Whereas President Joe Biden’s proposed price range for the Division of Protection features a 4.6% pay enhance for army service members beginning January 1, 2023, the present annual shopper inflation charge within the US stands at 8.3%.
Lots of the coverage adjustments Austin introduced will go into impact in October. They embody adjustments to housing allowances for active-duty service members, adjustments to insurance policies round everlasting change of station strikes service members are required to make for his or her postings and extra packages for childcare and employment of army spouses.
“Our Service members and households should be capable to safe reasonably priced primary wants. It’s a matter of bedrock monetary safety and a important particular person readiness subject,” Austin stated in a memo to senior Pentagon leaders and Combatant Commanders saying the coverage adjustments on Thursday.
Among the coverage adjustments Austin is implementing got here from concepts from army service members themselves, and all of them are a “direct response” to what Austin has heard from army service members and their households “over the previous 20 months,” Pentagon Press Secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated.
“During the last 20 months, the Secretary has met with service members throughout the nation and all over the world,” Ryder stated. “Immediately’s actions are a direct response of what the Secretary has heard from our service members. A few of these initiatives are concepts that got here immediately from the pressure, and so they replicate his dedication to the households who sacrifice day-after-day so as to serve.”
Austin directed an computerized enhance in primary housing allowance for active-duty service members within the 28 army housing areas within the US which have skilled “a median of greater than 20% spike in rental housing prices this 12 months,” Austin stated within the memo.
Austin additionally directed a change in how lengthy service members are eligible for short-term lodging bills to be lined after they should make a everlasting change of station transfer, or a required transfer for his or her army service posting, beginning in October. Austin elevated the short-term lodging expense protection from 10 days to 14 days for strikes inside the continental US. DoD will now additionally enable as much as 60 days of short-term lodging expense protection “if a service member is in a specified army housing space with a housing scarcity,” the memo acknowledged.
Throughout these strikes, service members additionally get a dislocation allowance. For service members who’re rank E-1 by E-6, the dislocation allowance will now be paid “robotically one month previous to their transfer date to preempt out-of-pocket bills,” the memo acknowledged. This may go into impact in October.
Austin additionally directed army commissaries to “minimize costs on the register, with the aim of attaining a minimum of a 25% financial savings on grocery payments in comparison with the native market,” he wrote.
For army service members and their households whose gross family revenue is under the 130% federal poverty guideline degree, the DoD pays them a primary wants allowance beginning in January, the memo stated.
This allowance is “designed” to deliver these service members and households “again as much as that degree,” Division of Protection Director of Navy Compensation Jeri Bush stated. The allowance will fluctuate based mostly on the households’ wants.
To assist with “childcare shortages affecting all the nation,” the Division is instituting a “minimal 50% worker low cost for the primary youngster” of army relations who work at one of many army’s youngster growth program services “to assist entice extra proficient workers and to extend capability,” in keeping with the memo. This new low cost will go into impact in October.
To assist enhance army spousal employment, the division will “launch a brand new profession accelerator pilot initiative” in January “that can match army spouses with paid personal sector fellowships in a wide range of profession paths,” the memo acknowledged.
All of those measures are geared toward serving to army households as they take care of rising prices of inflation impacting housing, meals and jobs throughout the nation.
“We stay profoundly dedicated to doing proper by our army households, simply as our army households stay profoundly dedicated to their family members and to the Nation that all of them achieve this a lot to defend,” Austin stated within the memo.
Austin will obtain “common updates” on the initiatives, in keeping with the memo.