At a leadership conference last month, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey suggested adding two new pay grades — E-10 and E-11 — to the enlisted ranks in order to bump up pay for sergeants major who take on high-level jobs.

Army Times asked readers what they thought, and the results are in.

Out of more than 9,800 responses, 38 percent said it was a good idea, and an additional 22 percent said they were open to the idea depending on the senior NCO's job. Meanwhile, 40 percent thought E-9s make enough money as it is.

On the Army Times Facebook page, most of the reader comments came down on the side of leaving the system as it is.

"What happens when a [command sergeant major] takes a staff job at the Pentagon? What happens when a [sergeant major] goes from a staff job to a command role?" Barry Lawson wrote. "If that's the standard then does a [sergeant first class] that works in an S-shop deserve more than a platoon sergeant? And what about the other branches — can't imagine the senior NCOs of the other branches sitting around not wanting the same deal. Just leave it like it is."

Dailey floated the idea during a discussion at his senior leadership development conference in June, where sergeants major and other leaders from around the Army come together to talk about their most pressing issues and get feedback from the Army's top enlisted soldier.

The idea was mentioned in passing discussion, SMA's spokesman confirmed to Army Times, but no wheels have been set in motion.

"It was simply dialogue, and that was the appropriate venue to have that discussion because he was among the Army’s senior enlisted  leaders," Master Sgt. Tyrone Marshall, the spokesman, said.

Adding the new ranks could potentially increase pay for senior-level sergeants major, depending on the requirements for the rank. Officials would have to hammer out whether it should go to command sergeants major for large units like divisions or corps, or if it would also include senior enlisted advisers to top ranking generals.

As it is now, senior enlisted advisers to two-stars and above get $150 in special pay each month, plus another $75 per additional star.

There's no need for additional pay grades, except for maybe making each service's top enlisted service member an E-10, wrote Richard Miller.


I understand that a 'command' E-9 outranks a non-command E-9 within the same service, but there's really no need for one to outrank all non-command

E-9s in all services, with the exception of positional authority within a joint command," he wrote on the Army Times Facebook page.

One reader pointed out that high-level sergeants major tend to make more money than their lower-level counterparts anyway, just based on time in service.

"Keep in mind that although the rank E-9 is the same no matter the position, it takes longer tenure to achieve CSM at [battalion] and brigade level, or post level and division level," Brian Mackie wrote. "With that said, there is a vast difference in E-9 pay with 17 to 19 years verses 24 to 30 years. Just my two cents."

One reader suggested that the pay bump would entice some ambitious NCOs to stay enlisted rather than going officer.

"With the new promotion system, its expected for the senior NCOs to have a degree," Kendall Bailey wrote. "In saying that, it's more beneficial for those NCOs to trade over to the commissioned side for the retirement. The pay gap needs to be shortened for those with degrees to keep educated seniors within the enlisted ranks."

For now, there is no plan in place to move this idea forward, Marshall said.

"[SMA] said as soon as he has something, we will gladly share it," he said.

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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