Air Force approves cold-weather location incentive pay for Alaskan service members

  • Published
  • By Staff Sgt. Derek Seifert
  • 673d Air Base Wing Public Affairs

The Department of the Air Force approved assignment incentive pay for Airmen and Guardians who serve in cold-weather locations – including Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska – starting April 1, 2024.

Eligible locations are those expected to experience temperatures below negative 20 degrees Fahrenheit in the U.S.; they include Minot and Grand Forks Air Forces Bases and Cavalier Space Force Station in North Dakota; Clear Space Force Station, Eielson Air Force Base and JBER in Alaska; and Malmstrom Air Force Base in Montana.

“This pay goes a long way to set up our service members and families to not only survive in Alaska, but to thrive here,” said U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. David Nahom, Alaskan NORAD Region, Alaskan Command, and 11th Air Force commander. “Thank you for caring for our members and our families. For the last several years, the Army has offered Soldiers a similar pay for service in Alaska; now service members from both primary branches based in Alaska are covered.”

The intention of the payment is to ease the financial burden of living in cold locations. Purchasing cold-weather essentials, such as extreme cold-weather gear, all-season and snow tires, tire mounts and alignments, engine block heaters and emergency winter car kits will be more affordable for Airmen and their families as they move to these locations.

“Many of our service members are not accustomed to winter conditions, and a majority have no experience with arctic conditions,” said Chief Master Sgt. Heath Tempel, Alaskan NORAD Region and Alaskan Command senior enlisted leader and 11th Air Force command chief master sergeant. “This new pay allows our members and families to set themselves up upon arrival for a safe and enjoyable assignment here in Alaska.”

The incentive pay goes into effect on April 1; however, the first pay date is anticipated for July 1, 2024. Airmen and Guardians who move to one of the qualifying locations between April 1 and July 30 will receive their payment retroactively.

The AIP-CW is based on a five-level matrix. JBER, Eielson AFB and Clear SFS are listed as level 2 locations, meaning eligible Airmen and Guardians will receive $1,000 for those without dependents and $2,000 for those with dependents.

“This is a big win for our Airmen,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jessica Regni, deputy commander for JBER’s 3rd Wing. “This program will help future members of the 3rd Wing better prepare themselves and their families with the clothing and equipment necessary for the for harsh conditions where the Air Force has asked them to serve.”

The decision is an investment in JBER’s Airmen, who are tasked with critical missions in the Arctic and Indo-Pacific regions.

"The Air Force's new Cold Weather Incentive Pay is exactly the investment in our Airmen and families that Team JBER needs as we defend the homeland and project American combat power around the globe,” said U.S. Air Force Col. David Wilson, JBER and 673d Air Base Wing commander. “We will always advocate for our Airmen and families serving in Alaska and I’m very appreciative of the hard work that went into advocating for Team JBER. Every little bit helps us here.”

Airmen and Guardians assigned to cold weather locations may receive a lump sum payment within 90 days of inprocessing and after signing an agreement to stay at the location for the assignment tour length. This payment only applies to those who have a permanent change of station to the qualifying bases after April 1, 2024.