Military Personnel: Military and Civilian Pay Comparisons Present Challenges and Are One of Many Tools in Assessing Compensation

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense's (DOD) military compensation package, which is a myriad of pays and benefits, is an important tool to attract and retain the number and quality of active duty servicemembers it needs to fulfill its mission. Compensation can be appropriate and adequate to attract and retain servicemembers when it is competitive with civilian compensation. However, comparisons between military and civilian compensation present both limitations and challenges. As we noted in 1986, exact compensation comparisons are not possible because no data exist which would allow an exact ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. April 1, 2010.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Defense's (DOD) military compensation package, which is a myriad of pays and benefits, is an important tool to attract and retain the number and quality of active duty servicemembers it needs to fulfill its mission. Compensation can be appropriate and adequate to attract and retain servicemembers when it is competitive with civilian compensation. However, comparisons between military and civilian compensation present both limitations and challenges. As we noted in 1986, exact compensation comparisons are not possible because no data exist which would allow an exact comparison of military and civilian personnel with the same levels of work experience. Also, nonmonetary considerations complicate military and civilian pay comparisons because their value cannot be quantified. Specifically, military service is unique in that the working conditions for active duty service carry the risk of death and injury during wartime and the potential for frequent, long deployments unlike most civilian jobs. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 required that we conduct a study comparing pay and benefits provided by law to members of the Armed Forces with that of comparably situated private-sector employees to assess how the differences in pay and benefits affect recruiting and retention of members of the Armed Forces. Specifically, our objectives were to (1) assess total military compensation for active duty officers and for enlisted personnel; (2) compare private-sector pay and benefits for civilians of similar age, education, and experience with similar job responsibilities and working conditions of officers and enlisted personnel of the Armed Forces; and (3) assess the 10th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC) recommendation to include regular military compensation and select benefits when comparing military and civilian compensation to ascertain if it is appropriate. The focus of this review was active duty servicemembers' perspectives on compensation. That is, we focused on cash compensation and the value of benefits to servicemembers versus the cost to the government of providing compensation."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • April 1, 2010

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Military Personnel: Military and Civilian Pay Comparisons Present Challenges and Are One of Many Tools in Assessing Compensation, text, April 1, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc299896/: accessed August 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.