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Military pay is based strictly on rank and time of service as directed by the Department of Defense's Under Secretary of Defense, Personnel and Readiness. There are two colonel ranks commonly recognized within today's military -- Lieutenant Colonel and Colonel, also known as a full bird due to the eagle rank insignia. When using a military pay chart, a Lieutenant Colonel will be annotated as an O5 (officer class, 5th highest rank) while a Colonel will be an O6.
Pay and Incentives
As of 2014, Lieutenant Colonels with 16 years of service will receive $7,974 per month while a Colonel with the same amount of service time will receive $8,735. Every officer is entitled to $246.24 per month for subsistence allowances. Additionally, all officers, regardless of rank, may be entitled to housing allowances, family separation allowances and hazardous duty pay, depending on the location of duty and type of job performed. Cost of living allowances may also be authorized, depending on duty location.