Being deployed overseas is a challenge for all servicemembers, but this is especially true for troops who are stationed in particularly dangerous locations. As a result, the military offers some of its members with imminent danger pay, which can sometimes be as high as an extra $225 a month. However, top Department of Defense officials are considering ending the payments for troops serving in certain areas that may no longer pose such a threat, Stars and Stripes reports.
The DOD has been tasked with trimming billions of dollars from its budget over the next several years, and limiting danger pay is seen as good start. Currently, there are nearly 50 countries that qualify for the additional compensation, but officials say some of them are not as dangerous as they once were. Although troops stationed in Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Lebanon and Syria, among others, will still see the extra pay, the practice may end for servicemembers in Jordan, Haiti and some former Soviet republics, The Associated Press notes. Although the cuts might save some money, troops say it may not be worth the cost to morale.
"When you take away any combat pay," a captain from Fort Bragg told The Fayetteville Observer. "You take away financial incentive for the veteran who sacrifices his life and limbs. It's understandable that the Pentagon wants to save money, but there are smarter ways to be fiscally responsible. It impacts everyone forward deployed."
One of many changes
Although there is no final decision yet on who will see an end to danger pay, the discussion is indicative of the growing importance of changing the financial structure of the military. One of the most controversial issues has been the amount of the annual pay raise troops receive. In June, President Barack Obama suggested that active duty troops see a 1 percent pay raise, which would be a bit lower than the 1.8 percent recommended from the House Appropriations Committee's Defense spending bill. Even though it was a small decrease, the lower raise was expected to save considerable amount of money. However, Congress did not take Obama's suggestion and passed a bill shortly after that included the 1.8 percent raise, according to GovernmentExecutive.com