Troops Get New Allowance for Arduous Duty
By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Jan. 11, 2001 Some service members in remote locations will receive an extra allowance in their January pay.
Hardship Duty Pay Location will be paid in increments of $50, $100 or $150 per month to troops serving in certain overseas areas where the quality of life is extraordinarily arduous, said Navy Capt. Chris Kopang, DoDs director of military compensation.
The new allowance replaced Certain Places Pay on Jan. 1. CPP was paid to enlisted members in amounts ranging from $8 to $22.50 per month. HDP-L is payable to both officers and enlisted serving in eligible areas.
CPP covered about 160 areas, some of which had Public Health Service members assigned, but no military. Kopang said some CPP areas will not be eligible for HDP-L, but enlisted members in areas not converting to HDP-L will continue to receive CPP allowances for the rest of 2001, he noted.
As a starting point for the new allowance, DoD looked at the list of areas where the State Department pays a hardship differential to its employees. To determine the rate of payment for each area, local commanders filled out Hardship Duty Location Assessment Questionnaires.
The assessment considered about 70 different factors in three major areas, including:
- Physical environment. Kopang explained climate and physical isolation are among the issues in this category. How hard is it for you to fly back to the United States?" he said. "What sort of local and regional transportation are available?
- Living conditions. This includes issues such as pest control, public health and pollution. How close you are to medical facilities? Are you exposed to sanitation or disease problems not experienced here in the United States? Kopang said.
- Personal security. Areas experiencing political violence or a high crime rate can qualify for these reasons.
Questionnaires are filled out by local commanders and reviewed by regional commanders in chief and the Joint Staff. Final determinations are made in the Office of the Secretary of Defense, Kopang explained.
Areas receiving the highest level of $150 per month include Diego Garcia, Johnson Atoll and the polar ice caps. Areas in Korea along the demilitarized zone qualify for $150 per month, while other areas in South Korea are in the $50 per month category, Kopang said in an American Forces Information Service interview.
Areas will be reassessed routinely every two years, but commanders can submit reassessments if their local conditions change.