Pentagon expands danger and hardship pay zones

The Defense Department has expanded the areas in which service members are eligible for imminent danger pay and hardship duty pay.

Charles Abell, assistant defense secretary for force management policy, sent two memos to the services that add a number of countries and adjacent seas to the imminent danger areas. Imminent danger pay is $150 per month. Service members need only spend one day in an imminent danger area during the month to receive this pay.

In one memo, dated Oct. 31, Abell added Kyrgyzstan, Oman, United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan to the imminent danger areas. He also added the waters of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman. Service members serving on the Arabian Sea--north of 10 degrees north latitude and west of 68 degrees east longitude--will also receive the pay.

Since the memo is dated in October, service members in those areas will receive the pay if they spent any time in those countries during the month.

The memo designates Afghanistan, Pakistan and Tajikistan as hardship duty locations at the monthly rate of $100. It also lowers the hardship duty pay for Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan from $150 per month to $100 per month. Officials explained the rate was dropped because both imminent danger and hardship duty pay have personal security costs built in to them. Service members cannot be compensated twice for personal security reasons.

A separate memo--also dated Oct. 31--designates Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines as imminent danger areas for pay purposes.

Again, service members assigned to these areas will receive the $150 per month payment. The memo also reduces the current $150 per month hardship duty pay location allowance from $150 to $100 per month for service members in Jakarta, Surabaya and East Timor, Indonesia.

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