Just Announced: Special Duty Assignment Pay Changes January 2014

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Last week we received notification about changes to the Army Tuition Assistance Program. Earlier today, I received notification that Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP) will similarly be affected:


As the Army moves into a more resource constrained environment, we must fully evaluate each of our compensation programs by weighing total costs and benefits of the current programs. Accordingly, we have decided to add, modify or eliminate certain Special Duty Assignment Pays (SDAP) beginning 1 January 2014.

The Army regards SDAP as a valuable tool to encourage members to volunteer to perform extremely demanding duties or duties demanding an unusual degree of responsibility. The decision to restructure the SDAP program was not taken lightly and we spent significant time evaluating all relevant factors with the understanding that our final decision would affect Soldiers and Families.

In an effort to minimize the impact, we timed our implementation to coincide with the 1 January pay increases. For those Soldiers serving a specialty or billet whose SDAP will be reduced or terminated, we will incrementally phase-in the changes during a 12-month period to afford Soldiers and their Families opportunity to adjust to decreased pay.

In recognition of the responsibilities and expectations inherent to certain leadership positions, we are authorizing SDAP for Ranger-qualified soldiers (E-5 and above) serving as Ranger or Reconnaissance and Surveillance Leader Course instructors and nominative sergeants majors rated by general officers or senior executive service equivalents.

SDAP will remain at its current level for those leaders and Soldiers serving in or supporting certain special operations units, missions or activities. The SDAP level also remains unchanged for our Command Sergeants Majors rated by general officers or senior executive service equivalents.

To balance current leadership priorities with decreased resources, we will reduce the SDAP level for many non-commissioned officers (NCOs) assigned to positions within U.S. Army Recruiting Command and those Soldiers assigned to White House support activities. We are further clarifying the eligibility rules and SDAP levels for Warrior Transition Unit or community based health care organization cadre members. We have also instituted SDAP reductions for accredited Criminal Investigation Division Special Agents, technical escort unit Soldiers, air traffic controllers and foreign attaché NCOs.

After a full review of the SDAP program, we will eliminate SDAP for Soldiers assigned to the Defense Courier Service, On-site Inspection and Defense Threat Reduction Agencies, or as Regular Army career counselors and transition NCOs (PMOS 79S and 79V). We have also terminated SDAP for Soldiers not assigned to a recruiting station or center, or those assigned in selected recruiting functions above battalion level. These eliminations in no way reflect the individual Soldier’s importance the Army, but reflect our changing mission priorities.

Ultimately, to be good stewards of our resources while continuing to support and care for Soldiers and their Families, we have made tough decisions on compensation. Our people are our most important assets, and your leadership and affirmation of their critical contributions to the Army are essential to maintain a highly-functioning, cohesive team.
Army Strong!

Raymond T. Odierno General,                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       38th Chief of Staff United States Army
The Strength of our Nation is our Army, The Strength of our Army is our Soldiers, The Strength of our Soldiers is our Families, This is what makes us Army Strong!”

My current assignment comes with “extremely demanding duties”, I’m often required to travel across a 14 state footprint. This January, I will begin to incrementally lose $37.50 from my NET pay, until SDAP is terminated in full ($450 worth) December 2014…  While this change will hurt, fortunately I figured out the secret to becoming financially independent

Do you receive SDAP? If so what are your thoughts about the change?


Curtez Riggs is a Retired Army Soldier, Entrepreneur, and friend to at least two important people. He is also the founder of the Military Influencer Conference℠, an exciting, dynamic event that brings together hundreds of spouses, community leaders, entrepreneurs, and influencers united by a passion for the military. You can find him online at: Twitter | LinkedIn | Facebook

  1. Can your SDAP be terminated because you are on leave for 20 days?

  2. Amazing,

    You will be surprised after reviewing the ALARACT that has the details of the SDAP reductions.

    See who is still recieving the highest SDAP levels. If anyone is to loose the SDAP, it should be those that are earning the most or getting overpaid already. They should set the standard if this is their idea in the first place.

    Why do I think that this is a good- old- boys system trick?

  3. Even without the SDAP cut, I will still lose money due to my local area inflation. Come on, McD’s got a higher pay increase. Cant wait until 2016!!!

  4. I knew I should’ve joined the NAVY. Navy always beats the Army even in recruiting. Life is not fair

  5. I’m also a detailed recruiter….I’m just so dissapointed in the ARMY right
    now. What happened to family first? Now you want me to work more hours for less pay? Honestly this would never happen under a republican controlled administration and I hate to say that. Then you have the nerve to ask about converting? I too took a pay cut coming to recruiting just to get a slap in the face

  6. Recruiters get to keep their SDAP, although at SDAP 4. I guess a 79V’s 100lb rucksack weighs less than a 79R patrol pack.

  7. I’m a detailed recruiter, just got out to recruiter in May. Even with the $450 SDAP I took a pay cut, coming from Germany and losing COLA. Now i’m in a area, recruiting, that is even more expensive then the Euro based area in Germany I was in and you want to take away the $450. Thank you Army, Thank you Mr. President, Thank you Congress, Thank you Senate. Espcially Thank you Supreme Court for many things as to which I wont get into on this address. I feel sooooooooooo appreciated and valued as a servicemember today. Luckily for you, My love for Country really does outweigh love for money and the fact once I get out of recruiter duty, I go back to the line and actually get to do what I enjoy. Rest of you, go screw yourself and screw professionalism when you screw with my family, I lost anything and everything for you.

  8. Has anyone really thought about the fact that Recruiters are assigned off post in many different area and the cost of living sto some is much great then others? We take E-5-E7 and send them out to an open community to where the cost of living is sky high and they struggle to pay thier rent already and now we want to take the SDAP away from them really, why don’t we start at the White House and work our way downthe ladder. Some of our soldiers have deployed and given so much for our countrty and now we send them to Recruiting and other specail assignments and tell them you are on your own. What happen to taking care of soldiers and thier family, you know know it’s already a shame that we have soldiers on welfare what’s next>????

  9. As a 79V I have had to work 2 to 4 weekends per month for the last four years. This change is very unfortunate. It’s bad enough the amount of time that is taken away from being able to spend it at my kids sporting events but now I can’t even say that I’m earning additional compensation for the sacrifice.

    • I’m right there with you. I had to read this article a couple of times because on first read I was thinking an O10 was complaining about a loosing $450 a month when his base pay is over 20 times that amount. I feel fortunate that next year is an even year and I will be getting a raise to almost match my loss of $300 per month. The net result is next year I’m giving my raise back when the average Joe is getting a meager 1%. Hope they take the end strength objective into consideration as they make it less attractive to pursue retention as a career field.

  10. When moral is good Soldiers are confident, and leaders are capable…when it is not…..”insert the future of our Army here”

    Not very happy…first the 4 day weekend’s turn into 3 days and now a pay cut. Didanyone in Congress or the Senate take a pay cut before they watched Soldier do it? Just a thought

    Comment? Question? What's on your mind?