Posted on May 6, 2014
SSgt Gregory Guina
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It seems to me that many young service members get married just to get out of the barracks. They see this as a quality of life issue and to be honest I can see their point. What should the DoD do to make barracks life better? I for one would prefer to see barracks that were more like an apt vice a dorm room especially for the more seasoned or higher ranks. Always having another person in your room can be frustrating as sometimes you just want to get away. By keeping young Marines in the barracks could cut down on many of the problems that as leaders have to deal with when a young immature individual tries to live a lifestyle that they are not ready for.
Posted in these groups: Bah-calculator BAHRings MarriageEga Marine Corps
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Responses: 38
SFC Stephen Pate
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Your options are to either make government housing competitive with the civilian market, or remove the incentive to acquire dependents.

I vote provide BAH to all members based only on grade and market rates (not family status) and transition all billeting to a command independent agency.
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SFC Stephen Pate
SFC Stephen Pate
>1 y
Right on the first. I believe the differential pay is the prime motivator of these "contract marriages". When you provide incentives, it influences behavior.

Further, it is just plain wrong to treat our single members differently just because their personal relationships aren't certified by the state. Respect them and provide for them based on their military merits, not their social standing. My wife is my responsibility, not the Army's.

For the second, it is my wish to remove billeting from the command, not the installation. It may be advantageous to move it all to local economy, but that should be determined locally.

I can see a number of on installation housing models that could be viable. Whether it is DOD, NAF, or contractor managed is irrelevant, so long we remove unit leadership from the management.

The heavy command presence in the barracks is a direct result of command ownership of the barracks. Remove that ownership, and the command will be forced to treat single members the same as the married. Combined with the dependent indifferent BAH, we have then removed the military incentive to marry.

Ideally, I would allow the member to choose the housing that meets their needs, and charge them fair value for it. I cannot comprehend why two members should pay different rents (in the form of removed or allotted BAH) for identical lodging.
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SSgt Gregory Guina
SSgt Gregory Guina
>1 y
I do liek the idea of taking ownership away from the commands. This might make living in the barracks more palatable if the resodents don't have to worry about every little thing that happens in thier home being brought to work.
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Cpl Westin Sandberg
Cpl Westin Sandberg
>1 y
SFC, one of the problems I see with this idea, as far as the whole BAH thing is this; the reason our brothers and sisters in arms get more money for living out on town/having dependents, is the fact that once you live out on the town you no longer receive "free" chow hall or boarding, that money is instead given to you (what was being withheld for living in the barracks and eating at the chow hall) and then of course you receive more to help care for your dependents.
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SGT Infantryman
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Couldnt agree more. Equal Opportunity should apply to single soldiers just as much as married
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SGT Chris Cherry
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Honestly, I wouldn't get married to get out of the barracks. However, that doesn't mean that I find barracks life to be substandard.

I miss having carpet, a couch, my dogs, a stove, an oven, a bathtub, a garage...do I need to go on?

I also find it to be EXTREMELY insulting to have to have a fellow E5 come to inspect my barracks. I've stayed in seedy motels in atlantic city that are more accommodating that the barracks I currently live in. Seriously, no stove? No oven? I technically can't even have a coffee maker.

So yeah, fix this crap and I'll have no problem living in the barracks and not getting BAH. E-6 is a $1700 pay raise if you're a single E-5. Think about that one for a second.
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SSG(P) Counter Terrorism Analyst
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>1 y
Yep... Especially the pay raise...
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PO3 Account Management Specialist
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Simple..... don't pay BAH based on dependents. This should not be an incentive. I understand that the military has to have a BASE pay regardless of where in the world you are stationed, but that BASE PAY stretches differently in areas where cost of living is more expensive. Case in point: $45K where I live now is equivalent to $62K in San Diego CA. Therefore, if I lived in the absolute cheapest cost of living area EVER, and was making 45K, and the military uprooted me and moved me to San Deigo, then they need to give me an extra $17K per year for cost of living adjustment..... just to have the same lifestyle as before.

I don't care how many kids you have. Your choice to pop 'em out. You need to find a way to feed them and put a roof over their head on the salary you make. It's complete horsecrap that the military pays more for dependents. In the civilian world, my employer doesn't give two fiddle farts about weather I have dependents or not. They pay me a salary and it's my duty to use that salary wisely. The military makes it entirely too easy for Joe Numbskull to go find a bride and/or a baby, (whether he wants one or not) so he can get more money.

So.... back to the original question, how do you prevent young service members from getting married to receive BAH? Don't make BAH based on dependents. Make BAH based on time in service AND rank. E-4+ over 4 years in the service is when you should become eligible for benefits. By that time, you've had time to grow up, and if you were "really" in love before then, then you were forced to make it work on the base pay. And maybe ol' wifey boo needs to not be a stay at home and go get a job to make things work rather than sitting high on the hog on her E-nothing husband's BAH.
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Maj Instructor Navigator
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5 y
Take away BAH differences for dependent status, and you will see a lot of your married service members bail in short order. Would you also be a fan of kicking all civilian spouses and kids out of Tricare?
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Maj Instructor Navigator
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5 y
On the other hand, MAJ Robert (Bob) Petrarca , your civilian world counterparts do not, on a general rule, have to leave their families behind for 6-12 months at a time, nor do they have to move their families across the country, or out of it, on short notice.
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Pvt Richard Hy
Pvt Richard Hy
5 y
Sorry MAJ Bob... I have to agree w/ Capt verify... you cannot compare treatment of active duty and civilian, it just does not equal out Sir. Don't like your civi status, quit and find another with better pay/benies.... not so in service
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PO3 Account Management Specialist
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5 y
I still cannot believe that so many of you think it's completely appropriate to encourage stupid life decisions with monetary gain that otherwise may not have happened at "that particular point in time" by "that particular service member" in "that particular situation" if monetary gain were not an incentive. YES, some people are reeeeeeeeeeeeeally in loooooooove and going to get married, have babies, find a way to make it work, and really work hard at it because that's what a real marriage takes. I still think it's completely inappropriate, and negligent of taxpayer dollars of the military to use this tactic as part of the benefits package. I never said don't pay BAH. I agree in the concept of BAH, but I would be more supportive of "equal rights" of BAH based on location, rank and time in service. Pvt Pissant with 14 days in the military (yes, I'm exaggerating for effect, duh) with 3 already and a 4th on the way and a wife who can't even legally drink yet is a recipe for disaster. But it's all good because the dependent BAH is taking care of wifey boo and the kids at home.
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