ARLINGTON, Va. — The Army is offering a new lump-sum $2,500 bonus to officers who are accepted for transfer into the Army from other services and agree to serve for three years on active duty.

Congress authorized the bonus as part of the fiscal 2006 defense budget, according to Maj. Patrick Budjenska, a policy integrator in the Army’s personnel department.

The bonus comes at a time when both the Navy and the Air Force are trying to reduce the number of personnel — the Air Force has said it is over strength by 4,000 officers in fiscal 2006 — while the Army is growing by 30,000 soldiers.

“We’re hoping this bonus will assist officers considering interservice transfer to go ahead and apply to the Army,” Budjenska, who is in charge the program, told Stars and Stripes on Friday.

The $2,500 bonus is reserved for active-duty Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps officers, though the Marine Corps is not trying to downsize, Budjenska said.

A bonus program for National Guard and other reserve component officers already offers a $10,000 payment for those who agree to transfer into other services’ drilling units.

The bonus is retroactive to Jan. 6, which is when President Bush signed the 2006 National Defense Authorization Act into law.

There are about 60 officers, most of them Air Force, who qualify for the retroactive bonus, Budjenska said.

The Army has a list of the officers who have $2,500 checks coming to them, and “we’re actively pursuing these guys” to notify them that the money is available and on the way, Budjenska said.

Officers who are interested in switching to the Army must apply for a transfer through their own service, which is then forwarded to the Army’s Secretary of Manpower and Reserve Affairs for approval.

It usually takes about three months for the Army to approve transfer and publish orders, according to the Army’s information Web site on interservice transfers.

The $2,500 bonus is payable when an officer reports to his or her first Army duty station, in conjunction with permanent change of station orders, according to a message announcing program details posted by the Army’s Human Resources Command on its Web site at

An assignment as a student in a military or civilian school doesn’t count as a duty station, according to the message, which was posted earlier this week.

Officers who fail to meet the entire three-year service obligation for reasons other than “death, injury, illness or other impairment not the result of misconduct” will have to pay the Army part of the bonus back, depending on how many days they have served, according to the Army’s message announcing program details.

Officers who would like more information about the bonus or the interservice transfer process can call Budjenska at 703-695-6644, or DSN 225-6644.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now