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Soldiers are seeing little change in their clothing allowances this fiscal year because the contents of their clothing bags are similar to last year.
The fiscal year began Oct. 1.
The slightly higher value of the fiscal 2011 clothing bag for both men and women is attributable to small price changes in a handful of items as the Army switches over from its old dress uniform, which featured green coats and pants/skirts and light green shirts, to the new Army Service Uniform that features dark blue coats and pants/skirts and white shirts.
The minor price changes result in the total value of the clothing bag for women declining by $28.96, and the value of the men's clothing bag rising by $15.57.
Consequently, annual clothing replacement allowances, based on expected wear life of the items, have also changed little, if at all.
For men, the new basic annual replacement allowance is $370.80, up $3.60 from last fiscal year, while the standard annual replacement allowance is $531.80, up $6.20 from last year.
For women, the basic allowance is $410.40, down $10.80, and the standard allowance is $585.87, down $15.33.
The Army provides a set of uniforms and accessories to new enlisted soldiers. Soldiers are then paid annual allowances based on how long it takes each item to wear out, dividing the cost by how many years the item is expected to last. For example, a duffel bag is expected to last 10 years or more, while T-shirts are expected to be replaced after a few months.
The clothing allowance typically is paid on the anniversary of a soldier's entry into the service. At the end of their first year of active duty, enlisted members get half of the yearly allowance because it is assumed they do not need to replace any clothing in their first six months of service.
At the end of their second and third years, enlisted members get the basic clothing allowance to begin replacing the items they were initially issued.
After completing three years of service, enlisted members receive the standard clothing allowance, which is higher than the basic allowance.