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ARLINGTON, Va. – The Army is cutting back on re-enlistment bonuses.

Effective Dec. 31, the number of Military Occupational Specialties that rate a Selective Reenlistment Bonus is dropping from 88 to 63, Army officials said.

Those specialties that no longer rate a bonus are at or near their manning needs, Army officials said.

The Army has also reduced the overall award levels for soldiers still eligible for bonuses, said Master Sgt. Patrick Johnson, the retention operations noncommissioned officer for the directorate for military personnel management of the deputy chief of staff, Army G-1.

The changes affect soldiers who re-enlist Dec. 31 or after, said Lt. Col. Thomas Erickson,chief of professional branch within Army G-1, who advised soldiers to “re-enlist before the new message takes effect.”

He could not say about how many soldiers will see their re-enlistment bonuses reduced or eliminated.

“I can’t tell you how many people are or are not going to re-enlist until they do it,” Erickson said.

The Army’s decision to cut back on retention bonuses comes as the U.S. economy has gone into a severe recession.

Both Johnson and Erickson said the move was not prompted by the economic downturn.

For this fiscal year, the Army’s budget for retention bonus has been cut by about $90 million, and even more cuts are possible in the future, Johnson said.

“We’re trying to ramp down from the highs that we had in ’05 and ’06,” Erickson said.

The Army has also been very successful retaining soldiers so far this fiscal year: By the end of December, the Army expects to have retained about 28,000 soldiers, or close to half of its goal of 65,500 soldiers this fiscal year, Army officials said.

“It’s an unpleasant subject when you’re talking about what you’ve taken off, and really, at the end of the day, what really is driving the train is we have to live within our budget,” Erickson said.

The Army on Wednesday dropped re-enlistment bonuses for 25 military specialties, saying staffing for those jobs is at or near required levels.13W -- Field Artillery Meteorological Crewmember

14E -- PATRIOT Missile System Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

14T -- PATRIOT Launching Station Enhanced Operator/Maintainer

15F -- Aircraft Electrician

15G -- Aircraft Structural Repairer

15H -- Aircraft Pneudraulics Repairer

15T -- UH-60 Helicopter Repairer

15U -- Medium Helicopter Repairer

15W -- Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator

21J -- General Construction Equulpment Operator

21U -- Topographic Analyst

21W -- Carpentry and Masonry Specialist

25C -- Radio Operator - Maintainer

35T -- AVENGER System Repairer

42A -- Human Resources Specialist

42S -- Special Band Member

44B -- Metal Worker

45B -- Small Arms/Artillery Repairer

68K -- Medical Laboratory Specialist

68R -- Veterinary Food Inspection Specialist

89B -- Ammunition Specialist

92Y -- Unit Supply Specialist

94F -- Special Electronic Devices Repairer

94M -- Radar Repairer

94T -- Avenger System Repairer

Source: U.S. Army

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