Around 12,000 more troops based in the United States will be eligible for cost-of-living allowances (COLA) in 2024. This adjustment, a part of the annual review conducted by the Defense Department, is set to assist service members stationed in regions where living expenses are substantially higher than the average U.S. costs. These areas include selected locations in states such as New York, Virginia, Colorado, California, and Oregon.
The 2024 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which was approved by Congress, underpins this increase. Alongside the COLA adjustment, the NDAA has also endorsed a 5.2% pay raise for active-duty troops and reservists, marking the largest raise in over two decades. This pay increase translates to significant yearly additions to the incomes of service members, ranging from around $1,100 for junior personnel to over $10,000 for senior officers.
The calculation of the CONUS COLA, which is paid to troops stationed in selected high-cost areas within the continental United States, is based on several criteria. These include local market prices, availability of base exchange and commissary operations, and military living pattern surveys. The goal of the COLA is not to fully offset the higher living expenses but to provide a substantial supplement to the service members’ incomes.