Accession Number:



Military Personnel: DOD Needs to Improve the Transparency and Reassess the Reasonableness, Appropriateness, Affordability, and Sustainability of Its Military Compensation System

Descriptive Note:

[Technical Report, Congressional Report]

Corporate Author:

United States Government Accountability Office

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



Over the years, the Department of Defenses DOD military compensation system has become an increasingly complex and piecemeal accretion of pays, allowances, benefits, and special tax preferences. DOD leaders have expressed concern that rising compensation costs may not be sustainable in the future and could crowd out other important investments needed to recapitalize equipment and infrastructure. Given the looming fiscal challenges facing the nation in the 21st century, GAO believes it is time for a baseline review of all federal programs to ensure that they are efficiently meeting their objectives. Under the Comptroller Generals authority, GAO 1 assessed whether DODs approach to compensation provides adequate transparency over costs 2 identified recent trends in active duty compensation, and how costs have been allocated to cash and benefits and 3 reviewed how active duty servicemembers perceive their compensation and whether DOD has effectively explained the value of the military compensation package to its members. GAO is making a number of recommendations to improve the transparency, reasonableness, appropriateness, affordability, and sustainability of the military compensation system. DOD generally concurred with GAOs recommendations.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations

Distribution Statement:

[A, Approved For Public Release]