Skip to main content

The Highest Paid People on the Pentagon's Budget: 3 Football Coaches

The head coaches at Army, Navy, and Air Force make the most money in the Pentagon—and it's not all that surprising.
Army coach Rich Ellerson. (PHOTO: WEST POINT/FLICKR)

Army coach Rich Ellerson. (PHOTO: WEST POINT/FLICKR)

According to Chicago Life magazine, yes, that is true. The three highest-paid employees on the Pentagon budget are the head football coaches at Air Force (Troy Calhoun), Navy (Ken Niumatalolo), and Army (Rich Ellerson), which is not totally shocking. Especially after Deadspin released that chart last month, listing the highest-paid public employees in every state, most of which were basketball or football coaches.

Plus, a sizable portion of the Department of Defense's budget is spent on outside contractors, who, though they may be vulnerable to upcoming cuts, tend to make more than government employees:

... the average contract employee costs two to three times as much as the average DOD civilian employee for performing similar work, [and] contract employees comprised 22% of [DOD's] workforce but accounted for 50% of its cost.

Americans love football, and it's an all-devouring, money-making monster. So, with so much of the budget going outside of the government, America's defense system paying a proportionally-large amount of money to football coaches makes a bizarre kind of sense. Even if the three teams only combined for a 16-22 record last season. (If you must, blame Army, who went 2-10 on the year.)