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Special Duty Assignment Pay Drill Sergeant Branch

This means a greater emphasis on getting the right Marines in the right positions, and this year manpower officials are trying something new.

In August, M&RA announced a voluntary submission period for Marines to put in for an SDA by Dec. 15, d etailed in Marine administrative message 415/16.

Eligible Marines who step up will be given assignment preference once the normal selection process begins in January, according to Col. Rudy Janiczek, head of the Enlisted Assignments Branch at M&RA.

"The reason that we did that is we like to see the Marines that want to do these duties come forward with more clarity to us as we look to make these assignments with what they would like to do," he said. "We felt that we needed to be more deliberate about it and give them an opportunity to step forward before we begin the annual selection process in earnest."

Giving Marines the chance for first priority in the billets of choice rather than being "voluntold" will go a long way towards front-loading the future force.

"The fact is if a Marine volunteers for a special duty assignment then he can request what he is interested in. After that period, when we start looking for individuals if we find them qualified, we will start making those assignments and we would rather a Marine go to a place they wanted to go," Brilakis said.

The period runs until Dec. 15, but Marines can still volunteer after that.

"This was just an opportunity that we put out to kind of remind them, 'hey, if you would like, tell us what your desires are and see,' said Sgt. Maj. Grant VanOostrom with M&RA. "It's about requirements and demands and how we can best fit your desires with what the Marine Corps needs."

The soldier standing guard in the driving rain or snow at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier will get a raise beginning Jan. 1.

So will soldiers in the Old Guard's Caisson Platoon, some members of the Asymmetric Warfare Group and the defense secretary's security team.

Also in line for a raise are some drill sergeants and recruiters.

These changes in Special Duty Assignment Pay are all effective Jan. 1, the Army announced Nov. 23.

"These updates to incentive pay allow us to target and recognize those soldiers who simply have difficult assignments," said Larry Lock, chief of the 2016 Special Pay Panel, in a statement.

SDAP is a discretionary incentive pay that eligible enlisted soldiers in the grade of E-3 or higher may receive based on their duty assignment, according to information from the Army.

SDAP pay ranges from $75 a month to $450 a month, depending on a soldier's assignment.

More than 23,000 soldiers received special duty pay in fiscal year 2015, said Lt. Col. Randy Taylor, an Army spokesman.

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