Pay Changes Take Effect for Troops in Combat Zones.

On December 31st, President Obama signed the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act into law. The act included a change in the way service members are paid for hostile fire and imminent danger pay.

Under the former system, if a service member spent just one day in an area qualifying for hostile fire and imminent danger pay, the service member would receive the full $225 for the month. Under the new rules, the pay will be prorated at $7.50 for each day spent in the qualified area. The lone exception to this is if a service member’s on-scene commander verifies that an individual was exposed to hostile fire in which there was a likely possibility of being wounded or killed. In that scenario, the service member would receive the full $225 regardless of how many days were spent in the hostile area. The processes of reporting this to the finance powers-to-be was not made immediately clear but in my opinion, expect that reporting process to have growing pains. The effected troops will see the new prorated pay in their February 15th paycheck.

The Department of Defense believes it will mostly affect transient officers, sailors just passing through and those starting or finishing their tours in the designated hazardous areas. The DoD estimates this will save $30 million annually and as Pentagon spokesman Capt. John Kirby said, “This is a more targeted way of handling that pay.”

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Super Fun Fact: While Afghanistan is the first area to come to mind when thinking of areas that qualify for hostile fire/imminent danger pay, there’s actually 48 other countries on the list including 3 bodies of water. If you’re interested in finding out what countries and puddles, take a read through the DoD Financial Management Regulation 7000.14-R: Volume 7A Military Pay Policy and Procedures for Active Duty and Reserve Pay: Chapter 10; Pages 6-7.  Yep, it’s as excited as it sounds!


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