Compen$ation: What Troops Care About

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Anyone who has ever tried to calculate military income knows it’s made up of lots of moving parts – basic pay, housing, retirement, health care, assorted bonuses, etc. They’ve marched in lockstep for a long time, so defense-budget whiz Todd Harrison asked 2,600 troops: what do you care about when it comes to compensation? Such information could prove helpful in retooling the U.S. military’s industrial compensation system for the information age.

Harrison, of the independent Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, will tell all at a Thursday briefing where he’ll lead the charge on rebalancing military pay. But this peek (click on it to enlarge) shows that senior military folks care most about retirement and health care, and least about bonuses. Junior enlisted personnel emphasize their basic pay and health care for their families. More on Thursday’s dog-and-money show here.