Basic Allowance for Subsistence (BAS) is meant to offset costs for a member’s meals. BAS entitlement continues for service members while hospitalized. This allowance is based in the historic origins of the military in which the military provided room and board (or rations) as part of a member’s pay. This allowance is not intended to offset the costs of meals for family members.
Beginning on January 1 2002, all enlisted members get full BAS, but pay for their meals (including those provided by the government). This is the culmination of the BAS Reform transition period.
(including commissioned officers, warrant officers and aviation cadets)
(almost everyone who has completed basic training)
Because BAS is intended to provide meals for the service member, its level is linked to the price of food. Therefore, each year it is adjusted based upon the increase of the price of food as measured by the USDA food cost index. This is why the increase to BAS will not necessarily be the same percentage as that applied to the increase in the pay table, as annual pay raises are linked to the increase of private sector wages.
The current 2012 monthly rates for BAS are $348.44 for enlisted, and $239.96 for officers. Military treatment facilities provide meals at no cost to members of the Armed Forces receiving inpatient or outpatient services for an injury, illness, or disease incurred in a combat zone.