Armed Forces News

Service members will receive a 2.4-percent raise in basic pay on Jan. 1, under a key provision of the 2018 defense-spending bill President Trump signed into law Dec. 12.

The bill calls for a base budget of $634.2 billion — up $26.4 billion from last year. The bill also includes:

* Streamlining and greater accountability in the acquisitions process.
*  Enhanced congressional oversight of cyber operations and weapons systems.
* A review of laws that apply to management of officers’ careers.
* A full financial audit of Pentagon spending.
* Strength increases for the four armed services’ active, reserve, and National Guard components.
* A Special Survivor Indemnity Allowance (SSIA) of $310 per month for surviving spouses of service members who die on active duty.
* Enhanced protection for victims of sexual assault, and more vigorous avenues of prosecution for those who commit such crimes.
* A $4.4 billion increase above the administration’s request, to be used for missile-defense needs.
* Establishment of an Indo-Asia-Pacific Stability Initiative, aimed at squelching threats from North Korea, China, and other potential adversaries.
* Funding to continue operations in Afghanistan, Syria and Iraq, as well as Eastern Europe and Africa.
* Funding for counterterrorism and counterdrug operations.