The Office of Guam’s delegate to Congress James Moylan has confirmed that the Overseas Cost of Living Allowance or OCOLA will be reduced, effective May 15.
According to Hannah D’Avanzo, the director of communications for Moylan’s Office, the Biden administration announced the commencement reduction, which will be in effect in a little over a week.
This is despite reservations made by military leaders on Guam and within the INDOPACOM region, and despite the request for reconsideration submitted by Moylan.
D’Avanzo shared with the Pacific News Center what this means for the island.
“The Department of Defense or DoD has indicated that many service members will experience a pay increase in 2023 along with other benefits, which would help offset the reduction in OCOLA,” said D’Avanzo, during a phone interview with PNC. “Although this may provide some relief for service members, DoD refuses to use its authorities to protect OCOLA compensation for military personnel on Guam. Congressman Moylan remains opposed to the OCOLA reduction in keeping with the requests made by INDOPACOM leaders for DoD to reconsider the forthcoming reduction.”
The OCOLA was first scheduled for a reduction at the start of 2023, however, due to concerns raised by various parties, DOD Secretary Lloyd Austin placed a temporary moratorium on the increase. This moratorium will be lifted, and the reduction will take place May 15, which will impact service members throughout the region, including members of our Air and Army National Guard.
D’Avanzo told PNC that Moylan is deeply concerned about this decision.
“While we recognize that the DoD has their formulas which dictate the OCOLA, and that many service members shall experience salary increments, the reality is that the cost of living for those residing both inside and outside of the fence is very high on Guam,” she said. “The decision can also impact our economy. So our office is finalizing language on an amendment to include the NDAA which will prevent OCOLA reductions in FY 2024 for those residing service members in Guam and he hopes to secure some support in this process.”