Act by May 23 – new incentives bundled into retention bonus program

| May 16, 2017 | 0 Comments
Spc. Michael Austin, from Harker Heights, Texas, human intelligence collector, Company C, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, recites the oath of enlistment administered by Cpt. Joseph Cho, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 500th MI Bde., during a reenlistment ceremony aboard the USS Missouri, Ford Island, Hawaii, 8 Nov. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Blaine Courtway, Company A, 205th MI Bn. Reenlistment NCO)

Spc. Michael Austin, from Harker Heights, Texas, human intelligence collector, Company C, 205th Military Intelligence Battalion, 500th MI Brigade, recites the oath of enlistment administered by Capt. Joseph Cho, commander, Headquarters and Headquarters Detachment, 500th MI Bde., during a re-enlistment ceremony aboard the USS Missouri at Ford Island, in November 2016. (Photo by Staff Sgt. Blaine Courtway, Company A, 205th MI Bn. Reenlistment NCO)

David Vergun
Army News Service

WASHINGTON — Active duty Soldiers have a few days for a decision window – until May 23 – to apply for the Selective Retention Bonus Program, which has some new sweeteners added as a way to entice those now on active duty to continue serving.

For some Soldiers, re-enlistment will mean lump-sum bonuses – extra money to spend over the summer months, perhaps. For others, depending on their military occupational specialty, it might be better to wait until the days close, said Sgt. Maj. Mark A. Thompson, who serves as the senior Army career counselor with the Army’s G-1.

Wait or grab it now?

Human Resources Command released Military Personnel Message 17-153, “Selective Retention Bonus Program,” May 10. The new message describes in detail the latest plans to encourage Soldiers to stay in the Army through the use of re-enlistment bonuses.

According to the message, 22 MOSs will be removed from the SRB list, with the 11B infantryman, skill level one, being the largest group affected. Thompson said Soldiers serving in those 22 MOSs should take the bonus offed by the Army now, because after the two-week window closes, they will no longer be qualified to receive it.

Sgt. Santana's reenlistment at the Lincoln Memorial, Washigton D.C.

Sgt. Santana’s re-enlists at the Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C. Famous backdrops are a favorite place to re-enlist.

On the other hand, 35 MOSs have been added to the SRB list. However, those Soldiers will need to wait two weeks in order to take advantage of the bonuses, he said.

The great news is that the $13,000 “kicker” for Soldiers with a fiscal year 2017 expiration of term of service remains for all of the bonuses listed in the MILPER, he said, explaining that a kicker is money in addition to the bonus.

For example, an 11B specialist who goes for the SRB within the days will be eligible for both a Tier 3 bonus of $3,000 for a three-year re-enlistment, as well as a $13,000 kicker. The $16,000 would be delivered in a lump sum, or all at once, to the Soldier, Thompson said.

Thompson urged eligible Soldiers to read the MILPER message to determine what changes affect them and to see their servicing career counselors as well, posthaste.

Other enhancements

Three important and improved developments have been added to the retention plan spelled out in the MILPER, Thompson said.

First, the bonus chart has been formatted in a new way, he said. In past messages, there have been two tables. Now, there is just one. The change, he said, is designed to make it easier for Soldiers to understand what they may or may not be qualified for when it comes to incentives.

Second, there’s a chance for Soldiers to get incentive pay for reclassifying into a critically-short MOS and going to a specific location, he said.

For example, say a Soldier is currently assigned to Fort Hood, Texas, as a 15B aircraft power plant repairer. He or she is airborne qualified but not in an airborne unit. That Soldier can receive incentive money to change MOSs and be assigned to an airborne unit, which most likely would be Fort Bragg, North Carolina, but could also be Fort Carson, Colorado, or a couple of other locations, Thompson said.

That Soldier would get the incentive money once he or she graduates from advanced individual training and is assigned to an airborne position, he said.

Spc. Travis Anderson (bottom), an intelligence analyst with HHC, 311th Sig. Cmd. (T), shows his enthusiasm high above Oahu’s North Shore during his first tandem jump to celebrate his six-year re-enlistment in the Army, July 16. (Photo coutesy of Skydive Hawaii)

Spc. Travis Anderson (bottom), an intelligence analyst with Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 311th Signal Command (Theater), shows his enthusiasm high above Oahu’s North Shore during his first tandem jump to celebrate his six-year re-enlistment in the Army in July of a previous year. (Photo coutesy of Skydive Hawaii)

The third improvement is that all Soldiers who re-enlist will see an increase in the amount of stabilization, Thompson said. Previously, Soldiers re-enlisting for at least three years would get 12 months’ stabilization. Under the new policy, any Soldier with an FY17 ETS can re-enlist and get up to 36 months stabilization, depending on how many years they re-enlist.

Thompson said that Soldiers and families around the force have told the sergeant major of the Army that increased stabilization is something they wanted.

Good news for those not SRB eligible

Active duty Soldiers not eligible for an SRB can still get something from the FY17 ETS fund, Thompson said, listing the amounts:

— $10,000 for a three-year re-enlistment,

— $15,000 for a four-year re-enlistment,

— $20,000 for a five-year re-enlistment,

— $25,000 for a six-year re-enlistment,

— $5,000 for a 12- to 22-month extension, or

— $7,500 for a 23-month extension.

Thompson explained that the ETS fund is something that has never been done before. The genesis of the ETS fund came out of the National Defense Authorization Act of 2017, signed Dec. 27, which mandated an end-strength increase of the active component of the Army to 476,000, which is an increase of 16,000 Soldiers.

The ETS fund is designed to retain more Soldiers to get to that increase by the end of FY17, he said. Increased accessions is the other spigot to get to that number.

Thompson said bonuses, incentives and other details spelled out in the MILPER boil down to shaping a ready force with the right skills in the right locations at the right time.

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Category: Army News Service, News

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