Troops stationed at the largest Air Force bases in England will see a noticeable increase in their monthly pay, more than $200 extra for some, due to an increase in their cost-of-living allowance, the Defense Department announced Monday.

That means an E-6 based at RAFs Mildenhall or Lakenheath with 10 years’ service and three dependents would pull in about $836 in COLA per month, as opposed to about $628 before the new rate increase.

The announcement, found on the DOD’s Per Diem, Travel and Transportation Allowance Committee Web site, does not say why COLA was increasing for U.K. troops, however a weak dollar seems a likely culprit. Since dropping below $1.50 earlier this year, the British pound has regained some ground, with military bank exchange rates at $1.68 to the pound as of Monday.

The rate change takes effect for the pay period that begins Tuesday.

COLA rates are set to increase in Germany, Italy and Spain as well.

An E-6 based in Germany and Spain will see about $100 extra a month.

In Italy, a servicemember with similar criteria can expect about $50 more in COLA per month, according to the rate changes released Monday.

Troops based overseas receive COLA payments in an effort to give them the same buying power for consumer products as they would have in the States.

A servicemember’s COLA is based on factors such as location, rank, years in service, number of dependents, housing status and the currency exchange rate. COLA rates are generally determined by a study conducted every three years that determines average buying habits in an overseas community, and a yearly market-basket comparison between local prices and similarly priced products in the States.

The allowance is paid to some 250,000 servicemembers at 600 overseas locations, according to the Per Diem committee Web site. The program costs about $1.7 billion annually, meaning the average COLA paid to troops is about $566 a month.

For more information on COLA, visit the committee’s Web site at:

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