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ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army has ended an additional re-enlistment bonus that targeted soldiers whose contracts were set to expire this fiscal year after exceeding its retention goal.

More than 7,900 soldiers who had been slated to leave the Army before Oct. 1 have re-enlisted this fiscal year, beating the Army’s target by more than 700 soldiers, said Master Sgt. Michael Beaupre, retention operations noncommissioned officer in the directorate of military personnel management.

The total number of soldiers eligible for the bonus was not available Tuesday, said Sgt. Maj. Dean Drummond, senior Army career counselor.

In December, the Army announced that soldiers slated to leave active duty by Oct. 1 could be eligible to receive a re-enlistment bonus of up to $18,500.

That bonus was not part of the latest Armywide message outlining the Selective Re-Enlistment Bonus-Enhanced Program.

The message was issued Feb. 13 and became effective Feb. 20.

Asked why soldiers were given only a week’s notice that the bonus was going away, Beaupre said that the Army announced in December that the re-enlistment bonus program could change any time after Feb. 2.

The move comes about two months after the Army reduced the number of Military Occupational Specialties that rate a re-enlistment bonus from 88 to 63. Its budget for retention bonuses this fiscal year has been cut by $90 million, and more cuts are possible.

Meanwhile, the Army is expected to meet its goal of increasing its active-duty end strength to 547,000 this year.

Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. Peter Chiarelli recently said the Army’s recruiting efforts began seeing increased success in December 2007, which he has heard coincided with the economic crisis.

Army officials will look at whether the service needs to offer so many retention bonuses given current economic conditions, Chiarelli told reporters last month.

"They’ve got to go ahead and look at those and tell us whether or not we have to offer the same bonuses today that we’ve offered in the past," he said.

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