The War Inside the Military

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The War inside the Military

In the midst of the war on terrorism the United States is increasingly depending on its military men and women. President Bush, Congress, and the American Press have heaped richly deserved praise on the military, and they should. It has been thirty years since the United States drafted men into the service. The United States Military is now a professional, all- volunteer force. However, in spite of their importance to the security of the United States, the United States soldier is underpaid for his work compared to workers in the private sector of the country.

According to the 2003 Military Pay Chart, a private (E1) in the Army earns $1064.70 a month before taxes are taken out That figure is low compared to what someone in the private sector can earn. The private sector is protected by the United States Department of Labor Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) which currently sets the minimum wage at $5.15

an hour ("United States" 3). The United States soldier is an exception to this act and is not covered by the rules and regulations of the FLSA ("United States"1). In addition, the FLSA requires employers to pay "covered" workers not less than one-half times their regular rates for all hours worked in excess of forty hours in a work week ("United States"3). If a person in the private sector works fifty hours a week at minimum wage, they would earn $1,272.50 a month. The Private (E1) in the Army still earns $1064.70 a month regardless of how many hours the soldier has worked.

Due to low pay, there is a true deficit in the soldier's quality of life when he is deployed. Jill Labbe, a writer for the Star Telegram, reported in her article, "Another Military instance of 'hurry...