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Military Personnel: Reserve Component Servicemembers on Average Earn More Income While Activated
Brenda S. Farrell (au)
The Dept. of Defense (DOD) has relied heavily on the reserve component primarily in support of ongoing contingency operations for the Global War on Terrorism, now known as the Overseas Contingency Operation. As of Feb. 2009, approx. 691,000 reserve servicemembers have been activated in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, with many being called for multiple deployments or extended for more than one year. This increased use of the reserve component servicemembers has led to questions by Congress about whether reserve component servicemembers might be experiencing a decline in earnings as a result of extended and frequent activations.Although most reserve component servicemembers in response to surveys conducted in 2004 and 2005 reported earnings losses when activated, DOD-sponsored tech. studies determined that for calendar years 2004 and 2005, on ave., reserve component servicemembers earned more income while serving on active duty than they had earned as civilians before being activated. In 2008, RAND Corp. produced its most recent tech. study on the effect of activation on reserve component servicemembers' income, and determined that on ave., reserve component servicemembers experienced a net gain of approx. $1,400 a month in 2004 and approx. $1,600 a month in 2005, after activation. However, RAND found that reserve component servicemembers in three enlisted military occupations -- sonar operator, general; investigations; and military training instructor -- earned less income on ave. after activation in 2005 than they earned before activation in 2004. The study also identified 48 enlisted military occupations and 14 officer occupations for which more than 20% of sampled reserve component servicemembers experienced any earnings loss after activation. GAO found no correlation between attrition rates and income loss in the military occupations identified by RAND as having over 20% of reserve component servicemembers who experienced a decline in income when activated. Reserve and National Guard personnel officials told GAO that reserve component servicemembers leave the service for many reasons other than income loss, such as length of deployment, frequency of deployment, and degree of support from employers and family members. Figures.
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