Skip to comments.Special forces get pay raise -- More money for JTF2 could stem flow to private security firms
Posted on 08/26/2006 7:34:55 AM PDT by Clive
OTTAWA - Special forces units including Canada's Joint Task Force 2 and the British Special Air Service are hiking pay in an effort to stem the flow of skilled personnel to private security firms.
Soldiers with the Ottawa-based JTF2 will see their financial compensation -- which is not technically part of their salary -- boosted through various means this year in recognition of their skills and the hardships they face on the job, such as in Afghanistan.
Several weeks ago, British military leaders approved a 50% pay raise for those serving in the special forces, the Special Air Service and the Special Boat Service, in an effort to stop the flow of personnel leaving for jobs as guns for hire with firms in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The U.S. military brought in a series of pay hikes and bonuses recently to deal with the same issue.
Canadian Forces spokeswoman Commander Denise LaViolette said the increases in financial compensation for JTF2 were not brought in specifically because people were leaving the unit for the private sector.
"Allowances are reviewed on a regular basis for everyone," she said. "It wasn't specific to the issue of going to other groups or leaving DND. It was that we have a system in place, they regularly get reviewed, they were found to be lacking, (so) we increased them."
But she did acknowledge the result of making such compensation competitive with the private sector is that personnel will consider staying with the unit.
A March 13 background document produced by the Department of National Defence on JTF2 allowances notes the money compensates for various hardships, including conditions of work and the risk involved with serving in the unit. The JTF2 allowance has been increased based on qualifying service with annual compensation ranging from $7,488 to $8,964 for general support personnel, from $13,680 to $16,356 for close support personnel and from $21,756 to $25,260 for "assaulters."
The compensation scheme also includes special allowances for certain skills. A special operations assaulter allowance sees annual compensation ranging from $15,000 for those commandos with less than two years' qualifying service as an assaulter to $39,576 for those with 14 years or more qualifying service.
Assaulters are considered the fighting edge of JTF2 and are serving in Afghanistan as well as on duty for counterterrorism missions in Canada.
The compensation is on top of the regular military salary and benefits, which are based on rank.
The Canadian Forces recruitment Web site reports the base monthly pay for a private is $2,421, a corporal earns $4,069, while a sergeant can make $4,675.
Senator Colin Kenny, chairman of the Senate's national security and defence committee, said the allowance improvements are directly related to the fact that JTF2 has been losing highly skilled personnel to the private sector.
He questioned why the military would not acknowledge the obvious.
"If they don't want to call it a retention allowance, fine, but the bottom line is that you have people who like a certain kind of work and that work is available these days in both the public and the private sector," Mr. Kenny said.
Records previously released under the Access to Information Act have shown that JTF2 officers are concerned the unit is losing personnel to private military firms. Former JTF2 members have found work as guns for hire with companies in Africa and Iraq.
In the aftermath of the Iraq war, private security firms were paying about $1,000 a day for highly dangerous jobs for the former special forces members from the United States and Britain. Salaries have dipped somewhat, with some soldiers reporting they are earning about $150,000 a year.
With the new raises in Britain, an SAS trooper's salary will increase from about $50,000 to $80,000, while a sergeant's salary would go from $64,000 to $100,000. The SAS is also offering short-term contracts to entice those eligible to retire to stay on.
Please send me a FReepmail to get on or off this Canada ping list.
$40K CDN is not very much for 14+ years of service. Those guys MUST love their work....
That doesn't seem like enough pay for the supposedly top of the line Canadian troops.
They should be getting more.
The $$39,576 mentioned in the article is an allowance on top of the soldier's standard pay scale for his rank.
Here is the backgrounder mentioned in the article:
Joint Task Force 2 (JTF2) - Allowance Policy Review
BG–06.006 - March 13, 2006
The National Security Policy singled out Special Forces as a critical element in responding to threats and other emergencies both at home and abroad. JTF2 personnel are very familiar with this role and in recent years, they have deployed to the four corners of the world, participating in complex and risky missions throughout the spectrum of conflict. With a few exceptions, most of the Canadian Forces' major operations have borne no resemblance to the traditional peacekeeping model of lightly armed observers supervising a negotiated ceasefire. JTF2 Allowance
Environmental allowances are financial compensation provided to members of the Canadian Forces (CF) whose military duties involve sporadic or continuous exposure to adverse environmental conditions including hazards which are not normally experienced by other members.
The JTF2 allowance is one type of environmental allowance, which compensates for hardships (e.g. c onditions at work, conditions while off-duty, health service support, home communications and stress appraisal) and risks (e.g. loss of life) associated with JTF2 employment.
