■ 4.5% increase in next year’s defense budget …’ 59,588.5 billion’
Next year’s defense budget increased by 4.5% to 59,588.5 billion won, and was decided at the Cabinet meeting. This budget bill is scheduled to be submitted to the National Assembly on the 1st of next month.
The government’s keynote for the budget bill is ‘high-intensity sound finance’. In one word, the defense budget has risen even though it is reduced to ‘save and use’.
In fact, while the growth rate of government spending was lowered from 5.1% to 2.8%, the growth rate of the defense budget was expanded from 4.4% to 4.5%.
The Ministry of National Defense explained, “In consideration of the recent severe security situation, the allocation of financial resources was focused on the defense sector in order to strengthen the country’s essential functions.” Then, specifically, where will the budget be spent in the defense sector? ■ ‘7 trillion 156.5 billion’
in upgrading the Korean-style three-axis system
A total of 17,798.6 billion won is spent on improving defense capabilities to respond to North Korea’s nuclear and missile threats, which are being upgraded first.
In particular, the project aims to advance the ‘three- axis system’ such as the kill chain, the Korean Air and Missile Defense System ( KAMD ), and the Massive Punishment and Retaliation ( KMPR ), including the project to additionally import the F-35A, a fifth-generation stealth fighter, and to acquire military reconnaissance satellites. A total of more than 7 trillion won is spent on the ‘425 Project’.
In addition, 24.6 billion won is spent on improving the performance of the F-15K, the main fighter of the Air Force , and 19.2 billion won is spent on improving the performance of the Korean destroyer KDX- II.
The budget for the Korean fighter KF-21 Boramae project was not reflected, but a military official explained, “Since the feasibility study for the mass production project has not been completed, we expect to increase it at the National Assembly stage when the final report of the project feasibility study is released by October.”
■Increased power operation cost ‘sergeant’s monthly salary of 1.65 million won’…improving the treatment of junior officers?
One of the criteria for feeling how much the defense budget has risen is the ‘salary for sickness’. The budget item related to the so-called ‘eating issue’ in the military, including sick pay, is ‘electric power operation cost’. Power operation costs were also reflected at KRW 41,789.9 billion, up 4.2% from the previous year.
In conclusion, sergeants will receive a salary of 1.65 million won next year.
This year’s sergeant’s salary is 1 million won. The ‘Tomorrow Preparation Support Fund’, which helps build assets with an increased KRW 250,000, has increased from KRW 300,000 to KRW 400,000 per month. 4.2 trillion won was invested in soldiers’ labor costs alone. It increased by about 800 billion won from 3.48 trillion won this year. The government has a plan to raise the monthly salary of sergeants to 2.05 million won by 2025.
However, as I focused only on improving the treatment of patients안전놀이터, I naturally had many complaints about the service conditions of the officers, especially the junior officers.
Defense Minister Lee Jong-seop also made every effort to improve the treatment of junior officials. Let’s see how much this commitment is reflected in the actual budget.
To prevent a drop in the application rate for short-term officers and noncommissioned officers, and to acquire excellent personnel, ‘short-term service incentives’ are paid. It is a 33% increase from the previous one, increasing from 9 million won to 12 million won for officers and 7.5 million won to 10 million won for noncommissioned officers. From next year, the budget has been reflected so that this incentive can be paid even when supporting academic officers.
It is said that there are quite a few cases where junior executives worry about housing. To this end, the housing allowance, which was previously paid only to executives with 3 or more years of service who do not receive direct or indirect housing support, will also be paid to executives with less than 3 years of service from next year.
In addition, it was common to pay for meals while training, so the cost of meals in the camp for officers during training was changed from personal burden to partial support from the state. The Ministry of National Defense said, “From next year, we will promote state support for the cost of meals for officers during training, and expand support within the future financial range to create an environment in which soldiers can focus only on training.”
However, there is also a project to improve the treatment of junior executives that has not been reflected at all in the limited financial resources. The Ministry of National Defense requested a budget of 113.5 billion won to establish holiday and night work allowances for junior officers, but the Ministry of Strategy and Finance did not accept it. On weekdays, it was suggested that the cost of duty on duty, which is 10,000 won, should be raised to 30,000 won, but this was also the case. A military official explained, “Because the allowance or duty pay is applicable to all executives, not just elementary-level executives, I know that the financial burden is large and has not been reflected this time.”
In addition, unlike the increase in the salary of the military personnel, the increase in the basic salary of junior officers was not reviewed this time. The Ministry of National Defense plans to review plans to raise the upper limit on overtime pay or pay for working in special locations in the future.
■The budget of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs also increased by 3.3%…”Strengthening the level of compensation for persons of national merit”
As the Yoon Seok-yeol administration emphasizes ‘realization of first-class veterans who are responsible for the end of the state’, the budget of the Ministry of Patriots and Veterans Affairs has also increased. KRW 6,394.8 billion was allocated, up 3.3% from the previous year.
Above all, we decided to strengthen the level of compensation for those of national merit. First of all, the compensation paid to men of national merit will be increased by 5%, and the war honor allowance will be increased by 30,000 won to 420,000 won per month.
It was also decided to gradually ease the standards for the payment of ‘livelihood adjustment allowance’ to low-income veterans. Currently, if the recipient of the allowance is severely disabled, the allowance is paid regardless of the income and property of the person obligated to support.
From next year, we plan to include seniors aged 65 and over, and from 2025, all recipients of livelihood adjustment allowance regardless of the income and property of the person obligated to support.