Solving the Veteran Employment Transition Problem

Choose to serve those who chose to serve you.

Estimates are that 200,000 U.S. veterans leave military service each year and rejoin civilian life. However, veterans face significant difficulty pursuing civilian jobs. This is not a new problem, but it is time for a solution. As the Chairman of the Foundation for VETS, I have a vision for how to solve this problem and it involves research.

Honor Veterans

Our Nation values and honors veterans. We applaud veterans’ courage, we are proud of their willingness to serve, we respect them as people, but we as a Nation, fall short when it comes to treating these brave men and women with the same selflessness they have provided to us. We are willing to shake their hands and thank them with our words, but are we willing to honor them with our actions? I believe we are failing to prepare veterans for a part of life we think is easy for them, because it is easy for us. In a way, we respect veterans so much that we believe they do not need our help.

Systematic Problems Deserve Systematic Solutions

The solution to the veteran employment transition problem does not rest with any of us alone, it rests with the system. It is the system we are trusting, it is the system veterans are using, and it is the system that is failing our brave Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen. It is the system we need to fix.

It is the system we need to fix.


You can see evidence of a systematic problem when you see a large amount of people facing the same problems, time and time again. With veteran unemployment and veteran underemployment, these are problems that seem to exist in multiple locations, at multiple paygrades, from multiple military branches, with the only common denominator being military service. Somehow, military service does not prepare our Nation’s best to immediately play a role in our Nation’s future. That hurts us all, and we all need to take action.

Solving this Problem

At the Foundation for VETS (Veteran Employment Transition Support) we have a plan to solve 80% of the veteran employment transition problem within the next 5 to 10 years, but we need your help.
Like all major breakthroughs in world history, this problem needs research. We need to measure, document, and study the patterns of the symptoms before we can find the root cause. Once we find the root cause, we will need to study possible solutions. This will take time, research always does, but the Nation has been dealing with the veteran employment transition problem since 1776, and now is the time for a solution.

The Nation has been dealing with the veteran employment transition problem since 1776,
and now is the time for a solution.


Be Part of the Solution: Join the Fight

You can help by participating in our research. Simply go to this website: FoundationForVETS.org/survey and complete the Foundation for VETS Veteran Survey. This survey is open to everyone: active-duty, former active-duty, and non-veterans – we need everyone involved. Your participation will be a giant leap forward in the fight to level the playing field for transitioning veterans.

Join the fight, take the survey, send it to others, and together we will solve this problem for our Nation, for the economy, for businesses, and for our Nation’s bravest!

Dr. Joshua D. Cotton is the creator of the Elite Performance Indicator personality and competency assessment (EliteIndicator.com), a Management Consultant, a Lecturer at the University of Pennsylvania, a former Navy Personnel Research Psychologist, and the Co-Founder and Chairman of the Foundation for VETS (FoundationForVETS.org).

2018 BAH (Basic Allowance for Housing) Rates

The 2018 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rate increase is currently proposed at 2.9.% according to the President’s defense budget. The 2.9% increase would be effective on January 1, 2018 and servicemembers would see their first increase in their January 15th, 2018 pay.

The BAH rate increase will not become official and may be adjusted until the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act aka the defense budgets is signed into law. Typically Congress and the President agree on a final version, and the President signs it into law in December.

The BAH program also includes a plan to slow growth, which will eventually achieve a 5% out-of-pocket cost for living expenses. For 2018, the rate will cover 96 percent of service members’ housing costs, a one percent drop from last year. BAH used to cover 99% of housing expenses but by 2019, service members will be paying 5% of their housing expenses out of pocket.

Not all locations will see an increase, as BAH is based on the duty station zip code, or school zip code in the case of veterans using the Post-9/11 GI Bill, and thus corresponds with the cost of living of that zip code. For instance, cities with a very high cost of living such as Honolulu, Chicago, and Los Angeles have a very high BAH rate to help off-set those costs. Smaller cities such as Tacoma or Colorado Springs have a lower cost of living and therefore a lower BAH.


BAH Calculator
 

YEAR: DUTY ZIP CODE: PAY GRADE:

 

FY2012 – FY2018 Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) Comparison

Year Proposed Increase/Decrease Actual Increase
2018 2.90% TBD
2017 2.90% 2.4%
2016 1.30% 3.4%
2015 -5.00% 0.5%
2014 4.20% 5.00%
2013 4.20% 3.80%
2012 4.20% 2.0%

BAH Changes Timeline

Late 1990s
Defense Department began increasing housing allowance rates to bring them in line with actual rental market housing costs across the country and to reduce members’ out-of-pocket housing costs. Prior to this initiative, a military member’s housing allowance covered only about 80 percent of their full housing costs, leaving an out-of-pocket cost of up to 20 percent.

