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Pentagon rethinking cut to “danger pay” for troops in Mideast

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(CNN) — The Pentagon is reconsidering whether to end “imminent danger pay” for troops in several regions of the Middle East and Persian Gulf in the wake of increasing violence there in recent weeks, according to a Defense Department official.

The Pentagon had been considering the move, which would save about $120 million each year, the official told CNN. He declined to be identified because there is no final decision on the matter.

In addition, the Pentagon quietly is considering whether to proceed with a planned September U.S. military exercise with Egypt. That exercise would send thousands of U.S. troops to Egypt with aircraft and land-based weapons. For now the exercise remains on the calendar, but a second Pentagon official said it’s certain to be re-examined in light of the recent violence.

The extra pay, about $225 a month — or $7.50 a day — for all troops in the covered areas, has been offered for the last several years.

The Pentagon had been considering cutting the danger pay to save money. Under the initial proposal, danger pay would have been eliminated in countries such as Egypt (except for Sinai), Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Jordan and Saudi Arabia as well as the land, water areas and airspace around the Arabian Gulf, the Gulf of Aden, Gulf of Oman and the Red Sea.

Now that plan is all being rethought especially in light of the rising violence in Egypt, the official said.

Pay for those serving Afghanistan would not be affected.