What military branch pays the most

What military branch pays the most? (2023 Review)

Let’s explore these questions and answer them comprehensively: What military branch pays the most? Which military branch gets paid the most? Which branch of the military has the best benefits?

What military branch pays the most

To start with, we must understand that pay in the military vary depending on rank (including enlisted soldiers, commissioned officers, warrant officers, and enlisted members), as well as service time (in years) ranging from 2 to 40.

Therefore, earnings are determined by your rank and pay grade, which is influenced by tax-free allowances and special pay.

But some military services, in general, pay more than others. Hence the need to explore the military branches that pay the most.

What military branch pays the most? (World Military Review)

What military branch pays the most in the world?

The military branches that pay the most in the world are:

1. The Australian Defense Force

The Australian Defense Force, ADF, pays more than other global military branches. In addition to a base pay of around $30,000, the ADF offers allowances and benefits (including housing and uniform allowances) that nearly double the resulting pay for entry-level recruits.

2. The Canadian Armed Forces (CAF)

The Canadian Armed Forces is the umbrella body of the Canadian military. The CAF provides excellent base pay for new recruits regardless of which branch they join. As a recruit, you can expect to earn up to $30,000, with the possibility of earning much more.

3. Royal New Zealand Air Force

If you can get past the stringent requirements, this could be one of the most paying military jobs available anywhere in the world. The starting salary is quite high, around $34,000 per year, and there are benefits such as childcare, paid leave, and educational grants.

4. The British Army

The British Army has one of the most established and comprehensive compensation and benefits systems available. The starting salary for an army recruit is around $28,000 per year. However, it also includes a plethora of benefits, such as pay for hazardous conditions and a progressive pay scale.

5. The United States Air Force

The initial base pay is the same for any US Defense Force. But the US Air Force receives the biggest total pay. The average annual salary of the USAF is around $20,000.00.

6. UK Royal Air Force

The UK Royal Air Force is one of the world’s most historically prestigious branches of military service.  It also pays to live up to the reputation.

As one of the Highest Paying Military Branches, the qualifications for you to join up are not easy, but if you can hack the standard, you can find yourself earning around $28,000 in base pay as a recruit and not having to face the dangers found on the front lines.

7. The French Foreign Legion

If you want to gain some international experience while also getting paid fairly, the French Foreign Legion is for you.

While the initial base pay may be low, the appeal skyrockets when you consider the huge pay increases if you serve on an overseas deployment with the French Foreign Legion (up to $4,000 US per month).

8. The US Marine Corp

The base pay for joining the USMC is the same as it is for other branches of the US military. The difference is in the risks and potential opportunities for payment (and advancement) that you will have once you complete the arduous basic training for recruits.

9. The German Army

When you join the German army, you are most likely thinking about the benefits that come with it. Yes, the starting salary is reasonable, but the massive infrastructure and social programs are the real draws.

10. Japanese Self-Defense Forces

You would be taxed on the payment, but who wouldn’t want a chunk of change worth more than $100,000 US after years of service? While the base pay is not the most attractive aspect, the lump sum payment that comes with retirement from the Japanese Self-Defense Forces is.

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Military branches that promote officers the most

The United States Army is generally the branch of the military that promotes the most quickly. However, your military job and level of advanced education will have an impact on your ability to advance. Regardless of your field, a college degree can help you advance more quickly.

However, specialized career fields frequently do not advance quickly.

The military typically promotes personnel when those in higher ranks are promoted or retire or when they need more people in a specific field.

Branches of US Military

Six different branches make up the US Armed Forces

The branches of the US military are:

1. The US Navy

The US Navy is in charge of defending US interests at sea. They are responsible for handling operations on and under the sea, in the air and on the ground.

2. The US Army

The US Army is the main ground force of the United States, and its primary function is to protect and defend the country with ground troops, attack helicopters, artillery, tactical nuclear weapons, and other weapons.

3. The US Coast Guard

The US Coast Guard is technically a part of the US Department of Homeland. They are primarily in charge of law enforcement, illegal immigration controls, boating safety and sea rescue in our domestic waterways.

4. The US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps is the top-rated military service branch.

They specialize in beachhead assault, capture, and control. While the United States Marines specialize in amphibious operations, they have also expanded into ground combat. It is primarily an independent branch with an air force of attack helicopters, fighters, and bombers.

5. The US Air Force

The primary function of the US Air Force is to defend the United States and its interests in the air and space. It accomplishes this function with fighter aircraft, light and heavy bombers, tanker aircraft, transport aircraft, and helicopters.

This is also the military branch in charge of nuclear ballistic missiles and military satellites.

6. The US Space Force

The United States Space Force is the military service responsible for organizing, training, and equipping space forces in order to protect US and allied interests in space and to provide space capabilities to the joint force. The United States Space Force maintains the military’s competitive edge on land, in the air, and space through specialized training and the acquisition and development of next-generation space-based systems.

What US military branch pays the most?

As we consider what military branch pays the most, we must understand that you can receive higher pay in the military by naturally progressing in rank and years of service.