By 2005
Housing allowance rates were increased enough so that the median out-of-pocket “off-base” housing cost was completely eliminated for members by pay grade, location, and dependency status. The Military Services also entered into numerous public-private ventures (PPVs) designed to eliminate inadequate government housing by leveraging private sector financing, expertise, and innovation to provide necessary housing faster and more efficiently than traditional Military Construction processes would allow.

FY 2015
Authorized the monthly Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) rates to be set at 99 percent (vs. 100 percent) of the median rental housing costs.

FY 2016
Authorized monthly BAH rates to be set at 95 percent (vs. 99 percent) of the median rental housing costs; phased in 1.0 percent increments per year over 4 years.

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2018 BAS (Basic Allowance for Subsistence) rates

The Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is currently proposed at 3.4.%. The 3.4% increase would be effective on January 1, 2018, if approved by the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act. Typically Congress and the President agree on a final version and sign into law in December. If enacted, the BAS increase would go into effect on January 1, 2018.

Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is used to pay for food for Enlisted Soldiers and Officers. Beginning on January 1 2002, all enlisted members were given full BAS, but pay for their meals (including those provided by the government) such as through a meal card management system.

BAS is calculated based on the current cost of food in the United States as recorded by the Department of Agriculture. Just as Basic Allowance for Housing (BAH) correlates with the overall cost of living in a given zip code, BAS correlates with the cost of food in the given zip code. BAS, however, is not affected by the presence or absence of dependents, whereas BAH is a higher figure for service members with dependents.

BAS is not intended to cover all food-related expenses, but rather to aid in these expenses. The additional monthly stipend that service members can receive while overseas or when stationed in costly areas, known as Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), will not be affected by the proposed BAS rate.

Year Proposed Increase Actual Increase Enlisted Rate Officer Rate
2018 3.40% TBD $380.81 $262.25
2017 3.40% 0% $368.29 $253.63
2016 3.40% 0.1% $368.29 $253.63
2015 3.40% 2.90% $367.92 $253.38
2014 3.40% 1.48% $357.55 $246.24
2013 3.40% 1.09% $352.27 $242.60
2012 3.40% 7.20% $348.44 $239.96
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2018 Military Pay

The 2018 military pay increase is currently proposed at 2.1% according to the President’s FY 2018 budget proposal. The proposed pay increase is 0.3% lower than private sector wage growth but the same percentage that President Obama signed into law for FY 2017.

The 2.1% increase is not final until the FY2018 National Defense Authorization Act is signed into law which typically occurs in December. During this time the NDAA and the military pay increase can change as legislators amend the defense budget.

The 2.1% raise would be about $575 annually for enlisted soldiers and $900 to $1,700 for officers annually. If the 2.1% increase were to hold it would be the eight time in nine years that military pay raises fell below private-sector wage growth.

See the 2018 proposed military pay charts.

The annual pay increase for service members is determined by the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Employment Cost Index and growth in private-sector wages. However, by law, Title 37, Chapter 19, Section 1009, the President can set an alternate pay raise which is being proposed in the 2018 Defense Budget, and was also proposed and implemented for 2017.

Historical Military Pay Raises by Year

YearMilitary Pay Raise %YearMilitary Pay Raise %
20182.10% (proposed)19894.10%
20172.10%19882.00%
20161.30%19873.00%
20151.00%19863.00%
20141.00%19854.00%
20131.70%19844.00%
20121.60%19834.00%
20111.40%198214.30%
20103.40%198111.70%
20093.90%19807.00%
20083.50%19795.50%
2007 *2.70%19787.10%
20063.10%19774.80%
20053.50%19765.00%
2004 *4.20%19755.52%
2003 *4.70%19746.20%
2002 *6.90%19736.70%
20014.10%19727.20%
20006.20%19717.90%
19993.60%19708.10%
19982.80%196912.60%
19973.00%19686.80%
19962.40%19675.60%
19952.60%19663.20%
19942.20%1965E: 11% O:6%
19933.70%19642.5% - 8.5%
19924.20%196312.60%
19914.10%19620.00%
19903.60%

* 2002, 2003, 2004, and 2007 are the average percentage raise as military pay raises differed for various military pay grades.

2018 military pay increases are for all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces; Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Reserve forces where applicable.

