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DoD starts pay, perks study
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WASHINGTON, May 11, 2010 - Defense Department officials today announced the start of the congressionally mandated 11th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation.

The review's focus, officials said, will be on combat pay, compensation for reserve-component servicemembers, caregivers and survivors and pay incentives for critical career fields.

Thomas L. Bush, a recently retired senior executive who worked in the office of the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness and as the principal director for manpower and personnel in the office of the assistant secretary of defense for reserve affairs, was tapped to lead the review. He will report to Clifford Stanley, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

The last review, released in two volumes in 2008, focused on housing allowance, retirement pay, Tricare health system premiums, pay incentives for health care professionals and quality of life.

Retired Air Force Brig. Gen. Jan D. "Denny" Eakle chaired the 10th review and said upon its release that the first question for any quadrennial review of compensation is whether military pay is comparable to that in the private sector. The second is whether military pay is adequate to maintain the force.

William J. Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel policy, testified April 28 before a Senate subcommittee that military pay is competing well against the private sector, as evidenced by the high rate of recruitment and retention.

Using regular military compensation - basic pay with housing and food allowances and federal tax advantages - as a comparison, military members are paid higher than 70 percent of their private-sector peers of similar education and experience, Carr told the Senate Armed Services Committee's personnel subcommittee.

Carr also called specialty and incentive pays essential to maintaining the force, especially for special operations forces and people with medical, dentistry, mental health, aviation and nuclear backgrounds.

The 11th review, which will take about two years to complete, will focus on:

-- Compensation for service performed in a combat zone, combat operation, or hostile fire area, or while exposed to a hostile fire event;

-- Reserve and National Guard compensation and benefits for consistency with their current and planned utilization;

-- Compensation benefits available to wounded warriors, caregivers, and survivors of fallen servicemembers; and

-- Pay incentives for critical career fields such as mental health professionals, linguists and translators, remotely piloted vehicle operators and special operations personnel.

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