Secondly, the military offers several incentives to military personnel that serve in hazardous environments or combat roles.

That said, the Air Force receives 35.6 percent of the money allocated to the base budgets of the services, the Army receives 27.9 percent, and the Navy receives 36.4 percent (including the Marine Corps). However, those figures are flexible.

As we know, the US Armed Forces divide pay rates based on military designation:

  • Enlisted Personnel,
  • Warrant Officers, and
  • Commanding Officers

The lowest-ranking service members in each category begin at designations 1-5 before progressing to higher numbers.

Pay for Enlisted personnel

Rank Pay
E-1 $1,785 per month
E-2 $2,070 per month
E-3 $2,104 – $2,372 per month
E-4 $2,330 – $2,829 per month
E-5 $2,713 – $3,607 per month
E-6 $3,188 – $4,297 per month
E-7 $4,190 – $5,765 per month
E-8 $4,819 – $6,581 per month
E-9 $5,637 – $8,753 per month


Note: Enlisted personnel rank 1 (E-1) is automatically promoted to E-2 ($2,070 per month) after reaching 6 months of service.

Pay per month of Warrant Officers

Warrant officers are specialists and experts in certain military technologies or capabilities.

Warrant officers have a higher rank than enlisted personnel but are under Commanding Officers. The US Air Force and Space Force do not have warrant officer ranks.

Their monthly payments are provided in the table below:

Rank Pay
W-1 $3,309 – $5,719 per month
W-2 $3,770 – $6,293 per month
W-3 $4,261 – $7,475 per month
W-4 $4,666 – $8,691 per month
W-5 $8,296 – $10,856 per month


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Pay per month for Commanding Officers

The US Armed Forces classify pay grades for commanding officers in 2 different formats.

Officers that earn the rank upon enlistment are classified differently from Officers that earn the position by promotion.

The monthly pay of the different commanding officers is presented thus:

Rank Pay
O-1 $3,386 to $4,261 per month
O-1E $4,261 – $5,290 per month
O-2 $3,901 to $5,399 per month
O-2E $5,290 – $6.252 per month
O-3 $4,515 to $7.345 per month
O-3E $6,023 – $7,839 per month
O-4 $5,135 to $8,574 per month
O-5 $5,951 to $10,111 per month
O-6 $7,139 to $12,638 per month
O-7 $9,414 to $14,066 per month
O-8 $11,330 to $16,333 per month
O-9 $16,013 to $16,608 per month
O-10 $16,608 per month



  • The highest ranking officers (O-8 through O-10) include Major General, Vice Admiral, and Lieutenant General.
  • These high-ranking officials can earn nearly $200,000 per year with 30 years of service.
  • The highest pay grade for an officer is obtained once a General or Admiral achieves a 4-star rank.

Special Pay Earned by the Military

There are many different ways you can earn special pay in the military.

The US Armed Forces refer to this bonus pay as “Special and Incentive” (S&I) pay. These includes:

  • Career Incentive S&I Pay
  • Medical S&I Pay
  • Rehabilitation S&I
  • Retention S&I Pay
  • Skill Conversion S&I
  • S&I Transfer Incentive

Other examples of special pay and incentives in the military include:

  • Hazardous Duty Pay (HDIP)
  • Hardship Duty Pay
  • Assign Incentive Pay (AIP)
  • Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Pay (OTEIP)
  • Foreign Language Proficiency Pay (FLPP)


  • You will almost certainly be offered a signing bonus if you join the military.
  • Furthermore, personnel seeking reenlistment can earn a career field bonus of up to $90,000.
  • In general, the Department of Defense (DoD) rewards service members who work in demanding or difficult areas of work.
  • Service branches may offer their own discretionary bonuses depending on when you enlist.
  • Advanced education and skills are rewarded, such as being fluent in a second language (foreign language bonus).
  • It is important to note that unlike many types of military pay and benefits, S&I pay is taxable.

Military Allowances

The U.S. Armed Forces offer housing, clothing, and food assistance in addition to other benefits.

The amount of the stipend varies depending on location, military rank, and number of dependents.

The most common type of military allowances include:

  • Basic Allowance Housing (BAH)
  • Clothing Allowance
  • CONUS COLA Allowance
  • Dislocation Allowance
  • Family Separation Allowance
  • Family Supplemental Subsistence Allowance
  • Meal Allowance
  • Overseas Cost of Living Allowance
  • Tax Savings Allowance

Military Benefits

Here are some of the many benefits you’ll eventually receive in the U.S. Armed Forces:

  • Dental Insurance
  • Health Insurance
  • Low-Cost Travel
  • Military Pension
  • Tax Exemptions
  • Tuition Reimbursement
  • VA Housing Assistance
  • VA Disability Compensation
  • Veteran Affairs Education & Training


In exploring the theme: What Military Branch Pays the Most, we have noted that the Australian Defense Force, the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF), the British Army, and the US Military pay the most worldwide.

As pertaining to the US Army, the US Air Force pays the most. We have also itemized the different pay, allowances and benefits that accrue to the US Military in this piece. We hope you appreciate the information.

Do well to share this post with others. Thank you.


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