amend.

Of note, the 2.6 percent raise is the largest pay raise for soldiers in nine years.

Additionally, there was a 2.9 percent increase for basic allowance for housing and a 3.4 percent increase for basic allowance for subsistence.

In addition to the Army base budget request of $148 billion, the service also requested $34 billion for overseas contingency operations, making the total request $182 billion.

The budget rollouts for each service, as well as the Department of Defense, were announced during a Pentagon press briefing Monday.

The Army budget request totals top last year's amended request of $139 billion for base and $30 billion for OCO.

Maj. Gen. Paul A. Chamberlain, director of the Army Budget, noted that the Army's budget focuses on readiness and is in line with the DoD effort in that respect, as well as with the National Security Strategy.

The largest part of the budget, $60.6 billion, goes to military personnel, he noted, an increase from the $58 billion requested by the Army last year.

Some of that increase is due to higher end strength, he said. The active component request is for 487,500. Last year's authorized end strength was 483,500 and the actual end strength for FY17 was 476,245.

The Army National Guard end strength request of 343,500 and the Army Reserve end strength request of 199,500, remain unchanged from last year's authorized end strength, he noted.

Funding for increased manning over the last couple of years reverses the downsizing that occurred, along with the risk it carried to readiness, he noted.

This budget "focuses on the Army's most valuable asset, our people," he added.

In addition to funding for military personnel, the other portions of the base budget, he said, are as follows:

  • Operations and maintenance: a request of $52.5 billion (FY18 was $49.5 billion)
  • Procurement/research and development: a request of $32 billion (FY18 was $28 billion)
  • Military construction, including family housing: a request of $2 billion (FY18 was $2.3 billion)

The O&M portion of the budget, he noted, includes $14.5 billion for civilian pay.

While this year's budget request will enable the Army to increase its overmatch capability against current and emerging threats, Chamberlain cautioned that sequestration still threatens to derail that effort in coming years.


Davis S. Welch, deputy director Army Budget, addressed the Army's $10.2 billion for modernization, an increase from last year's $9.4 billion.

In order to "jump-start" the cross-functional team effort within the new Futures Command, the Army has allocated $38 million for experimentation, prototyping, initial capability development and technical demonstrations, he said.

After a science and technology review ordered by the secretary of the Army, a decision was made to re-direct $234 million within the modernization budget to better align priorities with the Army's six modernization priorities, he said. Those priorities include long-range precision fires, a next-generation combat vehicle, future vertical lift platforms, a mobile and expeditionary Army network, air and missile defense capabilities, and soldier lethality.

Welch provided some S&T funding examples within each of the six priorities:

Long-range precision fires will focus on target propulsion systems for extended-range missiles and extended-range artillery and research into a multi-mission attack missile, he said.

Next-generation combat vehicle efforts will explore vehicle design and protection; vehicle protection concepts; advanced power, generation and distribution technologies; active protection systems; and robotic vehicle capability, he said.

Future vertical lift protection systems will explore aircraft survivability, crew situational awareness, advanced power systems, unmanned systems, degraded visual environment sensors, advanced engines and drive trains, and continuation of flight demonstrators, he said.

Network improvements will focus on mobility and survivability of mission command systems; improvements in cyber and electronic warfare systems; and, developing precision positioning, navigation, timing in a denied GPS battlespace, he said.

Air and missile defense will pursue high-energy lasers and demonstrators, he said.

Soldier lethality will target improvements in small-arms weaponry, prolonged field medical care, novel locator systems for enemy detection, and advanced fire control technologies, he said.

In addition to S&T funding, Welch said the Army plans to procure:

  • 60 AH-64E helicopters (12 new builds and 48 remanufacture)
  • 50 UH-60M Black Hawk helicopters
  • 7 CH-47 Chinook helicopters
  • 135 Abrams tank upgrades
  • 210 Bradley upgrades
  • 197 Armored Multi-purpose Vehicles
  • 36 Paladin Integrated Management
  • 3,390 Joint Light Tactical Vehicles
  • 9,450 Guided MLRS Rockets
  • 240 MSE Missiles
  • 404 ATACMS Service Life Extension Program
  • 784 Javelin missiles
  • 148,287 155mm artillery projectiles
  • 26,355 Joint Battle Command-Platforms

Welch noted that some of the procured equipment will go to European prepositioned stocks and some will go to a new rotational armored brigade combat team in Europe. There is currently just one Armored Brigade Combat Team there.

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