For 2014, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act to take effect on January 1st. The NDAA mandates a 1.0% increase in all military pay.

Military pay is made up of a set base that is based upon the rank and length of service of the member. Like most private sector careers, compensation does not end with cash alone. It also includes medical insurance and care, education incentives, and home buying programs.

The budget for the US Military is taken each year from the U.S. discretionary federal budget. These are funds managed by the Department Of Defense and are allocated to cover any and all expenditures for national defense. All pay salaries, training expenses, medical fees, and other benefits for the personnel are taken from this annual budget.

As the largest military in the world, this total expense covers about 20% of the total US gross domestic product. This covers all 1.8 million active personnel and the 600,000 reserve duty members.

The US military offers two distinct career tracks- Enlisted and Officers. Within those career tracks are hundreds of different ranks and pay grades, the compensation for each has a wide range in salary depending on the degree of responsibility.

The interesting thing about military careers is that although there are separate divisions (Navy, Air Force, Marines, Army) the pay grades are equal and encompass the entire military.


Army Pay Scale

Enlisted Pay Grades

Enlisted pay grades are denoted with ‘E’ and range from E1 to E9 grade. Enlisted military personnel enter the at the E-1 pay grade, which is the minimum pay grade. They work their way up the pay scale with experience and promotions.

Officer Pay Grades

The career of a military officer is more lucrative due to most enrollee’s is recruited to the military for their intellect and have a higher education level. They go directly into Officer Candidate Schools. Some officers are fast tracked from a young age through ROTC programs and incentivized school programs.

Basic Pay

Basic pay is the start of your military earnings for both offices and enlisted members. This grade is set in order to afford all personnel with the basic necessities, housing, auto, food, etc… This is boosted by the tax exempt status of all military allowances. This provides your basics at a much reduced cost from your after-tax military paycheck. The combined allowances normally make up a large portion of your military pay and most of these are tax free.

Full vs. Part Time Denotations

All active duty military members are denoted as full-time personnel. Part time status is normally help for only reserve personnel. To meet the part time status, the reserve personnel are required to perform a specific amount of duties and training activities each month.

Combat Zone Incentives

All military income is subject to the same income tax that rules the private sector. That is unless you are stationed in an active combat zone, then you do not pay any taxes.

Pay Roll

All military pay is issued bi-monthly on 1st and the 15th day of each month. Since the late 1990’s this pay is issued via direct deposit. Keep that in mind before you depart for active duty as you want to make sure you have permitted access for family members.

The 2014 Armed Forces Pay Chart

Military Pay Grades 101


Grade
2 or less
Over 2
Over 3
Over 4
Over 6
Over 8
O-10 (*1)
O-9 (*1)
O-8 (*1) $9,946.20 $10,272.00 $10,488.30 $10,548.60 $10,818.60 $11,269.20
O-7 (*1) $8,264.40 $8,648.40 $8,826.00 $8,967.30 $9,222.90 $9,475.80
O-6 (*2) $6,125.40 $6,729.60 $7,171.20 $7,171.20 $7,198.50 $7,507.20
O-5 $5,106.60 $5,752.50 $6,150.60 $6,225.60 $6,474.30 $6,622.80
O-4 $4,405.80 $5,100.30 $5,440.80 $5,516.40 $5,832.30 $6,171.00
O-3 $3,873.90 $4,391.40 $4,739.70 $5,167.80 $5,415.30 $5,687.10
O-2 $3,347.10 $3,812.10 $4,390.50 $4,538.70 $4,632.30 $4,632.30
O-1 $2,905.20 $3,024.00 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50
O-3 (*3) $5,167.80 $5,415.30 $5,687.10
O-2 (*3) $4,538.70 $4,632.30 $4,779.90
O-1 (*3) $3,655.50 $3,903.30 $4,047.90
W-5
W-4 $4,003.50 $4,306.50 $4,429.80 $4,551.60 $4,761.00 $4,968.30
W-3 $3,655.80 $3,808.20 $3,964.50 $4,015.80 $4,179.60 $4,501.80
W-2 $3,234.90 $3,540.90 $3,635.40 $3,699.90 $3,909.90 $4,236.00
W-1 $2,839.80 $3,145.20 $3,227.40 $3,401.10 $3,606.60 $3,909.30
E-9 (*4)
E-8 $3,959.40
E-7 $2,752.50 $3,004.20 $3,119.10 $3,271.50 $3,390.60 $3,594.90
E-6 $2,380.80 $2,619.60 $2,735.10 $2,847.60 $2,964.90 $3,228.60
E-5 $2,181.00 $2,327.40 $2,440.20 $2,555.10 $2,734.50 $2,922.30
E-4 $1,999.50 $2,101.80 $2,215.80 $2,328.00 $2,427.30 $2,427.30
E-3 $1,805.40 $1,918.80 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90
E-2 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90
E-1 (*6) $1,531.50

