2014 budget calls for smaller raises, higher fees

Military leaders have wrapped their hands around personnel funds and are starting to squeeze hard, with a 2014 defense budget proposal that calls for the smallest military pay raise in decades, cuts in funding for bonuses and incentive pays, and dramatic hikes in health care costs for retirees.

The most visible change — though hardly the most devastating — is the proposed 1 percent pay raise for 2014 that defense officials announced this year.

If enacted, it would be the smallest raise in more than five decades and the first since 1999 that did not meet or exceed average private-sector wage growth.

Get all the details in this week’s Army Times, on sale now.

Army to extend time for promotion to captain, major

Basic-branch officers of the Army Competitive Category will have a longer wait for their captain tracks and major leaves under a phased return to promotion pin-on points that were in effect before the war on terrorism. Promotion points, which are expressed in years and months of commissioned service, indicate when officers can expect to pin on new rank insignia after being recommended for promotion by a selection board.

Because the Army expanded in size following 9/11, it shortened the promotion points to meet increased requirements for captains and majors. The wait for major leaves shortened to about 9½ years, and the wait for silver tracks to slightly more than three years.

Read all about the changes in the latest Army Times.

Decision nears on new camouflage pattern

A successor to the Universal Camouflage Pattern is weeks away now that procurement officials have briefed the Army chief of staff on results of tests for new camouflage patterns, according to Army officials.

The four families of patterns have been battling it out in a bid to succeed the much-maligned UCP, though no final decision has been made.

Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno received the April 11 briefing, which included the Army Service Uniform, the physical training uniform and the combat uniform. Sergeant Major of the Army Raymond Chandler told Army Times the service has reached a “90 percent solution.”

Find out more in Monday’s issue of Army Times.

Nominations open for Service Member of the Year

Nominations are open for the 2013 Service Member of the Year award and Military Times is looking for everyday heroes, soldiers who inspire the men and women they work with just by doing what they do.

Fellow service members, supervisors and commanding officers — as well as parents and spouses — can nominate any active duty, National Guard or Reserve soldier who will be serving through August 2013 and who demonstrated not only exemplary service but made a significant impact within his or her community in 2012.

Winners will receive a trip for two to Washington, D.C., in July, where they will tour the nation’s capital and attend an award ceremony with the military’s top leaders.

Go to militarytimes.com/smoy before April 28 to nominate.

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