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WIESBADEN, Germany — In response to a successful recruiting and retention year, the Army is limiting re-enlistment options for the rest of fiscal 2009.

In a policy message updated last month, the Army said it would restrict soldiers to a two-year re-enlistment option through Sept. 30. The service also will suspend re-enlistment bonuses through the rest of the fiscal year, since most bonuses require a three-year enlistment. If soldiers must re-enlist prior to the new fiscal year they can re-enlist for two-years now and then look again at their options once the new fiscal year begins.

All the options should be back into effect in October when the Army readjusts its budget and retention mission for the new fiscal year, according to Staff Sgt. James Pashia, the 1st Armored Division senior career counselor.

"We’re way over the mission for this fiscal year," said Pashia. "They try to slow everything down because we’re congressionally capped as far as personnel at 547,000 people and we try not to exceed that cap."

Exceptions to the temporary policy do exist. Soldiers scheduled to return from overseas deployments prior to the end of October are entitled to all re-enlistment options. And soldiers who are in overmanned career fields may re-enlist for three or more years in order to be trained for a new job, according to the policy.

The 1st AD met its retention goal before the temporary policy was published, Pashia said. He attributes the high rate of re-enlistments in his division to the economic situation in the States and the increase in educational benefits, including the upcoming Post-9/11 GI Bill.

U.S. Army Europe has also enjoyed high retention rates, with more than 5,200 soldiers re-enlisting this fiscal year, according to Sgt. Maj. David G. Best, USAR-EUR retention sergeant major.

The Navy and Marine Corps also have recently revised their re-enlistment policies due to high retention rates. The Navy is suspending its Selective Reenlistment Bonus program for the remainder of the fiscal year and hundreds of jobs in the Marine Corps have been cut from the fiscal year 2010 selective re-enlistment bonus list.

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