The annual budget request the Pentagon sends to Congress next week will include a 1.6 percent pay raise for troops in 2017, a historically small bump aimed at reducing military personnel costs, according to defense officials, according to Military Times.
The 1.6 percent pay raise will fall below the projected increase in private-sector wages, which is likely to be 3.2 percent in 2017, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates.
If approved by Congress, the modest pay increase would mark the fourth consecutive year that military basic pay has not kept pace with the growth in most civilian wages, reversing a trend during the post-2001 war years when military pay increased substantially.
The New York Times is reporting that the United States has carried out at least a dozen operations — including commando raids and airstrikes — in the past three weeks against militants in Afghanistan aligned with the Islamic State, expanding the Obama administration’s military campaign against the terrorist group beyond Iraq and Syria.
The operations followed President Obama’s decision last month to broaden the authority of American commanders to attack the Islamic State’s new branch in Afghanistan. The administration — which has been accused by Republicans of not having a strategy to defeat the group — is revamping plans for how it fights the terrorist organization in regions where it has developed affiliates.
Many of these recent raids and strikes in Afghanistan have been in the Tora Bora region of Nangarhar Province — an inhospitable, mountainous area in the eastern part of the country, near the border with Pakistan. It was in Tora Bora that Osama bin Laden and other senior Qaeda militants took refuge during the American-led invasion in 2001, and eventually evaded capture by slipping into Pakistan.
China’s armed forces are undergoing a sweeping five-year reorganization aimed at creating central control over the military’s nearly autonomous branches and creating a more lethal fighting force to close the gap with US capabilities, analysts say, according to Stars and Stripes.
The restructuring is the most profound undertaken since the 1950s when Soviet advisers helped modernize the nation’s post-civil war military, changes that will likely challenge long-held assumptions by the Pentagon, according to David M. Finkelstein, director of the China Studies division of CNA, a Washington, D.C. research center.
The reorganization, which officially launched Jan. 1, will fundamentally redefine the roles, missions and authorities among the services — particularly the People’s Liberation Army, or PLA — and the Central Military Command, Finkelstein wrote in a paper released Friday.
The changes include disbanding the country’s seven military regions and replacing them with joint-warfighting commands in charge of “war zones” or “theaters of operation.” Also newly formed will be the PLA Rocket Force, which will be responsible for the nation’s nuclear and conventional missiles.
Defense Secretary Ashton B. Carter has decided not to impose any further punishment on David H. Petraeus, the former CIA director and retired Army general who was forced to resign in a sex-and-secrets scandal in 2012, according to the Washington Post.
In a brief letter sent Friday to the leaders of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee, the Pentagon reported that Carter had agreed with the Army’s recommendation not to discipline Petraeus.
“Given the Army review, Secretary Carter considers this matter closed,” Stephen C. Hedger, assistant secretary of defense for legislative affairs, wrote in the three-sentence letter, obtained by The Washington Post. The letter did not elaborate.