The Air Force is rolling out a revised incentive pay program for battlefield airmen that allows them to collect the pay even if they've been moved to a staff position or had to seek long-term medical care, preventing them from performing their duties, officials announced Thursday.
"This week, the Air Force received [Defense Department] authorization to initiate a pilot program known as the battlefield airmen skill incentive pay," Air Force spokesman Col. Patrick Ryder told reporters at the Pentagon.
The three-year pilot program will allow the service to study whether the incentive pay helps retain airmen in high-performing, deployable career fields, he said.
"This will replace Jump, Dive, Demolition and Hazardous duty pay with a new incentive pay that continues even when these airmen are serving in staff or instructor positions, or will not be able to operate due to medical reasons," Ryder said.
Prior to the measure, airmen could lose out on the incentive pay if they were removed from combat duty if they, for example, sought long-term medical care.
The program will begin this fall, Ryder said.
In a follow-up email to Military.com, Air Force spokesman Maj. Bryan Lewis said the pay will apply to airmen in seven designated jobs: Combat Control (1C2X1), Pararescue (1T2X1), Tactical Air Control Party (1C4X1), Special Operations Weather (1W0X2), Combat Rescue Officer (13DX), Special Tactics Officer (13CX), and Air Liaison Officer (13LX).
The Defense Department authorized a maximum pay of $615 per month, Ryder said. However, Lewis said that amount may vary, depending on career field.
"We want to ensure that they don't lose their incentive pay" should an airman be reassigned to a staff position or seek medical care, Ryder reiterated.
The Air Force plans to notify airmen eligible for the program as it rolls out this fall, Lewis said.