Army Increases Special Duty Pay for Five Job Assignments

A  member of the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.
A member of the Old Guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

The Army has authorized Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP) increases for five additional job classifications beginning Jan. 1 for enlisted soldiers above the rank of E-3.

The additional programs eligible for special pay include The Old Guard/Caisson Platoon at Arlington National Cemetery; The Old Guard/Tomb of the Unknown Soldiers; Asymmetric Warfare Group operational advisers, E-7 to E-9; United States Army Pacific Command Northern Warfare Training Center instructors; and the Secretary of Defense Security Team.

Special Duty Assignment Pay begins at SD-1 at $75 per month extra and increases by $75 increments to SD-6 at $450 per month. All of the five newly covered programs will receive SD-3 increases of $225 per month except Northern Warfare Training Center instructors, who will receive SD-2 of $150 per month extra, the Army said.

Army officials stressed that soldiers with questions about the pay changes should speak to the human resources specialists in their unit to see what duty assignments are approved under the new policy.

In other changes, Special Duty Assignment Pay for the Medical Command at Warrior Transition Units will be adjusted downward from SD-3 of $225 per month to SD-2 of $150 per month. One program -- SDAP for Criminal investigation Command/CID Military Occupational Specialty 31D -- will be terminated effective March 1, 2017, and phased out over a 12-month period, the Army said.

Recruiters and drill sergeants, who already receive Special Duty Assignment Pay, will also see pay increases. Levels for drill sergeants will increase from SD-4 of $300 per month to SD-5 of $375 per month "based upon service as a drill sergeant, completion of a certification program and approval by their battalion commander," the Army said.

There are also a number of changes to special duty pay levels for recruiters based upon position: Production Recruiters are initially authorized SD-4 of $300 per month. Upon completion of 12 months of recruiting duty, successful completion of the Advanced Training Program, and their commander's favorable recommendation, they will then be authorized for SD-5 of $375 per month.

Recruiting station commanders assigned to a recruiting center or station; recruiting guidance counselors; recruiting battalion operations noncommissioned officers; recruiting battalion master trainers; and recruiting company first sergeants will be authorized for SD-5 of $375 per month. Recruiter personnel (MOS 79R) assigned to staff positions are authorized for SD-1 pay of $75 per month.

On Nov. 23, the Army announced plans to increase special incentive pay starting Jan. 1 for enlisted soldiers with the rank of E-3 and above who are deemed to have "extremely demanding duties." Additional details were released over the weekend.

In a release, the Army said, "This change in policy translates to an increase to some programs' pay and new eligibility for others."

Special Duty Assignment Pay is described as "a discretionary incentive pay that eligible enlisted soldiers, serving in grades E-3 or higher, may receive based on the characterization of their duty assignment."

Special duty assignments are "those designated to have extremely demanding duties requiring extraordinary effort for satisfactory performance or an unusual degree of responsibility."

The changes were approved by the Army's Special Pay Panel, which meets twice a year. "The goal of the Special Pay Panel was to validate recommendations of challenging positions that require soldiers to consistently perform in an 'above and beyond' manner and then make recommendations concerning levels of incentive payments," said Larry Lock, head of the 2016 Special Pay Panel.

Last June, the Navy approved Special Duty Assignment Pay increases for about 1,700 sailors, including instructors at Afloat Training Groups; naval military instructors at Training Support Center Great Lakes, Illinois; and qualified non-nuclear sailors in carrier reactor departments.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at

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