By Buddy Blouin

Running a military is a costly endeavor and the American Armed Forces leads the way. If you combine the rest of the top ten nations spending in the world, the U.S. military would still be more. Every year the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) relies on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to determine the primary objectives of the military, the budget, and how the funding is being used. Facing challenges, old and new, the National Defense Authorization Act 2024 is in place and its pay raise for active duty members is the largest in two decades outdoing 2023.

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What Is the National Defense Authorization Act?

The National Defense Authorization Act is the law dictating how the DoD and related entities can spend its budget. It sets how much funding the American Armed Forces receives to spend on everything from equipment, to personnel, and more. The National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024 was set on June 22, 2023, after a 24-1 vote by the Senate Armed Services Committee.

National Defense Authorization Act 2024

There are many different things outlined in the 2024 National Defense Authorization Act, but the big news is that active duty members are receiving a 5.2% pay raise. This will go into effect in January 2024 and represents the second year in a row that the military has set a new 20-year high for pay increases.

This means that for junior service members, around $1,100 more will hit their bank accounts over the year. However, for Senior Officers, it can be over $10,000 per year in an increase.

The military must raise wages each year regardless of the NDAA but as other concerns for a better quality of life persist, lawmakers continue to also focus on other aspects outside of pay. Especially with recruitment so low.

Those with the rank of E-6 and under may also see bonuses each month depending on how the economy goes. Still reeling from rapid inflation, it remains to be seen whether the volatile market is continuing to negatively affect purchasing power. Basic Allowance for Housing calculations are also being excluded as income for those facing food insecurity so that they can better qualify for the stipend.

Overall, the 63rd annual NDAA provides the FY 2024 with $886.3 billion for national defense. Out of these funds, the DoD receives $844.3 billion.

National Defense Authorization Act 2023 Shortcomings

The NDAA in 2023 had many objectives but two of the core goals for the U.S. military was to right the direction of recruitment while helping active duty survive inflationary pressures. It’s hard to say that it was able to do either very well, if at all.

Even with the 4.6% pay increase, the largest in 20 years, NDAA 2023 was up against an inflation rate that was much higher. Recruitment woes still persist across the board. Overall, these objectives were not met.

Celebrated as the largest pay raise for military members in 20 years, the realities surrounding the need for the raise and challenges for the American economy in 2023 quickly humbled the claim.

The FY 24 National Defense Authorization Act is here facing the same challenges as years past but with new ones as well. Conflicts are rapidly growing across the globe and one thing is certain, if the American Armed Forces is going to compete with attracting and retaining talent, it’s going to need to use its funding wisely.

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NDAA May Not Be The Only Increase In Pay For Troops

While the NDAA is set, many House Republicans are pushing a spending bill for The Pentagon to boost the pay of E-6s and under. The increase in the budget amounts to 30% and will help troops serving make at least $15 per hour.

The NDAA was unable to reach such terms in 2024. One of the main points of resistance is ongoing studies about military pay conducted by experts like the House Armed Services Committee's quality-of-life panel.

It’s expected that pass or not, a decision will be made by its February 2024 deadline. Regardless, the National Defense Authorization Act is set and at least some sort of a pay raise is headed to those who serve.


  1. Military Spending by Country 2023, World Population Review. Accessed December 2023. https://worldpopulationreview.com/country-rankings/military-spending-by-country
  2. NATIONAL DEFENSE AUTHORIZATION ACT, United States Senate Committee on Armed Services. Accessed December 2023. https://www.armed-services.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/fy2024_ndaa_executive_summary.pdf
  3. H.R.2670 - National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2024, Congress. Accessed December 2023. https://www.congress.gov/bill/118th-congress/house-bill/2670




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