Arlington, VA

This week, the Department of Defense published the 13th Quadrennial Review of Military Compensation (QRMC), a comprehensive account of military compensation required for the White House every four years. This QRMC primarily focuses on two issues: the feasibility of moving to a single-salary system combining basic pay with basic allowances for housing and subsistence and the use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) by service members. CNA was a main contributor, providing eight studies that informed the QRMC’s findings and recommendations.

CNA’s contributions helped to determine that the costs of moving to a single-salary system would likely outweigh the benefits. The research organization estimated that assuming constant expenditures, a single-salary system would reduce compensation to military families by 5% to 14%, depending on paygrade and location. Most of that reduction would come from the loss of the tax advantage for housing and subsistence allowances. CNA identified over 25 potential second- and third-order effects in housing and food arrangements, family and dependent benefits, income support programs, and other areas. For example, private housing providers could see rental revenues fall by $83 million to $210 million a year.

On the topic of SNAP, CNA reviewed eligibility requirements to estimate the maximum number of active service members who could qualify for SNAP by paygrade, family status and Military Housing Area. The study found that no service member without dependents would qualify for SNAP in any housing area and that no senior noncommissioned officers would qualify, even with dependents. An examination of actual SNAP enrollments found that fewer than half of one percent of service members stationed in the U.S. were enrolled — and possibly as few as 0.08%. (Incomplete data prevented more precise calculations.) This means that 880 to 4,620 service members are enrolled in SNAP at any time, with the best estimate at the lower end of this range. Junior enlisted troops in paygrades E-2 to E-4 with three or more dependents are at least 10 times more likely to be enrolled in SNAP than other service members.

“CNA was proud to support DOD on these very important topics,” said Resources and Force Readiness Division Vice President Jeff Peterson. “Our work on SNAP provides Congress, DOD and the White House with a solid baseline from which to monitor changes in circumstances for service members.”

The CNA reports can be found below: