New Defense Bill Gives Troops Pay Raise

Thomas Short
Military VA Loan contributor

On Monday the 13th, President Trump singed a new bill that secures $717 billion in funding for the military in 2019.

Notably, a portion of the funding will go toward giving military members a pay bump.

Effective October 1, members of the armed forces will see a 2.6% pay increase, the largest pay increase to occur for the military in nearly a decade. This follows last year’s pay increase of 2.1%, giving military members a large pay increase over just a 2-year span.

The largest pay bump of the past decade was 2010 where personnel got a 3.4% pay increase.

The pay increase is a huge help for military members, especially as inflation starts to creep higher. With the cost of all goods back home becoming more expensive – such as housing – any additional funds can end up going a long way.

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NDAA signed

The NDAA, formally called the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act for the Fiscal Year 2019, was already approved by Congress last month. The final step was receiving the President’s signature.

“The National Defense Authorization Act is the most significant investment in our military and our war fighters in modern history,” said Trump Monday. Along with the increase in pay to the military, the bill also includes funding to update aging technologies.

“We will replace aging tanks, aging planes and ships with the most advanced and lethal technology ever developed,” spoke Trump of where some of the funding will go.

Of course, the biggest news was the increase in wages to military members. Along with increasing the pay for the armed forces, the NDAA also allocates funds to increase the size of the military. There are funds available to increase the size of the US military by nearly 26,000, 24,100 of which would be active duty military.

What else the NDAA does

While a big raise for the troops highlights the bill, other areas of the military are going to feel the effects.

Part of the $717 billion will go toward funding new fighter jets and battleships, which is part of an effort to keep the military’s equipment modern and functional.

Another part of the bill will fund research in new areas of technology, such as artificial intelligence. The VA has already looked into AI to help with healthcare and loans, so it will be interesting to see how the military chooses to direct their artificial intelligence research and if it will have an impact on veterans.

Hypersonic technology is also going to be a point of emphasis for research this next year.

Along with the funding for new planes and ships, the NDAA could also open the door for the Space Force. Space Force has been a major military talking point for the Trump administration, and just last week Vice President Pence spoke in front of the Pentagon to outline the plan to create the Space Force.

While the NDAA does explicitly include any funding for the Space Force, there is some funding in the bill that has not yet been allocated. This could easily go toward creating the Space Force, for which Pence requested $8 billion in funding. This would put them on track to have the Space Force acting as an independent branch by 2020.

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