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WASHINGTON The Defense Department announced today changes in imminent danger pay that will go into effect June 1, DOD spokesman Col. Steven Warren told reporters Jan. 3.
This is a process that began (in 2011), he said, and included in-depth threat assessment from the combatant commands. It was made in coordination with the Joint Staff, combatant commands and military services.
Warren said this policy change was not a budget-driven decision, but part of a routine recertification that happens every couple of years its an ongoing process.
According to a DOD news release announcing the recertification, the combatant commands conducted in-depth threat assessments for countries within their areas of responsibility.
Following the review, the release stated, 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.
Periodic recertification of IDP, according to the news release, ensures that imminent danger designations match the actual conditions of designated countries so that the department can provide fair entitlements and benefits. The last recertification was completed in 2007.
The DOD news release noted the following areas would no longer be designated as imminent danger areas for IDP purposes: 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 Persian Gulf.
Of specific note, Warren said, imminent danger pay will remain in effect for the following: Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Jordan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Egypt.
Although 2013 statistics are not currently available, Warren said the year prior, 194,189 personnel received imminent danger pay.
Hagel talks with Russian counterpart
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called his Russian counterpart Jan. 4 to discuss recent events in Russia.
In a statement summarizing the call, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, Pentagon press secretary, said Hagel offered his condolences to Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu for the recent terrorist attacks in Volgograd. He condemned the attacks and said the United States stands with the Russian people against terrorism, Kirby said.
The leaders discussed the need to remain vigilant against these threats and considered additional opportunities to deepen our nations counterterrorism cooperation, Kirby said. Hagel also assured Shoigu that the United States stands ready to provide security assistance to Russia for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, if requested, he added.