A major general in the Army National Guard is either the adjutant general of a state or the lone major general in the Guard's national leadership. If this individual is a retired military officer, he receives a state salary. If he's not retired, his pay equals that of an active duty officer. This means a paycheck every month that equals or exceeds the lowest salary of a U.S. Army major general on active duty.
The salary of a major general, like that of all military personnel, is established by law. The salary for a major general is at least $9,531 per month, or $114,372 per year, and ranges upward to $184,182, or $15,401 per month. The difference in pay depends on the major general's number of years of service. Although a major general in the National Guard is likely to be the state's adjutant general, that's not always the case. The adjutant general may be a political appointee of the state's governor or chosen by some other means from the state's population.
Because military salaries aren't subject to fluctuations because of location, regional comparisons don't apply. Retired military personnel on the state payroll may receive state pay higher than military pay. According to "USA Today," some state adjutant generals -- the heads of state National Guard agencies -- receive more than the governors of the states for which they work. In some states, the adjutant general isn't required to have a military background. In South Carolina, the state's adjutant general is elected by popular vote. In Vermont, the adjutant general is selected by a vote of the state legislature.
The largest contributing factor for the pay of a major general in the National Guard is the general's total time in service. The longer the general has served, the higher his pay. The major general needn't have spent all of his time in the service as a member of the National Guard -- service on active duty prior to service with the Guard counts. Also, the major general needn't have been a member of the U.S. Army throughout his service. His career may have begun in any other of the U.S. armed forces, as an enlisted man.
The salary for a major general is set by law, along with all other military salaries. Because the rank of lieutenant general -- the rank above major general -- is the highest rank in the Army National Guard, a major general has few prospects for promotion. There is only one lieutenant general in the National Guard, the Director of the Army National Guard. Unless a major general achieves that position, the odds of upward mobility are nonexistent.