The current military personnel system is outdated; it is also too rigid to accommodate the flexible force that the U.S. armed forces and national security will require in the future. The military pay, health care, and retirement systems were designed in the post-World War II era, and although they have seen a hodgepodge of additions since then, they have remained largely unchanged since 1947.
Basic pay makes up only about half of military compensation. The infographic below provides snapshots of total compensation for military officers and enlisted service members by rank.
Katherine Blakeley is a Policy Analyst on the National Security and International Policy team at the Center for American Progress. Mo Smolskis and Charles Schellpeper are interns with the National Security and International Policy team.