Marine Corps to cut special duty assignment pay

Marines duck behind a barrier after throwing a grenade at Pohakuloa Training Area, Hawaii, July 20, 2014, during Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) Exercise 2014.


By JON HARPER | STARS AND STRIPES Published: August 5, 2014

WASHINGTON — Bonus pay is being cut for most Marines reporting to special duty assignments.

The rate cuts will affect a wide range of Marines, including recruiters, drill instructors, combat instructors and embassy security guards, according to a Marine Corps news release announcing the changes.

The Special Duty Assignment Pay reductions will go into effect Oct. 1. However, troops who began their assignments before that date will not see their SDAP slashed as long as they remain in their positions.

SDAP provides enlisted servicemembers with extra compensation for taking on duties that are “extremely difficult or carry an unusual degree of responsibility,” according to the Defense Department. The money is intended to attract high-quality troops to fill key billets.

SDAP currently ranges from $75 to $450 per month, according to the following pay scale:

  • Level 1: $75
  • Level 2: $150
  • Level 3: $225
  • Level 4: $300
  • Level 5: $375
  • Level 6: $450

Although not tied to specific jobs, the level of bonus pay will increase for “extremely demanding duties or duties demanding an unusual degree of responsibility,” according to the Marine Corps.

Marines subject to the pay cuts will be placed at lower SDAP levels than their predecessors. However, some servicemembers impacted by the reductions will later be bumped up one SDAP tier after serving 12 months in their new billets, depending on their assignment.

Despite the general decline in funding, every billet that currently offers SDAP will continue to do so at some level, according to the Marine Corps.

The SDAP drops come at a time when the Pentagon is facing large, congressionally mandated budget cuts in the coming years.

“As the Department of Defense and Marine Corps move into a more resource-constrained environment, we must fully evaluate each of our programs by weighing total costs and benefits of the current programs,” 1st Lt. John Krahling said in the press release.

The Marine Corps estimates the the SDAP changes will save $35 million over five years.

This isn’t the first time this year that troops have lost bonus money. In June, DOD decertified many areas of the world where servicemembers previously qualified for Imminent Danger Pay.

Twitter: @JHarperStripes


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