The Army has renewed a lavish menu of selective re-enlistment bonuses for the next three months, but some of those rates could be reduced early next year as the service braces for likely cuts to its primary retention incentive program.

Soldiers should act fast, the Army’s senior career counselor said.

“If they want to remain soldiers, we can give them a fuller plate of options and bonuses now than what might be available later in the fiscal year,” Sgt. Maj. Dean Drummond said.

“Soldiers in the window need to get to their commanders and career counselors sooner rather than later,” Drummond said. Congress has taken aim at bonus dollars for all of the services.

Bonus rates that took effect Sept. 23 range from $1,300 to $40,000, depending on a soldier’s rank, military occupational specialty and length of service extension.

And, as predicted early this year, re-enlistment options and eligibility windows have been tightened to align with specific, detailed Army requirements. That means soldiers should work closely with their local career counselor to plot the timing and details of their next enlistment.

Under policies now in effect, active-component soldiers are eligible to re-enlist if their term of service, or ETS, expires on or before Sept. 30, 2012.

The eligibility window, which essentially limits re-enlistments for the near-term to two cohorts of soldiers, is designed to generate 45,000 enlistments during the fiscal year that began Oct. 1.

“What we’ve done is established how many soldiers we want to re-enlist in 2011, and then set the eligibility window to support that goal,” Drummond said.

The annual mission represents 15,000 fewer enlistments than in fiscal 2010, when the Army made a big push to temporarily add 22,000 soldiers to its permanent active force of 547,000.

Source: Jim Tice for

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