9 Countries Taken Off R&R Leave Eligibility List

Senior Airman Cody Haynes signals a KC-135 Stratotanker at the Transit Center at Manas, Kyrgyzstan, on Nov. 8, 2012. Brett Clashman/U.S. Air Force

Starting in June, service members who deploy to nine countries removed from eligibility for imminent danger pay will no longer receive rest-and-recuperation leave, according to an Air Force news release.

The countries, in the U.S. Central Command theater of operations, include Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

"Due to a normal IDP recertification process completed in December 2013, servicemembers who deploy on 365-day deployments or PCS to these nine countries after June 1 will no longer be eligible for the R&R program," the Air Force release said, citing a Department of Defense letter dated May 6.

Service members whose deployment began before June 1 will retain their R&R leave.

In January, the DOD announced changes to the list of places eligible for imminent danger pay, or IDP, removing some areas and adding others. The nine countries no longer eligible for R&R were decertified for IDP, both of which will take effect June 1.

The decision to remove R&R leave from those countries "has taken place over time as the region has stabilized and countries in the AOR continue to become more and more safe," said Col. Ron Dougherty, U.S. Air Forces Central Command director of manpower, personnel and services.

About 500 airmen in USCENTCOM will be affected by the R&R policy change, the Air Force said.

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