A lieutenant colonel is paid according to the Department of Defense's O-5 pay grade, which starts at $5,157.60 per month and increases every two years until 22 years of service. There is also a pay increase after three years. The maximum pay for a lieutenant colonel is $8,762.40 per month.
The Department of Defense assigns salaries across branches through the use of pay grades. There are separate pay grades for enlisted personnel (E-1 to E-9), warrant officers (W-1 to W-5) and officers (O-1 to O-10). For the U.S. Army, Marine Corps and Air Force, a lieutenant colonel earns the O-5 pay grade. A commander in the U.S. Navy and Coast Guard also earns the O-5 pay grade.