The U.S. Army is offering its largest bonus ever for new recruits with up to $50,000 available to qualified individuals who sign on for a six-year active-duty enlistment.
The total incentive package for a new recruit is based on a combination of incentives offered for the selected career field, individual qualifications, length of the enlistment contract, and the ship date for training.
In the past, enlistment incentives for full-time Soldiers could not exceed $40,000.
The Army is competing for the same talent as the other services as well as the private sector and must have the ability to generate interest in the current employment environment, according to Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, who leads the Fort Knox, Kentucky, based U.S. Army Recruiting Command in its mission to fill fulltime and part-time vacancies in about 150 different career fields in the Regular Army and the Army Reserve.
“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing, who serves as the deputy commanding general for operations under Vereen at USAREC. “We’ve taken a look at the critical (military occupational specialties) we need to fill in order to maintain the training bases, and that is where we place a lot of our emphasis.”
Career-based incentives range from $1,000 up to $40,000 for select occupations the Army needs to fill right now or finds difficult to fill because of the specific qualifications required. These range from some of the most well-known Army careers, like infantry and Special Forces, to occupations like radar repairers, signal support systems specialists and motor transport operators.
Aside from the career-based bonuses, there are “quick ship” bonuses for those who are prepared to head to Basic Combat Training within 90 days. These incentives range from $2,000 to $9,000 — the sooner an individual ships, the higher the dollar amount.
There are additional incentives for signing up for Airborne or Ranger schools. Opting to jump from airplanes can get a recruit $10,000, while becoming Ranger qualified can bring up to $20,000.
As part of the Army Civilian Acquired Skills Program, foreign language skills can be worth up to $40,000 for certain career paths.
It’s a combination of these incentives that will get a new recruit up to the $50,000 maximum. For example, a six-year enlistment as an air and missile defense crewmember starts with $40,000. Right now, that occupation also qualifies for a $9,000 critical accession bonus. If the individual decides to ship to training within the next 90 days, the addition of a quick-ship bonus would get the recruit to the maximum amount.
Here’s another example: An infantry recruit signing a six-year contract could receive a critical skill bonus of $21,000 and an accession bonus of $3,000. That same recruit could also opt for Ranger school and enter the Army with a total of $34,000.
Vereen says that while there has always been a satisfaction that comes from serving, the Army is making the incentives available to ensure the service has a robust force in this fiscal year and beyond.
“We want to promote the value in serving your country, but at the same time, we’re not oblivious to the compensation piece,” he said. In addition to the monetary incentives, Vereen pointed out several other options that may make the Army more attractive in the current employment environment – duty station of choice and two-year enlistments. “We know this generation likes to have the opportunity to make their own decisions, so now they can choose where they want to be assigned after training. We didn’t have that last year,” Vereen said. “We also have opened two-year enlistments for 84 different career fields. Many people are apprehensive about long-term commitments right now, so we think having a shorter option will help give them some time to see if the Army fits their life and goals.”
Individuals can learn more about Army career options and the benefits of military service at www.goarmy.com.