United States Code, Title 37, Chapter 5, Section 301c provides for Submarine Duty Incentive Pay- commonly known as SUBPAY. The Department of the Navy policy (as specified in SECNAVINST 7220.80E) is to use SUBPAY to “attract and retain personnel in the submarine service on a career basis.” Over the past few years, a tremendous effort has gone into improving virtually all military pays to “attract and retain personnel” -with the notable exception of SUBPAY. SUBPAY rates have not changed since January l, 1988. Accordingly, the incentive offered by SUBPAY has declined considerably.
Consider the case of a Lieutenant with over 6 years of service. In 1988, his SUBPAY would have been $595/month and his Basic Pay would have been $2354.40/month. SUBPAY amounted to a premium of more than 25 percent over Basic Pay. Today, for a similar Lieutenant, SUBPA Y is still $595/month, but Basic Pay has increased to $3656.40/month. As a result, SUBPAY now amounts to only a 16 percent premium. Not since 1980 has the incentive value of SUBPA Y been so low.
If an increase in SUBPA Y is not made, its incentive value will continue to degrade even further. President-Elect Bush has proposed a 7 .3 percent pay raise that would become effective January 1, 2002. This means that a Lieutenant with 6 years of service could look forward to earning $3923.32/month. In order to restore the value of SUBPAY to its 1988 premium level, the Lieutenant’s SUBPAY would need to be raised to $990/month.
The time has come to raise SUBPAY before its value erodes further. Action should be initiated to increase the SUBPAY limits specified in 37 use 301c in conjunction with other proposed military pay raise bills that will be considered by the 107th Congress. The time has come to restore the incentive of the Submarine Duty Incentive Pay.