The military is gearing up for a potential crunch this year when the government begins paying bonuses to active duty and reserve troops and their families.
The military is expecting to pay about $100 million in bonuses this year, according to Pentagon spokesman Brian Paddrick.
He said that is about $10 million more than last year.
That would put the military on pace for $8.3 billion in bonuses.
The government last year started paying a bonus for those who serve in the National Guards, Air National Guard, National Guard Reserves and other special operations forces.
The Pentagon has been struggling to meet the $4.9 trillion spending caps imposed after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The government is struggling to keep up with rising demand for veterans’ benefits and is still struggling to pay military retirees.
Congress enacted the Military Retirement Home Trust Fund Act in October 2016 to pay for the base bonuses.
But it hasn’t yet paid out money for the National Defense Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or National Guard Soldiers’ Training and Education Corps.
The National Guard also is facing financial woes.
Its retirement payments have been downgraded in recent years, partly because of a slowdown in recruitment.
It also is struggling with an influx of overseas military members, who are more expensive to recruit.
The Army has been spending billions of dollars to recruit and train soldiers, but the Army’s recruiting efforts are faltering.
The Air Force has been trying to recruit more airmen to fill airman jobs in the Air Force, but they have been unable to keep pace with the Army.
The Navy is spending millions of dollars a year to train pilots for the Navy’s air force, but it is not having much luck.