Personnel costs consume about a quarter of the U.S. defense budget -- $153 billion in fiscal 2012. U.S. military personnel costs alone exceed the entire military budget of any other country in the world.
Salaries and health care are the two biggest elements of that $153 billion. Military pay ranges from $17,892 for the greenest private to $230,879 for a four-star general.
While the active duty force has grown only 4 percent since 2000, compensation costs are up 28 percent. The cause is mostly health care costs, which have doubled for the Pentagon since 2001.
Today’s infographic fills you in on the price of quality military personnel. Click to see it full-size, then peruse the “What Do Others Say?” section below for views and ideas on maintaining our 21st century fighting force.