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United States Military Basic Pay History

U.S. Military Pay History

Beginning with the year 1794, the military pay raise percentages, and associated pay charts, are presented in the table under the President who signed the pay amounts into law.

U.S. Military Pay Raise History, 1794 to Present Day

United States military pay raises by President.
Military Pay Raises by President
 President Washington
Year 1794-1814 Navy Pay
Pay Raise 0%
 President MadisonPresident JacksonPresident Buchanan
Year 1814-18341835-18591860-1861
Pay Raise 4.1%32.3%13%
 President Lincoln President GrantPresident Harrison
Year 1862-186918701893 CPO
Pay Raise 0%25%0%
  President T. Roosevelt President WilsonPresident Harding
Year 1908-19191920-19211922-1942 Officer Pay1922-1940 Enlisted Pay
Pay Raise 20%4.8%0%15%
 President F.D. Roosevelt President Truman
Year 1940-19411941-19421942-19461946-1949
Pay Raise 28%14.4%26.4%23.7%
 President TrumanPresident Eisenhower
Year 1949-19511952-19541955-19571958-1962
Pay Raise 22.9% 4%10%8.3%
  President KennedyPresident Johnson
Year 1963196419651966
Pay Raise 12.6%2.5%E:11% O:6%3.2%
 President Johnson
Pay Raise5.6%6.9%12.6%
 President Nixon
Year 19701971197219731974
Pay Raise 8.1%7.9% & 11.6%7.2%6.7%6.2%
 President Ford President Carter
Year 19751976197719781979
Pay Raise 5.52%5%3.6%6.2%5.5%
  President Carter President Reagan
Year 19801981198219831984
Pay Raise 7%11.7%14.3%4%4%
  President Reagan
Year 19851986198719881989
Pay Raise 4%3%±*3%2%4.1%
  President H.W. Bush President Clinton
Year 19901991199219931994
Pay Raise 3.6%4.1%4.2%3.7%2.2%
  President Clinton
Year 19951996199719981999
Pay Raise 2.6%2.4%3%2.8%3.6%
  President Clinton President G.W. Bush
Year 20002001200220032004
Pay Raise 4.8%¹3.7%¹ˆ¹6.9% 4.1%4.2%
  President G.W. Bush
Year 20052006200720082009
Pay Raise 3.5%3.1% 2.7%¹ˆ²3.5%3.9%
  President Obama
Year 20102011201220132014
Pay Raise 3.4%1.4%1.6%1.7%1.0%
  President Obama President Trump
Year 20152016201720182019
Pay Raise 1.0%¹ˆ³1.3%¹ˆ³ 2.1% 2.4% 2.6%
  President Trump President Biden
Year 2020 2021 2022 2023 2024
Pay Raise 3.1% 3.0% 2.7% 4.6% 5.2%
  President Biden To Be Determined (TBD)
Year 2025 2026 2027 2028 2029
Pay Raise 4.5% P TBD TBD TBD TBD

ECI = Employment Cost Index. P = Proposed. E = Enlisted. O = Officer. C = Latest congressional approval.

Pay raise percentage based on appropriate Employment Cost Index figure per U.S.C. Title 37.
1986 pay frozen at 1985 levels. The 1986 chart does not display what was paid, but does show the amount per the 3% increase that was passed and would have been paid out if not for being frozen.
Note ¹:
Targeted basic pay raises effective July 1, 2000 beyond the approved January 1, 2000 increase of 4.8%.
Note ¹ˆ¹:
Targeted increases, effective July 1, 2001, the basic pay amounts for enlisted personnel in grades E-5 through E-7.
Note ¹ˆ²:
Additional targeted increase totaling 4.6% for a limited number of pay grades effective April 1, 2007. Added longevity raises at the 30, 34 and 38 year mark for only the most senior enlisted and officer pay grades.
Note ¹ˆ³:
Pay raise as indicated for all pay grades except O-7 through O-10 which were frozen at 2014 levels.

How adjustments to military basic pay are made

Each year, Congress and the President has the ability to write and approve new legislation as they deem necessary to change military pay; otherwise, since 1962, Title 37 of the United States Code has dictated how military pay adjustments will be automatically calculated.

Currently, U.S.C. Title 37, Chapter 19, ยง 1009 -- Adjustments of monthly basic pay, reads, "An adjustment made under this section in a year shall provide all eligible members with an increase in the monthly basic pay that is the percentage (rounded to the nearest one-tenth of one percent) by which the Employment Cost Index [wages and salaries, private industry workers] for the base quarter of the year before the preceding year [three-month period ending on September 30 of such year] exceeds the ECI for the base quarter of the second year before the preceding calendar year (if at all)."

Additionally, the Title goes on to say, "If, because of national emergency or serious economic conditions affecting the general welfare, the President considers the pay adjustment which would otherwise be required by this section in any year to be inappropriate, the President shall prepare and transmit to Congress before September 1 of the preceding year a plan for such alternative pay adjustments as the President considers appropriate, together with the reasons therefor."

*The Coast Guard is currently a part of the Department of Homeland Security, and it is from that budget the compensation for personnel in the Coast Guard is derived. United States Code Title 14 dictates that the Coast Guard will be a branch of the military at all times. Because of its status as a military branch, even when it previously fell under the Department of Transportation, the pay and allowances have always been in lock-step with that of the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Space Force).

Developed by .

Covering the years 1794, starting with the Naval Act of 1794, through present day, the United States' military pay and allowance raise history. Information gathered from public laws published in the United States Statutes at Large, Government Printing Office.

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