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2018 Military Pay Charts

The 2018 military pay charts reflect a proposed 2.1% pay increase as set forth in the President’s defense budget. The proposed pay increase is the same as the raise percentage approved by President Obama for FY2017 and 0.3 percent less than it should be according to U.S. Code Title 37.

2018 Military Pay Scale

GRADE2 OR LESSOVER 2OVER 3OVER 4OVER 6OVER 8
O-10 (*1)$-$-$-$-$-$-
O-9 (*1)$-$-$-$-$-$-
O-8 (*1)$10,368 $10,708 $10,933 $10,996 $11,278 $11,748
O-7 (*1)$8,615 $9,015 $9,201 $9,348 $9,614 $9,878
O-6 (*2)$6,533 $7,178 $7,649 $7,649 $7,678 $8,007
O-5$5,446 $6,135 $6,560 $6,640 $6,905 $7,064
O-4$4,699 $5,440 $5,803 $5,883 $6,220 $6,582
O-3$4,132 $4,683 $5,055 $5,512 $5,776 $6,066
O-2$3,570 $4,066 $4,682 $4,841 $4,941 $4,941
O-1$3,099 $3,225 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899
O-3 (*3)$-$-$-$5,512 $5,776 $6,066
O-2 (*3)$-$-$-$4,841 $4,941 $5,098
O-1 (*3)$-$-$-$3,899 $4,163 $4,317
W-5$-$-$-$-$-$-
W-4$4,270 $4,593 $4,725 $4,855 $5,078 $5,299
W-3$3,899 $4,062 $4,228 $4,283 $4,458 $4,801
W-2$3,450 $3,777 $3,877 $0$4,170 $4,518
W-1$3,029 $3,355 $3,442 $3,628 $3,847 $4,169
E-9 (*4)$-$-$-$-$-$-
E-8$-$-$-$-$-$4,223
E-7$2,936 $3,204 $3,327 $3,489 $3,616 $3,834
E-6$2,539 $2,794 $2,917 $3,037 $3,162 $3,443
E-5$2,326 $2,483 $2,603 $2,725 $2,917 $3,117
E-4$2,133 $2,242 $2,363 $2,483 $2,589 $2,589
E-3$1,925 $2,046 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170
E-2$1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831
E-1 > 4 mos$1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633
E-1 < 4 mos$1,510 $-$-$-$-$-

2018 Military Pay Scale

GRADEOVER 10OVER 12OVER 14OVER 16OVER 18OVER 20
O-10 (*1)$-$-$-$-$-$15,910
O-9 (*1)$-$-$-$-$-$14,653
O-8 (*1)$11,857 $12,303 $12,431 $12,815 $13,372 $13,884
O-7 (*1)$10,182 $10,486 $10,791 $11,748 $12,555 $12,555
O-6 (*2)$8,050 $8,050 $8,507 $9,316 $9,791 $10,266
O-5$7,412 $7,668 $7,999 $8,505 $8,745 $8,983
O-4$7,032 $7,382 $7,625 $7,765 $7,846 $7,846
O-3$6,253 $6,561 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722
O-2$4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,940
O-1$3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899
O-3 (*3)$6,253 $6,561 $6,821 $6,970 $7,174 $7,174
O-2 (*3)$5,363 $5,569 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721
O-1 (*3)$4,474 $4,629 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841
W-5$-$-$-$-$-$7,592
W-4$5,523 $5,859 $6,154 $6,435 $6,665 $6,889
W-3$5,159 $5,328 $5,523 $5,723 $6,084 $6,328
W-2$4,690 $4,859 $5,067 $5,229 $5,376 $5,552
W-1$4,320 $4,530 $4,738 $4,901 $5,051 $5,233
E-9 (*4)$5,159 $5,275 $5,423 $5,596 $5,771 $6,051
E-8$4,409 $4,525 $4,664 $4,814 $5,085 $5,222
E-7$3,957 $4,175 $4,356 $4,480 $4,612 $4,662
E-6$3,553 $3,766 $3,830 $3,877 $3,933 $3,933
E-5$3,281 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301
E-4$2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589
E-3$2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170
E-2$1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831
E-1 > 4 mos$1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633
E-1 < 4 mos$-$-$-$-$-$-

