Defense Dept. Drops 20 Areas From 'Danger Pay' List

Friday, 03 Jan 2014 06:58 PM

By Cathy Burke

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The Defense Department said Friday that it has removed 20 areas from locations qualifying for "imminent danger pay," a $100 million cost savings that will affect 50,000 soldiers.

Spokesman Army Col. Steven Warren said the department spent about $500 million on the benefit for 194,189 military personnel in 2012.

The monthly maximum stipend is $225. The change goes into effect June 1.

"The imminent threat of physical harm to U.S. military personnel due to civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions has been significantly reduced in many countries," the Pengagon said in a statement.

"As a result, [imminent danger pay] will be discontinued in those areas."

Among the areas dropped from the list is Bahrain, headquarters to the U.S. Fifth Fleet, plus the waterways of the neighboring Gulf, Arabian Sea and Red Sea, where the Navy regularly deploys its ships.

As of July, 2,820 troops were stationed in Bahrain, the Marine Corps Times reported.

Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, the United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan were also pulled from the list.

But military personnel will still collect the benefit for serving in countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as in Jordan and Turkey, which border Syria, where a civil war is raging.

The pirate-infested sea near Somalia also remains on the list, as does Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where U.S. enemy combatants are imprisoned, as well as Israel, Azerbaijan and the city of Athens, Greece.

“This is a process that began [in 2011],” Warren said, and “included in-depth threat assessment from the combatant commands. It was made in coordination with the Joint Staff, combatant commands and military services.”

He said the change was not budget-driven.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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