Armed Forces News

President Bush has signed the $417 billion Defense Appropriations bill into law. For quality of life, the bill provides a 3.5 percent across-the-board pay raise for service members, eliminates out-of-pocket housing expenses and fully funds the Defense Health Program. The president said the raise brings the total military pay raise over the last four years to nearly 21 percent. The bill also funds $25 billion in emergency appropriations to support current operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In addition, it funds aircraft and ship acquisition programs and provides $10 billion for ballistic missile defense programs. Congress must pass a second bill, the fiscal 2005 National Defense Authorization Act, before DoD can spend the money.