To successfully recruit the more than 175,000 soldiers per year required to sustain the All-Volunteer Force, the Army continues to offer military pay and army enlistment incentives in exchange for service, allegiance, and commitment. Today's military incentives are designed to attract quality applicants with needed critical and hard-to-fill skills.
Army Enlistment Bonuses
The active component offers an enlistment bonus ranging from $1,000 to $40,000 to non-prior service (NPS) applicants enlisting in areas of skills shortage or for critical training vacancies. Selected prior-service applicants may be eligible for an enlistment bonus depending on the specialty chosen or critical training seat vacancies. Soldiers must successfully complete basic and advanced individual training and arrive at their first duty station before they receive the initial enlistment bonus payment.
The Reserve component offers an enlistment bonus ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. An enlistment bonus of up to $20,000 is offered to NPS applicants enlisting for up to six years in designated units or critical skills. A maximum bonus of $15,000 is offered to prior-service (PS) applicants who enlist for six years. The initial enlistment bonus payment will not exceed $10,000, with subsequent payments made in equal annual amounts until the total bonus amount is paid.
The Army also offers bonuses ranging up to $8,000 for college credit (HIGRAD) and up to $20,000 on the basis of seasonality (Quick-Ship) so as to maintain quality and the appropriate military occupational specialty (MOS) fill. Subject to the $40,000 bonus cap ($20,000 maximum for the reserve component), applicants may receive HIGRAD and Quick-Ship bonuses in addition to the regular enlistment bonus.
How Often Are Army Enlistment Incentives Updated?
At least quarterly, the Army adjusts enlistment bonus amounts to address critical-skill vacancies. The Army has used seasonality bonuses to influence recruits to attend initial entry training during periods of reduced throughput. For example, it offered a $20,000 Quick-Ship seasonality bonus to boost fourth-quarter FY07 accessions for the active component.
What Continued Army Incentives Are Planned?
Starting February 4, 2008, the Army introduced a new incentive plan designed to increase new recruits and encourage more soldiers to re-enlist: the Army Advantage Fund.
The new Army Advantage Fund is specially designed to help the Army compete for high school graduates and recognize soldiers in a time of conflict, by offering $40,000 in bonus money to new recruits, money that must be put toward buying a home or launching a business.
While the maximum enlistment bonus for active Army recruits is $40,000, the exact total will vary based on what job the enlister chooses and the length of the enlistment. Army Reservists can receive $20,000 for five years of service. Lesser cash incentives are being offered for three- and four-year enlistments. Recruits receive their money in installments; after they finish training, report to duty, and complete early portions of their service.
The re-enlistment bonus for active duty soldier would also increase from $60,000 to $90,000.
This new $40,000 bonus is quite a leap up from the $3,000 enlistees received 15 years ago. Prior to this new incentive, the maximum payment allowed to new active duty recruits was $20,000.
The Army Advantage Fund is being tested in Cleveland, Ohio; Montgomery, Alabama; Albany, New York; Seattle, Washington and San Antonio, Texas.
The Army Advantage Fund broadens the array of recruiting incentives to include choices such as a down-payment for home purchase or equity for a small business. In the future, the Army may add other innovative incentive ideas to the Army Advantage Fund portfolio.
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