Editor’s Note: This article by Richard Sisk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.
"In support of the department's effort to continue to build a bigger, more lethal and ready force, the FY2019 budget proposes a 2.6 percent increase in military basic pay," the Pentagon said in releasing its budget request.
The proposed raise, which would have to be approved by Congress and the White House, would amount to the largest military pay raise in nine years, the department said in the supporting papers for the budget request.
Officials said pay and benefits for uniformed personnel make up about a third of the Pentagon's budget and amount to the single largest expense category for the department. When civilian personnel are counted, total compensation funding consumes nearly half of the Pentagon's budget, they said.
The 2.6 percent pay increase proposal is aimed at ensuring the military "remains appropriately positioned to compete with the private-sector marketplace for new recruits and to retain a well-trained and quality force," the department said.
The request also reflects the expectation within the department that "moderate and manageable increase in basic pay will continue in the near term and will match the growth in private-sector wages," it said.
In December, President Donald Trump by executive order approved a 2.4 percent military pay increase for fiscal 2018.
Trump acted, as previous presidents have, to approve the pay increase while Congress remained at an impasse on the overall budget.
More from Military.com: