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Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS)

BAS is meant to offset costs for a member's meals. This allowance is based in the historic origins of the military in which the government provided room and board (or rations) as part of a member's pay. BAS is not intended to offset the costs of meals for family members.

Because BAS is intended to provide meals for the servicemember, its level is linked to the price of food. Therefore, each year it is adjusted based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index. This is why the increase to BAS will not necessarily be the same percentage as wages are linked to the increase of private sector wages.

Because members are assigned to a variety of situations, some of which either mandate or prevent obtaining meals from a government facility, there are two types of BAS, each based on a differing personal circumstance.

  • Officers:
    Under Title 37 U. S. Code, Section 402, all officers entitled to basic pay are entitled to BAS except when in excess leave status or AWOL more than 24 hours. Officers are not entitled to rations-in-kind and must pay for all meals obtained in a government mess or from an organization drawing field rations while serving on field duty.

  • Enlisted:
    Under Title 37 U. S. Code, Sections 402 and 1009, all enlisted members entitled to basic pay have a continuous entitlement to BAS except:

    • recruits attending basic military training
    • members attending Reserve/Officer Candidate School without continuous prior enlisted service
    • when in an excess leave status
    • when absent without leave
    • when on approved educational leave
  • Rates:

    • The BAS rate will be tied to and rise accordingly with the USDA moderate food plan.
    • The 2011 BAS rate for officers is $223.84