Supposedly, Trump told soldiers in Iraq that (1) he just got them a 10% pay raise, and (2) supposedly also told them that this is the first raise they have received in a decade.

Fact check: Trump brags to troops about 10 percent pay raise he didn't actually give them

Trump misleads about military pay raises again

And a here is a politifact page about this, also claiming it to be a complete lie.

Both facts are being called false by the media. It is being reported that the raise is actually 2.6%, which is not only not 10%, but is not even the largest raise they have received in the decade he mentioned.

Is the military receiving a 10% pay raise?

If not true, and if not a complete fabrication, where does the 10% figure come from?

CNN and NBC have already provided government citation on the "only pay raise in a decade" part, pointing to the pay raises for each year here, and because of that I am asking only about the 10% raise figure, not about the "no raises in a decade" statement.

The basic pay raises since 2007:

1 January 2007: 2.2%

1 April 2007: 0.5%

1 January 2008: 3.5%

1 January 2009: 3.9%

1 January 2010: 3.4%

1 January 2011: 1.4%

1 January 2012: 1.6%

1 January 2013: 1.7%

1 January 2014: 1.0%

1 January 2015: 1.0%

1 January 2016: 1.3%

1 January 2017: 2.1%

1 January 2018: 2.4%

  • 12
    I feel like your question has already shown the evidence that the claim is false - what other source are you expecting someone to find? The only source for the claim is a statement by one person known to make false statements to the media, which are often different from the statements made by that same individual minutes, hours, days, or weeks apart. The only person who is likely to know where "10%" came from is Donald Trump, the rest of us can only guess. Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 18:27
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    I think that the assumption is that sometimes Trump's seemingly false statements have an element of truth, or can be made correct by looking at the truth from a specific and non-intuitive perspective. I believe that is what the asker seeks - is there a perspective or kernel of truth that makes this at least partially true? Or, alternatively, what Fox program did Trump get the 10% figure from?
    – cpcodes
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 18:31
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    @cpcodes I can see that; there might be a kernel of truth in the 10 years in that the 2019 raise is the largest since 2010 and 9 years is almost 10 years if you round up. And 10 years is the same number as 10% if you aren't concerned with the meaning of units or percentage signs. But this seems to be a poor Skeptics approach, because ultimately it resolves to speculation about what is going on in the head of one individual. Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 18:42
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    @cpcodes I suspect 10% is the increase in total imputed/budget cost. Compensation for enlisted soldiers is very different from civilian benefits in that there are non-taxable payments (combat pay, BAH/BAS), in-kind benefits (barracks, food, uniform allowance, healthcare, dependent benefits, standby travel), deferred benefits (retirement, death benefits, GI Bill) and locality adjustments. We see pay is up 2.5%, but also people here forget that BAH (non-taxable) is up about 2.5%, so that's a factor. I warn against looking at a single part of the whole equation
    – user71659
    Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 1:03
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    @BrockAdams: That could be a good answer, if you can include evidence to show that this usage is common within the government. However, I'd suggest avoiding loaded terms like "swamp speak" which may lead people to question your impartiality. Commented Dec 29, 2018 at 22:54

1 Answer 1


No, they will not.

They will receive a 2.6% pay raise as has been reported in several locations, such as the Washington Post, and by the US Department of Defense.

Such pay raises are in bills passed by Congress and then either signed by the President or passed over his veto by a sufficient Congressional super majority, like all other U.S. appropriations bills.

This is the largest pay raise since 2010, which is less than 10 years earlier than 2019, as indicated in the list of pay raises presented in the OP.

  • According to militarybenefits.info those who were making $15,800/mo in 2018 got a raise to $15,800.10/mo which is a "10 cent" raise which is easy to mistake for "10 percent" during a speech, especially if the speaker delivers it as "10 uh... cent" with only a very short pause after the "uh".
    – SamYonnou
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 21:14
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    @SamYonnou I don't see that anywhere, and it makes little sense because A) It's about 2018, B) The numbers don't include cents, C) It's about only the very top tier pay rate not about a common soldier, D) 10 cents is nothing near the 2.4% raise in 2017, E) He didn't say "10 uh...cent" and the clear claim was that this was a bigger (bigglier?) than usual raise. Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 21:19
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    you can see the 10 cent raise comparing the 2019 to the 2018 pay charts on militarybenefits.info for example in the O-10 grade in the "Over 20" column. The 2.6% raise is for the basic pay rates. Different grades receive a different total increase. And yeah he probably didn't say "10 uh... cent" but I thought it was an amusing technicality.
    – SamYonnou
    Commented Dec 27, 2018 at 21:25
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    @user71659 You're free to submit your own answer. I disagree, however, that that is unlike a civilian job: civilians get benefits, too. People don't describe changes to their benefits as a raise, raises are a base salary increase. Additionally, if you want to think of your pay as pay+BAH, and pay goes up 2.5% and BAH goes up 2.5% your raise is...2.5%. If only one increased, it would be less than 2.5%, because it would be a weighted average including 0%. Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 1:13
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    @user71659 Again, if you can find a source that shows that all of those things have increased 10% then that's great, but I don't believe they have, so what I've posted here is complete and correct. Commented Dec 28, 2018 at 2:27

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