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New rules will halt imminent danger pay for 44,000

May. 28, 2014 - 02:29PM   |  
Operation Iraqi Freedom
About 44,000 service members will see a pay cut effective June 1 when the Defense Department makes one of its periodic revisions to, and issues new restrictions for, imminent danger pay. (Staff Sgt. Stacy L. Pearsall / Army)
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The world looks like it’s getting safer — at least according to military compensation officials.

About 44,000 service members will see a pay cut effective June 1 when the Defense Department makes one of its periodic revisions to, and issues new restrictions for, imminent danger pay.

Troops serving in 22 specific areas around the globe, including land, sea and air space, will no longer receive the stipend that amounts to $7.50 per day or up to $225 per month.

The change will affect about half of the 95,000 troops who qualified for IDP in May, according to defense officials.

The changes result from a review of the 59 areas designated for IDP, a list that had not changed since 2007. The review concluded that 22 locations should be removed. Those areas include:

■ The water area and air space above the Persian Gulf.

■ The water areas of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and Red Sea.

■ The six land areas and air space above Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro.

■ The nine land areas of Haiti, East Timor, Liberia, Oman, Rwanda, United Arab Emirates, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.

Some might argue that some of those areas are not quite calm and untroubled. However, the changes were thoroughly vetted during a lengthy recertification process that began in 2011, Defense Department officials said.

The process included a threat assessment from each combatant command for countries within their area of responsibility, which found that the “imminent threat of physical harm” to troops in the affected regions has been “significantly reduced.”

DoD estimates the change will save about $108 million annually.

In addition to the pay cut, the policy change will also indirectly affect service members’ eligibility to accrue certain types of leave; policies related to rest and recuperation leave and special leave are linked to time served in areas that qualify for IDP.

Troops in some locations that are losing eligibility for IDP will continue to receive stipends in the form of location-based hardship duty pay, which is provided for troops in many overseas areas where the quality of life is considered to be significantly lower than garrison life at home.

Those include Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Haiti.

The total amount of money disbursed as IDP declined in February 2012 when the Pentagon issued new rules that prorated IDP according to the number of days actually spent in a designated area.

Under the previous rules, troops received the full $225 monthly payment regardless of how many days they spent in a qualifying area.

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