Combat controllers and pararescuemen with at least 12 months of experience in their jobs and some of the most highly qualified tactical air control party airmen will have their monthly special duty assignment pay boosted to $450 in fiscal 2017.

According to the 2017 SDAP chart provided by the Air Force, TACPs who are certified as combat mission ready or as joint terminal attack controllers will get the top special pays this year. Airmen in the 1T2XX pararescue, 1C2XX combat control, or 1C4XX TACP career fields in the 724th Special Tactics Group with 12 months or more in experience are also newly eligible for $450 a month. All of those groups of airmen previously received $375 per month.

Airmen in those special tactics career fields are some of the most highly trained and elite in the Air Force — and the service is worried they'll walk out the door. The boost in special pays for them is just the latest step the Air Force has taken to hold on to such airmen. Last September, the service offered some highly experienced pararescue senior noncommissioned officers critical skills retention bonuses of up to $125,000 if they remained on active duty. And some airmen in those three career fields are consistently eligible for some of the highest selective re-enlistment bonuses the Air Force has to offer.

In a Nov. 29 email, Air Force spokesman Zachary Anderson said the annual review of the special pay program, held in March, led to the changes that went into effect Nov. 1. 

Nine career fields — air assault course instructors and pathfinder course instructors at Fort Benning, Georgia; E-4B National Airborne Operations Center support personnel in the 2A9 career field; various special missions aviators in the 1A9 career field; 2W0 munitions systems airmen; certain 6C0X1 contracting specialists, 4N0X1C independent duty technicians with at least six months of experience; 3D1X2 presidential logistics squadron flying communications technicians; and 3G0X1 Air National Guard recruiters — are being added to the special duty assignment pay list this year. Monthly pay for most of those jobs will vary from $150 to $300, although ANG recruiting and retention personnel assigned to the field who must meet a monthly accession goal would get the maximum $450 a month.

In-service recruiting NCOs assigned to the National Guard Bureau Statutory Program will also be considered "goaled" recruiters and will be eligible for that top monthly pay. ANG recruiters who do not have a monthly quota to meet will be considered non-goaled and can get $300 a month in special pay.

But E-4B support personnel in the 2A5X3A and B career fields, who previously received $150 per month, will be dropped from the list. Anderson said that airmen who are losing their pay will be phased out. They will get the full rate until Jan. 31, 2017, and then will get the half rate from Feb. 1 to Oct. 31, 2017.

Three other career fields are getting boosts to their special pay, though they will not reach the top limits. SERE specialists' pay will go up from $150 to $225, and first sergeants serving at the First Sergeant Academy will see their pay go up from $75 a month to $150.

Cyber warfare operations pay is also being adjusted. Previously, airmen in the 1B4X1 cyber Air Force specialty code received $150 if they had six to 12 months of experience, and $225 if they had 12 months or more. But now, 1B451 cyber airmen will get $300 a month, and 1B471 airmen will get $375 a month, with no limitations based on experience.

The 2017 SDAP table can be found here.

Stephen Losey is the air warfare reporter for Defense News. He previously covered leadership and personnel issues at Air Force Times, and the Pentagon, special operations and air warfare at He has traveled to the Middle East to cover U.S. Air Force operations.

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