...<Zips on asbestos> Personally, I actually think officer pay is more out of whack than enlisted when you compare what some of these people could make on the outside.
I was going to bring that up in my last post but let it go because it's pretty complicated.
Officers generally (at least in the Army) have two jobs, and during several times in a career three jobs. I'll use myself as an example.
I have to be an expert in the cockpit. This requires hours of flying and studying to maintain not only flying skills but also the knowledge of all the systems in the aircraft. Like commercial pilots, I have to know all the airspace, limits and emergency procedures, instrument rules (of which I almost never execute), etc. Unlike commercial pilots, I have to know and execute these while being shot at, landing in a sand box or other 0 visibility surface, or after being shot at and having multiple emergencies occur simultaneously. Oh yeah, we also never fly one ship at a time so you have to be able to effectively communicate and execute missions with another aircraft who continually operates in your vicinity with the same mission.
As a commander or platoon leader, I also have to be an expert in management and leadership. This also requires a great deal of time. Normally, the management side overtakes the technical side and reduces my ability to maintain my flying abilities to the level they should be at.
Then there are the staff positions, S1 (personnel/admin), S2 (intel), S3 (operations), S4 (logistics). As you progress through the ranks, you can be expected at each rank to hold any of these positions. I've been the logistics officer for three different battalions in three different areas of the world (Korea, Germany/Iraq, and stateside) which all have different intricacies for execution and currently am the logistics officer for my battalion. Because we are short people, I am also holding the intel position (of which I have zero training or knowledge other than what I personally researched myself).
The pay scales are usually compared to the technical side or the management side. There really aren't many jobs that can compare to what an officer is expected to be throughout a career outside of the military.