Missions are now far more complex and dangerous, with our troops frequently deployed to failed and failing states where there is little if any peace to keep. As part of these operations, they have been confronted with new dangers, from rare diseases, to civil disorder, to clashes with irregular forces in urban areas. Members must be operationally effective and ready to deploy at short notice in physically and psychologically challenging environments.
The JTF2 allowance has been increased from two to six steps based on years of qualifying service with annual compensation ranging from $7,488 to $8,964 for general support personnel, from $13,680 to $16,356 for close support personnel and from $21,756 to $25,260 for assaulters.
Special Operations Assaulter Allowance
The Canadian Forces compensation scheme also includes special allowances. One reason for special allowances is to compensate CF members for skills and knowledge requirements that are not used regularly over a career and therefore are not compensated in base pay. The Special Operations Assaulter Allowance is an example of such an allowance. It provides tangible recognition of the skills and knowledge requirements for assaulters not compensated in base pay. The structure contains six steps with annual compensation ranging from $15,000 for those with less than two year’s qualifying service as an assaulter to $39,576 for those with 14 years or more qualifying service.
These allowance improvements, together with the other rewards of military service and recent base pay improvements, make Joint Task Force 2 compensation competitive with the external labour market and with members of other nations’ special forces on a total compensation comparability basis.
Unique Nature of Military Service
The unique nature of military institutions and leadership has enormous significance for the way human resources must be managed in the Canadian Forces (CF). These include fundamental differences in the jobs performed, the conditions under which jobs are performed, the military's need for leadership, the degree of commitment required to place country before self, the absence of collective bargaining and the closed nature of the military system.
A key difference between the military and other professional organizations, however, is that the military cannot go outside to find suitably qualified candidates for positions above the entry level. Other organizations, such as the Public Service or engineering firms, can use pay or other benefits to attract qualified candidates at all levels. But there is no place outside the CF for an individual to learn the military craft and develop the leadership skills needed to induce others to persist under fire in the face of combat losses and to lead thousands of soldiers, sailors or airmen and women into battle, along with the necessary support organizations.
Therefore, personnel are recruited at the bottom of the rank structure and assigned to a career field. In the CF, each individual's career is managed through a series of assignments and training courses designed to develop the necessary military experience, skills and knowledge. Throughout the process, commitment and leadership skills are also developed. Those who excel in these areas are promoted, leaving spaces that must be filled. Other vacancies are created by many who may leave the CF at various stages in their careers for a variety of reasons. All of these vacant positions must be filled from the ranks below.
This creates a complex and dynamic flow structure that must be designed and managed to meet the long-term needs of the CF. Failure to do this can have serious implications. For example, if the rate of attrition at the upper ranks became too high, people might be required to move from the lower ranks before they have had time to develop the necessary skills, placing a heavy load on the recruiting and training systems.
The unique needs of the military imply that pay and other benefits should be designed and applied in a manner that encourages leadership, loyalty and commitment, given career horizons that can span 35 years. They must also support, in a cost-effective way, the Forces' goals for attracting, retaining and motivating the numbers and kinds of people required.
Compensation Approach - Institutional
As is the case in most militaries, the CF has developed policies and practices that emphasize institutional characteristics. This means that pay is based on rank and experience rather than for the specific job being performed. Under the institutional approach, the average value of the work performed by all members of a specific rank level is considered in developing pay scales. Each member of the rank receives the same base rate of pay.
This methodology is quite different from the more common Public Service or private sector method in which individuals are paid the evaluated worth for the specific position they are occupying. In exceptional cases, market factors drive the CF to consider certain military occupations, such as doctors, dentists, lawyers and some high-tech trades, separate from the majority of CF personnel. However, even within these special occupations, the “team concept” (paid by rank, not position) is applied.
Determining the amount of pay at each rank that constitutes fair and equitable compensation is challenging because military tasks and the conditions under which they are performed are unique. The CF has currently a total of 286 military occupations and while some of these cover work similar to civilian occupations (e.g., engineers) others, such as infantry, do not. However, even those occupations that appear similar to those in the public or private sectors - for example, driving a truck - must be carried out in a setting that has no parallel outside the military. Finally, understanding and practicing the complex concepts of command, control and military operations in combat places additional demands on members of the forces.
In this context, for most CF members, broad comparability to the Public Service and additional components that recognize the distinctive conditions of military service has represented a fair basis for determining military compensation and benefits.
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