About 50,000 US military personnel stationed in the GCC and several other countries will no longer receive special pay for working in so-called danger zones, the Pentagon has announced. In a statement, the government agency said:
“It was determined that the imminent threat of physical harm to U.S. military personnel due to civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism or wartime conditions is significantly reduced in many countries, resulting in the discontinuation of imminent danger pay in those areas.”
The Pentagon added that the decision was not made out of budgetary concerns, though the government will save some $100 million with the cuts.
The reclassification of the Gulf countries appears to be a nod to their stability, amid political strife in the surrounding area. Last month, US Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel toured the area while building support in the region amid tensions with Iran and Syria.
Qatar is home to the largest US air base in the Middle East, and Bahrain hosts the US Fifth Fleet. American soldiers are also based in Kuwait.
Effective June 1, staffers who received imminent danger pay (IDP) of up to $225 a month in the following countries will no longer receive the stipend:
- The nine land areas of East Timor, Haiti, Liberia, Oman, Rwanda, Tajikistan, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan.
- The six land areas and airspace above Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Serbia and Montenegro.
- The four water areas of the Arabian Sea, Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea.
- The water area and air space above the Gulf.
IDP will continue to be paid to military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Egypt.