House Armed Services Committee wants 2.6 percent military pay raise, more troops

House Armed Services Committee wants 2.6 percent military pay raise, more troops
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The House Armed Services Committee is supporting a White House push for a 2.6 percent pay raise for troops in fiscal 2019, according to a draft defense policy bill released Wednesday.

The committee’s military personnel subpanel — in its mark for the fiscal 2019 National Defense Authorization Act — wants “full funding of the by-law pay raise for the troops, the highest in [nine] years,” a notice of the mark states.

Unlike last year, the pay increase is in line with what the White House asked for in President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump warns Iran's Rouhani: Threaten us 'and you will suffer' Pompeo: Iran's leaders resemble the mafia NYT's Haberman: Trump 'often tells the truth' MORE’s budget proposal released in February.

Trump wanted a 2.1 percent pay increase for troops in fiscal 2018, but Congress instead approved a 2.4 percent jump.

The draft bill, which would set military policy for the coming year, also includes the extension of several special pay and bonus provisions.

In addition, the mark includes an increase in troop numbers across the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps, also in line with White House increases.

The Army’s end strength would increase by about 4,000, with increases of about 7,500 for the Navy, 4,000 for the Air force, and 100 for the Marines. In addition, the bill includes a 1,600 increase of the number of troops in the services’ Guard and Reserve branches.

The bill also would require the Pentagon to “consolidate juvenile misconduct data into one centralized reporting database,” as well as  improve crime reporting by requiring the Defense Department “to establish centralized oversight to ensure criminal data is transmitted to the FBI database.”

The mark also addresses troops’ life outside the military. One provision would make the Pentagon's Career Intermission Program permanent. The program allows military personnel to take a break from active service to pursue education, career opportunities and family needs. 

The Pentagon has pushed the program as valuable to recruiting and retaining valuable military pilots and personnel — including in cyber — that may otherwise be wooed by the private sector.