NAPLES, Italy — Sailors who volunteer as individual augmentees stand to make a lot more money after the Navy rolls out its Overseas Contingency Operation Support Assignment program this fall.

The new system, announced last week, places all sailors in a temporary duty status once they begin their IA assignment. That means they’ll get all the financial compensation — including per diem, meals, lodging and incidental expenses — that come with temporary duty orders.

Vice Adm. Mark Ferguson, the Navy’s chief of personnel, said the new program would eliminate some of the pay inequities faced by sailors assigned to IA jobs.

Under the current system, if sailors encounter delays in processing once they transfer back to the U.S. for training or uniform issue, lodging and meals come out of their own pocket if they’re on permanent change of station orders.

Sailors now assigned to IA jobs fall under two programs — IA manpower management or Global War On Terrorism Support Assignment. While the first option places individuals in a temporary duty status, the second process assigns augmentees based on permanent change of station orders, according to the Naval Personnel Command.

Now all sailors will be on temporary duty orders, and they’ll have some say in where they are sent for an IA assignment.

“We’re giving the sailors the opportunity to participate in the process, where they can choose where they want to deploy,” said Mike McClellan, a spokesman with the Navy Personnel Command.

Under the new program, sailors remain attached to their current command during the IA assignment, and for an additional 60 days once their assignment is complete. This allows family members to retain command support while their spouse or parent is deployed, and gives sailors extra time to prepare for a permanent change of station once they return from their assignment.

Commands will get a replacement sailor for those selected for the new program, so they don’t fall short on staffing, according to the personnel command.

The program only applies to enlisted sailors. Officers will continue to be sent on IA assignments through the Global War On Terrorism Support Assignment program, which the Navy says is already factored into their career path.

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