Grade
Over 10
Over 12
Over 14
Over 16
Over 18
Over 20
O-10 (*1) $16,072.20
O-9 (*1) $14,056.80
O-8 (*1) $11,373.90 $11,802.00 $11,924.70 $12,293.40 $12,827.10 $13,319.10
O-7 (*1) $9,767.70 $10,059.00 $10,351.20 $11,269.20 $12,043.80 $12,043.80
O-6 (*2) $7,547.70 $7,547.70 $7,976.70 $8,735.10 $9,180.30 $9,625.20
O-5 $6,949.50 $7,189.50 $7,499.70 $7,974.00 $8,199.30 $8,422.20
O-4 $6,593.10 $6,921.30 $7,149.60 $7,280.70 $7,356.60 $7,356.60
O-3 $5,862.60 $6,151.50 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40
O-2 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30
O-1 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50
O-3 (*3) $5,862.60 $6,151.50 $6,395.40 $6,535.50 $6,726.00 $6,726.00
O-2 (*3) $5,028.60 $5,220.90 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30
O-1 (*3) $4,195.20 $4,340.10 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70
W-5 $7,118.40
W-4 $5,178.00 $5,493.90 $5,770.50 $6,033.90 $6,249.30 $6,459.30
W-3 $4,837.20 $4,995.00 $5,177.70 $5,366.10 $5,704.50 $5,933.10
W-2 $4,397.40 $4,556.40 $4,751.10 $4,902.90 $5,040.60 $5,205.30
W-1 $4,050.60 $4,247.70 $4,442.40 $4,595.40 $4,735.80 $4,906.80
E-9 (*4) $4,836.90 $4,946.40 $5,084.70 $5,246.70 $5,411.10 $5,673.60
E-8 $4,134.30 $4,242.90 $4,372.80 $4,513.80 $4,767.60 $4,896.30
E-7 $3,709.80 $3,914.40 $4,084.20 $4,200.30 $4,323.90 $4,371.60
E-6 $3,331.50 $3,530.40 $3,591.30 $3,635.70 $3,687.30 $3,687.30
E-5 $3,076.20 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80
E-4 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30
E-3 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90
E-2 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90
E-1 (*6)

Grade
Over 22
Over 24
Over 26
Over 28
Over 30
Over 32
O-10 (*1) $16,150.50 $16,486.80 $17,071.50 $17,071.50 $17,925.30 $17,925.30
O-9 (*1) $14,259.90 $14,552.10 $15,062.40 $15,062.40 $15,816.00 $15,816.00
O-8 (*1) $13,647.30 $13,647.30 $13,647.30 $13,647.30 $13,989.00 $13,989.00
O-7 (*1) $12,043.80 $12,043.80 $12,105.60 $12,105.60 $12,347.70 $12,347.70
O-6 (*2) $9,878.40 $10,134.60 $10,632.00 $10,632.00 $10,844.10 $10,844.10
O-5 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70
O-4 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60
O-3 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40
O-2 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30
O-1 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50
O-3 (*3) $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00
O-2 (*3) $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30
O-1 (*3) $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70
W-5 $7,479.60 $7,748.40 $8,046.30 $8,046.30 $8,448.90 $8,448.90
W-4 $6,768.00 $7,021.80 $7,311.00 $7,311.00 $7,457.10 $7,457.10
W-3 $6,069.90 $6,215.40 $6,413.10 $6,413.10 $6,413.10 $6,413.10
W-2 $5,313.60 $5,399.70 $5,399.70 $5,399.70 $5,399.70 $5,399.70
W-1 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80
E-9 (*4) $5,895.60 $6,129.30 $6,486.90 $6,486.90 $6,810.90 $6,810.90
E-8 $5,115.30 $5,236.80 $5,535.90 $5,535.90 $5,647.20 $5,647.20
E-7 $4,532.40 $4,618.50 $4,946.70 $4,946.70 $4,946.70 $4,946.70
E-6 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30
E-5 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80
E-4 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30
E-3 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90
E-2 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90

Grade
Over 34
Over 36
Over 38
Over 40
O-10 (*1) $18,821.10 $18,821.10 $19,762.50 $19,762.50
O-9 (*1) $16,606.80 $16,606.80 $17,436.90 $17,436.90
O-8 (*1) $14,338.50 $14,338.50 $14,338.50 $14,338.50
O-7 (*1) $12,347.70 $12,347.70 $12,347.70 $12,347.70
O-6 (*2) $10,844.10 $10,844.10 $10,844.10 $10,844.10
O-5 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70 $8,675.70
O-4 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60 $7,356.60
O-3 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40 $6,302.40
O-2 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30 $4,632.30
O-1 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50 $3,655.50
O-3 (*3) $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00 $6,726.00
O-2 (*3) $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30 $5,364.30
O-1 (*3) $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70 $4,538.70
W-5 $8,871.00 $8,871.00 $9,315.00 $9,315.00
W-4 $7,457.10 $7,457.10 $7,457.10 $7,457.10
W-3 $6,413.10 $6,413.10 $6,413.10 $6,413.10
W-2 $5,399.70 $5,399.70 $5,399.70 $5,399.70
W-1 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80 $4,906.80
E-9 (*4) $7,151.70 $7,151.70 $7,509.60 $7,509.60
E-8 $5,647.20 $5,647.20 $5,647.20 $5,647.20
E-7 $4,946.70 $4,946.70 $4,946.70 $4,946.70
E-6 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30 $3,687.30
E-5 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80 $3,094.80
E-4 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30 $2,427.30
E-3 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90 $2,034.90
E-2 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90 $1,716.90