Military Pay Gaps and Caps


This report investigates pay gaps between military and civilian earnings, throughout the 1980s. It presents a thorough examination and consideration of factors such as gender and professional rank.  It also draws attention to the effects of a diverging pay gap between military and civilian pay, as a factor in determining military recruitment and retention rates.


The present research critiques the perspective that proposed caps on military pay growth pose little risk to the strength and quality of the active duty enlisted force. The authors reconsider the size of the existing military/civilian pay gap, dispel the perception that military/civilian pay fell during the 1980s yet recruiting and retention were unaffected, and caution against the Administration's program of pay caps unless selective offsets in the form of expanded enlistment and reenlistment bonuses and supplemental educational benefits are put in place.

Full Reference

Hosek, J. R., Peterson, C. E. and Heilbrunn, J. Z., 1994. Military Pay Gaps and Caps. California: RAND.