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President Obama will seek a 1.4 percent military pay raise for 2011 as part of his defense budget request that will be unveiled Feb. 1, according to a point paper issued Tuesday by the White House.

If approved by Congress, it would be the smallest annual military pay raise since the birth of the all-volunteer force in 1973, a reflection of the lingering recession’s dampening effect on wage growth and living costs. The next-smallest raise in the volunteer era was a 2 percent increase in 1988.

In contrast, the pay raise for this year, which took effect Jan. 1, was a robust 3.4 percent.

The proposed 2011 raise would match the projected increase in the Employment Cost Index, a Labor Department measurement of private-sector wage growth. For 11 consecutive years, including this year, Congress set annual military raises half a percentage point above the increase in the ECI in order to whittle a perceived gap between average military and private-sector pay that supposedly has existed since 1982 and peaked in 1999.

Read more at themilitarytimes.com.

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President Obama will seek a 1.4 percent military pay raise for 2011 as part of…