The Defense Department has released the basic allowance for housing, or BAH rates for 2023. Those rates have risen, on average, by 12.1%, said the Pentagon press secretary during a briefing today.
"The significant increase in average BAH rates is reflective of the unique market conditions experienced across many locations nationwide over the past year," said Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder. "The department is committed to the preservation of a compensation and benefits structure that provides members with an adequate standard of living to sustain a trained, experienced and ready force, now and in the future."
The BAH increase is not unexpected. In a memo dated Sept. 22, 2022, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III outlined an array of efforts to address the needs of married service members and their families, as well as single service members.
"The Department of Defense has a sacred obligation to take care of our service members and families," Austin wrote in the memo. "Doing so is a national security imperative. Our military families provide the strong foundation for our force, and we owe them our full support."
We remain profoundly committed to doing right by our military families, just as our military families remain profoundly committed to their loved ones and to the nation that they all do so much to defend."
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
Part of that effort was a review of the prospective 2023 basic allowance for housing rates to ensure they reflect unusual fluctuations in the housing market. Additionally, in the 28 areas DOD identified as having a more than 20% spike in rental housing costs above BAH, the secretary directed automatic increases in BAH, which took place in October.
According to a DOD release, the October rate increases were temporary and will expire Dec. 31, 2022. Those who had received the temporary rate increases will switch over to the new BAH rates in the new year.
In addition to increased BAH rates to help military families, the Defense Department is also working on other initiatives, including efforts to make military moves less onerous, make securing childcare less difficult, and expand military spouse employment.
"These actions reflect the department's sacred obligation to honor and support our service members and families," Austin said in his memo. "We remain profoundly committed to doing right by our military families, just as our military families remain profoundly committed to their loved ones and to the nation that they all do so much to defend."