2018 Military Pay Scale

GRADEOVER 22OVER 24OVER 26OVER 28OVER 30OVER 32
O-10 (*1)$15,910 $15,910 $15,910 $15,910 $15,910 $15,910
O-9 (*1)$14,865 $15,170 $15,702 $15,702 $15,910 $15,910
O-8 (*1)$14,226 $14,226 $14,226 $14,226 $14,583 $14,583
O-7 (*1)$12,555 $12,555 $12,555 $12,555 $12,872 $12,872
O-6 (*2)$10,535 $10,809 $11,339 $11,339 $11,339 $11,339
O-5$9,253 $9,253 $9,253 $9,253 $9,253 $9,253
O-4$7,846 $7,846 $7,846 $7,846 $7,846 $7,846
O-3$6,722 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722
O-2$4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941
O-1$3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899
O-3 (*3)$7,174 $7,174 $7,174 $7,174 $7,174 $7,174
O-2 (*3)$5,721 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721
O-1 (*3)$4,841 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841
W-5$7,977 $8,264 $8,582 $8,582 $9,011 $9,011
W-4$7,219 $7,489 $7,798 $7,798 $7,953 $7,953
W-3$6,474 $6,629 $6,840 $6,840 $6,840 $6,840
W-2$5,667 $5,759 $5,759 $5,759 $5,759 $5,759
W-1$5,233 $5,233 $5,233 $5,233 $5,233 $5,233
E-9 (*4)$6,288 $6,537 $6,919 $6,919 $7,264 $7,264
E-8$5,456 $5,585 $5,904 $5,904 $6,023 $6,023
E-7$4,834 $4,926 $5,276 $5,276 $5,276 $5,276
E-6$3,933 $3,933 $3,933 $3,933 $3,933 $3,933
E-5$3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301
E-4$2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589
E-3$2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170
E-2$1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831
E-1 > 4 mos$1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633
E-1 < 4 mos$-$-$-$-$-$-

2018 Military Pay Scale

GRADEOVER 34OVER 36OVER 38OVER 40
O-10 (*1)$15,910 $15,910 $15,910 $15,910
O-9 (*1)$15,910 $15,910 $15,910 $15,910
O-8 (*1)$14,947 $14,947 $14,947 $14,947
O-7 (*1)$12,872 $12,872 $12,872 $12,872
O-6 (*2)$11,566 $11,566 $11,566 $11,566
O-5$9,253 $9,253 $9,253 $9,253
O-4$7,846 $7,846 $7,846 $7,846
O-3$6,722 $6,722 $6,722 $6,722
O-2$4,941 $4,941 $4,941 $4,941
O-1$3,899 $3,899 $3,899 $3,899
O-3 (*3)$7,174 $7,174 $7,174 $7,174
O-2 (*3)$5,721 $5,721 $5,721 $5,721
O-1 (*3)$4,841 $4,841 $4,841 $4,841
W-5$9,461 $9,461 $9,461 $9,461
W-4$7,953 $7,953 $7,953 $7,953
W-3$6,840 $6,840 $6,840 $6,840
W-2$5,759 $5,759 $5,759 $5,759
W-1$5,233 $5,233 $5,233 $5,233
E-9 (*4)$7,627 $7,627 $7,627 $7,627
E-8$6,023 $6,023 $6,023 $6,023
E-7$5,276 $5,276 $5,276 $5,276
E-6$3,933 $3,933 $3,933 $3,933
E-5$3,301 $3,301 $3,301 $3,301
E-4$2,589 $2,589 $2,589 $2,589
E-3$2,170 $2,170 $2,170 $2,170
E-2$1,831 $1,831 $1,831 $1,831
E-1 > 4 mos$1,633 $1,633 $1,633 $1,633
E-1 < 4 mos$-$-$-$-

Notes:
1. Basic pay for an O-7 to O-10 is limited by Level II of the Executive Schedule. Basic pay for O-6 and below is limited by Level V of the Executive Schedule.
2. Basic Pay for O-6 and below is limited by Level V of the Executive Schedule in effect during Calendar Year 2017 which is $12,641.70
3. Applicable to O-1 to O-3 with at least 4 years and 1 day of active duty or more than 1460 points as a warrant and/or enlisted member. See Department of Defense Financial Management Regulations for more detailed explanation on who is eligible for this special basic pay rate.
4. For the Sergeant Major of the Army, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Navy, Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, Senior Enlisted Advisor of the JCS, Senior Enlisted Advisor to the Chief of the National Guard Bureau or Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard basic pay is $8,165.10.
5. Combat Zone Tax Exclusion for O-1 and above is based on the basic pay rate plus Hostile Fire Pay/Imminent Danger Pay which is $225.
6. Basic pay for Academy Cadets/Midshipmen and ROTC members/applicants is $1,062.30.

The military pay charts are for all U.S. Armed Forces personnel Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marines, Navy, and Reserves forces where applicable. Also, be sure to know your military pay dates.

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Military Pay Allowances List Military Clothing (Uniform) Allowance Rates