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Troops to get 2.7% pay raise in defense bill signed by Biden

Soldiers wait on buses to take them to Charlotte International Airport on Victory Block Leave Dec. 16. (Robert Timmons/U.S. Army)
December 28, 2021

On Monday, President Joe Biden signed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) that includes a 2.7 percent base pay raise for troops in 2022.

“There’s a lot to be proud of in this bill,” House Armed Services Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-WA) said in a statement after Biden signed the bill into law. “The FY22 NDAA supports a well-deserved pay raise for our service members, diversity and inclusion initiatives across our military, and the Department of Defense’s role in the Biden-Harris Administration’s whole-of-government response to the climate crisis. Ultimately, this year’s NDAA focuses on what makes our country strong: our economy, diversity, innovation, allies and partners, democratic values, and our troops.”

Service members can expect the pay raise in the new year.

Passed in the House by a vote of 363-70 and in the Senate by a vote of 88-11, the $768.2 billion NDAA also includes “significant changes to how the U.S. military will handle sexual assault crimes” within the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ).

“These reforms – which are supported by longstanding advocates for survivors of the sexual assault crisis in the military – will take the prosecution of all sex crimes in the military away from the control of the military commander. Instead, qualified, independent, uniformed attorneys — ultimately overseen by the civilian Service Secretaries — will have the sole authority for charging decisions and the responsibility to prosecute those charges,” Smith explained.

“As I have said before: These changes to the UCMJ are the most transformational thing that has been done by the House Armed Services Committee in my 25 years of service on this committee, and I thank Congresswoman Jackie Speier for her steadfast leadership on this issue,” he added.

The act also includes a section that prohibits the National Guard from being deployed across states lines through private funding, except in emergency situations as determined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

Notably excluded from the defense bill was a controversial provision requiring women to register for the draft.

In a statement, Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) said it’s “wrong to force our daughters, mothers, wives and sisters to fight our wars.”

House and Senate Armed Services Committee leaders agreed to remove the provision from the final version of the NDAA in a major win for conservatives, but one of the people familiar with the negotiations said the provision was removed as part of a deal to get Republicans to agree to military justice system reforms.