Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Army Increasing Enlistment Bonuses

The Army has boosted the maximum bonus ceiling for three-year enlistments to $25,000 for all recruits, and raised the two-year enlistment bonus from $6,000 to $15,000 for more than 45 Army jobs, officials announced. Previously, the maximum bonus limit for a three-year enlistment was $10,000 for most Army jobs, with a $20,000 ceiling for a few very high-demand, undermanned positions, according to Julia Bobick, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Army Recruiting Command in Fort Knox, Ky. She said that raising the limits of the two- and three-year enlistment bonuses does not indicate any desperation on the part of recruiters to fill their rosters. "Periodically [Army personnel officials] do review the incentives they offer, and try to keep them current with what recruits want or expect," she said. The new bonuses are intended to entice potential recruits who "may want shorter enlistment options, but want the bonuses to go with it," Bobick said. That includes "college students who want to serve, but find longer enlistments unappealing."Bobick noted that the two-year enlistment terms were for "two years, plus training." The Army recently extended combat deployments to 15 months for all active-duty soldiers. The Army offers a range of different enlistment bonuses for recruits, based on things like job skills, education, when recruits agree to ship to boot camp, and other conditions. All these bonuses are cumulative, however. Once recruits hit the maximum, they can no longer collect additional sums. Raising the ceiling on the bonuses means that more short-term recruits will be able to collect bonus money from all of the sources they may be eligible to get it from, Bobick said. The Army pays up to $10,000 of any recruiting bonus to soldiers after they graduate from basic combat and advanced individual training. Any remainder comes in annual installments that depend on the length of his or her contract, Bobick said. Many recruits who sign up for two years re-enlist, Bobick added. Until now, college students who had signed on for two years as petroleum supply sergeants (one of the 45 specialties targeted in the new two-year bonus) would receive only $6,000 in bonus cash because of the old limit. With those ceiling raised those individuals would receive $12,000: $6,000 as an education bonus for their college degrees, and the full $6,000 job specialty bonus as well.

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