Jordan Table of Contents
Because of their critical role in safeguarding the monarchy, members of the armed forces have always enjoyed privileged status. The few occasions of discord have almost invariably been caused by dissatisfaction with the failure of pay increases to keep up with inflation or the perception that rising living standards in the private sector were outdistancing military compensation. With the more heterogeneous ethnic composition of the armed forces rendering traditional loyalty to the Hashimites less reliable, the king has been personally concerned to ensure adequate, if not generous, financial provision for service personnel. As a consequence, maintaining income levels of existing personnel has remained a priority even if this meant restrictions on the size of the armed forces and a delay in improving the reserve system.
As of 1989, remuneration of the career military was extremely modest by the standards of the United States armed forces. Pay scales were low, although the total compensation and benefits for an enlisted soldier were calculated to be worth three times the basic wage. Conscript pay was far lower than that of career personnel, amounting to only about JD20 (for value of the Jordanian dinar--see Glossary) per month--barely sufficient to cover personal expenses. In addition to salary, military personnel were entitled to family allowances and access to subsidized post exchanges. Full medical services were provided to soldiers, their immediate family, and their parents. Free transportation was available; the military had its own fleet of buses to convey soldiers between their posts and their home communities. Family housing normally was not provided on post, but a system of thirty-year loans on generous terms enabled many officers and NCOs to purchase or build their own homes.
Most officers of the rank of major and above were provided with automobiles for both official and private use, including free fuel and maintenance. Successful completion of training and education courses also resulted in a significant supplement to income. In the case of a senior officer receiving a master's degree after completion of the War College course, the increase could amount to as much as 60 percent of base pay. The minimum period of pensionable service was twenty years. Taking into account all forms of compensation, it was estimated that military personnel enjoyed a standard of living superior to that of civilian government officials in equivalent positions.
Data as of December 1989