U.S. Pacific Command
The Cost of Living Allowance (COLA) for active duty military personnel in Hawaii significantly decreased on three out of four islands in Hawaii in 2015. As a result, USPACOM obtained approval from the Defense Travel Management Office (DTMO) to do an out-of-cycle Living Pattern Survey (LPS) to be conducted Feb. 1 to March 1.
COLA is intended to equalize the purchasing power so service members stationed overseas (to include Hawaii) can purchase the same level of goods and services as they could if they were stationed in the continental United States. Thus, the average prices of 120 goods and services in Hawaii will be compared to the average prices of the same items in the continental United States. Service members can have a direct impact on their COLA by participating in a Living Pattern Survey (LPS). This survey captures the collective shopping behavior in an overseas location.
During the last LPS in early 2014 approximately 4,800 out of 49,680 assigned active duty personnel in Hawaii participated in the LPS, and USPACOM has established a significant participation goal and aggressive publicity campaign for the 2016 LPS.
According to Colonel Peter Santa Ana, Director of Manpower and Personnel at HQ USPACOM, “We are getting the word out to all of our military in Hawaii to participate in the online Living Pattern Survey, and we have set a target of 70 percent participation. We will also send weekly status reports to the service components. With everyone’s support and participation, we can ensure the 2016 COLA determination process will be as accurate as possible.”
Service members with family members are encouraged to work together in completing the survey located on the Defense Travel Management Office website.