WIESBADEN, Germany -- U.S. Army Europe Soldiers stationed in Germany will soon be asked, via e-mail, to participate in the 2015 Cost of Living Allowance Living Pattern Survey.

The survey will be open Oct. 1-31 and is used to track the shopping patterns of uniformed service members and their family members stationed overseas. The data collected will assist in the determination of COLA paid to members in their country of assignment.

The survey is only for service members stationed in Ansbach, Garmisch, Geilenkirchen, Vilseck/Grafenwoehr, Hohenfels, Kalkar, Spangdahlem, Stuttgart, Wiesbaden, Pfullendorf and Kaiserslautern/Ramstein.

The survey asks military members and their families to identify local economy outlets where they normally shop for food items, clothing and other goods and services, such as restaurant meals, hair care products/services, auto repair, etc. It also asks how much of their shopping is done on the local economy, and how much is done at the Commissary, Exchange, or on the internet.

"The more participation we get means a more accurate picture of how members are using the local economy," said Randall Ries, Germany country allowance coordinator.

Every three years this survey is conducted to determine the local economy outlets where military families shop. Then, during the follow-on annual Retail Price Schedule, which is to begin Nov. 1, the prices of 120 goods and services are collected from outlets identified by service members during the Living Pattern Survey. The Defense Travel Management Office compare the prices in Germany to those in the U.S. and then calculates the Cost of Living Index, which established the country's COLA per rate location.

Service members living elsewhere in Europe can expect to take a living pattern survey in the coming months:

- Turkey, January 2016
- United Kingdom, January 2016
- Italy, February 2016
- Greece, April 2016
- Hungary, April 2016
- Portugal, December 2016
- Belgium, May 2017
- Netherlands, May 2017

For more information on the survey, service members and their family members are encouraged to contact their personnel office or Randall Ries at DSN 537-1073. The link to the survey will be available Oct. 1 at: http://www.defensetravel.dod.mil/site/lps-germany.cfm