Enlisted airmen who toil in some of the Air Force's most difficult jobs will receive $900 to $5,400 less pay annually, beginning next month, as the service tackles financial challenges that affect the ranks, Military.com reported.
Hundreds of service members will get cuts to their Special Duty Assignment Pay, known as SDAP, in fiscal 2023, starting Oct. 1. Those monthly payments, ranging from $75 to $450, were an extra incentive "to compensate enlisted service members who serve in duties which are extremely difficult," according to budget documents.
"The Air Force saw an overall reduction of over $3 million to the FY23 SDAP budget based on fiscal constraints," service spokeswoman Laurel Falls told Military.com. "Due to the reduced funding levels, SDAP rates for 44 functional communities saw reductions."
In the fiscal 2023 budget, the Air Force is asking the federal government for 30,845 airmen to receive the more than $90.2 million worth of Special Duty Assignment Pay, Military.com reported.
It's a lower figure than the last two years, being cut by $1.5 million and around 500 airmen, according to budget documents, Military.com says.
For 2022, the Air Force asked for 31,334 airmen to receive $91.7 million; in 2021, the service asked for 30,967 airmen to receive $90.8 million in Special Duty Assignment Pay, Military.com reported.
The Air Force is facing a $3 million shortfall to the Special Duty Assignment Budget for 2023, according to the service. Air Force Headquarters held a meeting this past November to address the problem prior to crafting the 2023 budget, Falls told Military.com.
To bypass the cuts, lawmakers would need to reinstate the Special Duty Assignment Pay difference in the 2023 budget proposal before it's approved by Congress and signed into law by President Joe Biden. The military's annual budget could be finalized later this year, according to Military.com.
Dozens of Air Force career fields will be affected by the reduction to Special Assignment Duty Pay, Military.com reported.
Air Force Recruiting Service recruiters are expected to lose their $75 in special duty pay each month for fiscal 2023, which would add up to nearly $900 a year in lost wages, reports Military.com.
Losing the pay would affect recruiters' morale as they also have to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, economic inflation, and a shifting workforce, Military.com noted. Maj. Gen. Ed Thomas, the head of the Air Force Recruiting Service, promised recruiters he would try to get the extra pay reinstated in the next fiscal year.
The general "recognizes the unique challenges Air Force recruiters and their families experience, and he is working to have the monthly $75 payment restored in the future," spokesman Randy Martin told Military.com.By Peter Malbin