Danger pay allowance is authorized for service in foreign areas where there exist conditions of civil insurrection, civil war, terrorism, or wartime conditions that threaten physical harm or imminent danger to the health or well being of an employee. To establish danger pay, a post must submit the danger pay factors form (DS578, see pdf) that enumerates specific conditions that justify danger pay. Allowances specialists who prepare assessments that assign points using a standard methodology then review the forms. A Danger Pay Working Group is responsible for reviewing danger pay factors forms to ascertain whether conditions exist to justify payment of the danger pay allowance.
As of this month, a total of 26 countries with 45 posts are eligible to receive danger pay allowance according to the publicly available data from the State Department’s Office of Allowances. We only have a virtual presence post in Somalia, and embassy operations in Damascus, Tripoli and Sana’a have all been temporarily suspended as of this writing. Note that “other” indicate locations within specific countries not specifically identified, e.g. Herat and Mazar-e-Sharif in Afghanistan. (Learn more, see DSSR 650).
How does State balance danger pay with restrictive mobility policies, fortress embassies and compound living? Could it not be argued that a country like Pakistan is dangerous, but mostly if you are out and about. If the danger is so high, what have so many people from so many agencies on site rather than in DC? Is there a potential for contradiction between 35% danger pay and also a huge investment in defensive physical structures and restrictive mobility? How do we calculate the balance?
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