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Will You Be Impacted By the Air Force Pay Cuts?
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Will You Be Impacted By the Air Force Pay Cuts?

We have sad news for Air Force personnel who are currently enjoying their Air Force pay. You could soon see a decline in your pay thanks to new military recruiting initiatives designed to battle the recruitment crisis. See what’s happening and find out if your pay will be affected.

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Air Force Pay Increases for Some, But It’s a Balancing Act

In early September 2022, the Air Force updated eligible selective retention bonus (SRB) careers for their branch. The updates added cyber and technology careers for both the USAF and USSF. This means that more cyber careers are eligible for these reenlistment retention bonuses, as these are the most in-demand, highly skilled positions that need to be filled.

Depending on rank and years of service, some personnel could see SRBs of anywhere between $80,000 and $100,000 over six years, at max. Overall, two more cyber fields were added to the list for retention bonuses, and five cyber fields received a sizable bump on SRB pay.

This comes at a time when Air Force STEM careers are more valuable than ever. With changes being made to many technological systems within the U.S. Armed Forces, including the need for new GPS technology, more software integration, and updated satellite capabilities, it’s no wonder that the DoD is paying more attention to Air Force STEM fields and making them more lucrative for those seeking them out.

With these increases for STEM personnel comes an unfortunate counterweight, however.

Here’s Who’s Affected By the Military Pay Cut

Since military pay is based on years of service and rank, not position, base pay will face no change. However, the base pay is only a portion of the great benefits that many service members have come to not only love but expect.

One of these benefits is Special Duty Assignment Pay (SDAP). Service members who are tasked with jobs that are incredibly difficult or make them bear an unusually large degree of responsibility are eligible for this pay.

Depending on the degree of your Special Duty, you would traditionally get the following monthly rates added to your paycheck:

  • SD-1: $75
  • SD-2: $150
  • SD-3: $225
  • SD-4: $300
  • SD-5: $375
  • SD-6: $450
  • SD-7: $525

Unfortunately, with the rise in incentive pay for cyber fields, those who are receiving SDP may see a cut in their pay of anywhere between $900 and $5,400 per year. Want to know if you’ll be impacted by the Air Force pay cuts? Here are the fields rumored to be at risk based on the FY23 budget estimates from the Air Force:

  • Basic Training Instructors
  • Military Recruiters
  • Special Recon Operators
  • Pararescue Operators

When Will the Pay Cuts Start?

Since FY23 starts on October 1, 2022, the USAF will start enacting the pay cut for military members in the specified fields sooner rather than later. Currently, the Air Force is facing a $3 million deficit for their Special Duty Assignment Budget, which is another huge reason for the wide-scale pay changes on top of recruitment woes.

So, if you’re in an Air Force technology field, or looking to join the field, you may be in luck and could possibly see a bigger salary thanks to the newly updated retention bonuses. However, Air Force pay cuts are officially an unfortunate reality that thousands of Air Force personnel will have to begin living with.

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