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ARLINGTON, Va. — Air Force leaders are considering cutting special-duty assignment pay for thousands of airmen by $75 per month.

Budget constraints are forcing officials to review the special-duty assignment pay, or SDAP, program and reduce the allowance by one level for airmen working in 35 Air Force Specialty Codes, according to a news release issued Friday.

The news release was premature, Capt. Thomas Wenz, an Air Force spokesman, told Stars and Stripes; the cuts “are still under consideration.”

By Wednesday, Air Force leaders had not decided whether to finalize the reductions, Wenz said.

SDAP is given to enlisted members who perform duties designated as extremely difficult or requiring high levels of responsibility. The Defense Department sets six levels of SDAP in $75 increments. The lowest monthly payment is $75; the highest is $450.

In the Air Force, examples of airmen eligible for SDAP include agents in the Office of the Special Investigator, free-fall parachute instructors, and survival, evasion, resistance and escape instructors. About 9,000 airmen receive the payments, Wenz said.

Regardless of the final decision, about one-third of those who receive Air Force SDAP — categories such as special operators and pararescuemen — will not lose any money, he said. That’s because the Defense Department, not the Air Force, makes SDAP mandatory for these individuals.

But if the Air Force makes the SDAP cuts the way the program was announced on Friday, all other airmen now receiving between $150 and $450 per month would drop by one SDAP level.

There will be no cut for the 460 airmen already receiving just $75 per month.

The Air Force’s 2008 budget to Congress earmarked $29.5 million for the SDAP program.

The cuts to the program, if made to all but the minimal level of $75 per month, would save the Air Force $7.4 million, according to the Friday news release.

Lt. Gen. Roger Brady, the Air Force’s deputy chief of staff for personnel, must make a decision about whether to institute the SDAP cuts, and if they should be as broad as first announced, no later than Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year, Wenz acknowledged.

Meanwhile, all airmen who are vulnerable to the cuts have already been notified by their chain of command this may happen, Wenz said.

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