Soldiers from the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team dismount their Stryker in South Korea. Some soldiers in Korea have new options for their incentive pay. (Army)
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Select categories of soldiers who are authorized tour extensions in South Korea continue to be eligible for assignment incentive pay of $300 per month, except this year they have the option of receiving that pay in a lump sum, rather than in monthly increments.
The assignment incentive pay program applies to officers, warrant officers and enlisted soldiers down to the rank of specialist who are placed on orders to Korea, or who already are serving on the peninsula.
The standard tour lengths for the nearly 20,000 soldiers assigned to Korea are 12 months for those without dependents and 24 months for those accompanied by their families.
AIP allows eligible soldiers to extend their tours in 12-month increments, but no more than twice for a total of 24 months. Soldiers who are assigned to Korea for more than 40 months at the end of their current tour are not eligible for assignment incentive pay.
Under the terms of policies that are expected to remain in effect at least through 2015, the Korea AIP is designed as an incentive that commanders can use to improve the readiness of their units by enticing high-quality soldiers in specific ranks and skill sets to extend their tours.
The approval authority for Korea AIP, except for certain Army Materiel Command units and several direct reporting units, is the commander of Eighth Army, a three-star general who can delegate that authority down to colonel-level commanders.
Approvals not only will be contingent on rank and skill requirements, but command sponsorship allocations and the availability of support infrastructure, such as housing and schools, in the communities where soldiers will be assigned.
Here are key features of the AIP program now in effect:
■ Soldiers serving in command selection list positions, such as battalion and brigade command, are not eligible. Once reassigned from such positions, these officials can receive AIP.
■ Soldiers must be in good standing, and remain in that status throughout the length of their AIP contract.
■ Enlisted soldiers who are serving their first assignment after graduating from initial entry training, and officers on their initial assignment after appointment are not eligible.
■ Soldiers approved for AIP will be paid $300 per month for the period of extension, or a lump sum of $3,600 at the beginning of the 12-month extension period. The lump-sum option is new. Soldiers should indicate if they want monthly payments or the lump sum on their AIP application form.
■ Soldiers are limited to no more than two 12-month extensions.
■ Soldiers approved for AIP may not participate in the Overseas Tour Extension Incentive Program for the same period of service, or be eligible for Consecutive Overseas Tour and In-Place Consecutive Overseas Tour entitlements. OTEIP is military occupational specialty-specific and offers various payment levels and options. If you are a soldier already enrolled in OTEIP, you will have to finish this obligation before enrolling in AIP.
Soldiers who meet the basic eligibility requirements for Korea AIP can apply using DA Form 4187.
Army policy requires that soldiers agree to several stipulations that must be entered on the application form.
For specific details, consult MilPer Message 14-037.