Special and Incentive (S&I) pays provide the Services with flexible additional pays that can be used to address specific manning needs and other force management issues that cannot be efficiently addressed through basic pay increases. Click on Index of S&I Pays for a complete list and additional details of these pays.
Unlike basic pay and allowances, which vary by pay grade and years of service, S&I pays can be used to improve recruiting and retention by increasing compensation in key occupation specialties or critical skill areas. These pays are also used to compensate for onerous or hazardous duty assignments or conditions. In addition, S&I pays can be used to provide incentives for service members to develop certain skills that are important to national security objectives.
Currently, there are over 60 S&I pays authorized in law. For many of these pays, detailed eligibility requirements and precise payment amounts were set in law and could only be changed by Congressional action. When needs or conditions changed, force managers sometimes could not adjust S&I pay eligibility criteria or payment levels fast enough in response to those changing circumstances. So in the 2008, Congress provided for a 10-year phased-in consolidation of S&I pays to eight broad categories allowing more flexibility and opportunity to adjust payment levels and eligibility criteria.