WASHINGTON -- Hoping to make a career in the military more enticing, the Pentagon yesterday proposed raises as large as 9.9 percent for mid-career officers and noncommissioned officers as part of a sweeping package that calls for the largest increases in military pay and pensions since 1982.
President Clinton has already announced his intention to increase military salaries by 4.4 percent for all 1.4 million soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, starting in January 2000. But the Pentagon's proposal would earmark additional raises for those officers and enlisted personnel whose experience and training have made them highly sought after in the civilian marketplace and who the Pentagon says have been quitting the armed services in droves.
The Pentagon estimated that more than 1 million troops would receive anywhere from half a percent to 5.5 percent above the base increase.
Secretary of Defense William S. Cohen and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Henry H. Shelton, announced the increases as part of a package that also included an increase in retirement benefits. They described the increases as vital to recruiting qualified officers and enlisted personnel -- and keeping them.
"We want the best that we can attract, and we are working in an RTC environment in which it's very hard to compete against a robust economy," Cohen said.
The White House immediately released a statement from Clinton endorsing the proposed changes. Congress still must approve any of the changes, but that is considered likely because there is broad bipartisan support when it comes to pay and troops.
Pub Date: 12/22/98