Beginning June 1, airmen deployed to Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan will no longer be eligible for imminent danger pay. In addition, airmen who deploy to those countries after June 1 will not be eligible for the rest and recuperation leave program, also known as R&R, according to a May 7 release. “This recertification 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, director of manpower, personnel, and services at Air Forces Central. With the help of CENTCOM, “we’re exploring all options for a leave program in AFCENT,” he said. Airmen who deployed prior to June 1 are still eligible for the R&R program. Of the 21,000 airmen deployed throughout CENTCOM, only about 500 will be affected by the decision, states the release.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.