Army enlists cash incentives for recruiters facing higher goals
Stars and Stripes February 16, 2023
Army recruiters may earn up to $1,500 for signing “high-quality” candidates after meeting their quarterly quota, part of an incentive package aimed at shoring up lagging recruitment, according to U.S. Army Recruiting Command.
The Recruiter Production Incentive — Assignment Incentive Pay program allows recruiters who exceed their quarterly quotas to receive extra pay for each additional high-quality recruit they send to basic training, the recruiting command said in a Jan. 19 news release.
Recruit quality is determined by scores on the Armed Forces Qualification Test.
The number of available quality recruits is relatively low, according to the Pentagon, whose data have shown fewer than 25% of all young Americans ages 17 to 24 qualify for military service academically and physically.
The Army was 15,000 soldiers short of its 60,000 recruitment goal in 2022, a number the service raised to 65,000 this year.
Sgt. Maj. of the Army Michael Grinston talked about several recruiting programs during an interview with Stars and Stripes in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday. The Army cannot afford another slow year in recruiting, he said.
The programs include signing bonuses and choice of duty station for recruits, and additional money for recruiters for quality-of-life issues.
The recruiter bonus incentive is another piece. Department of Defense regulations limits incentive pay for service members to $1,500 per month.
“Effective in 2023, the program rewards productivity with a focus on quality while increasing quantity,” Maj. Thomas Piernicky, spokesman for the recruiting command, told Stars and Stripes in an email Thursday.
However, recruiters actively enrolled in the Select Recruiter Extension Program are not eligible for the bonus until their time in that program is over, Piernicky said.
Another recruiting program, the Future Soldier Preparatory Course, aims to raise the number of young Americans physically and academically fit for Army service.
“This course is a great way to increase opportunities for them to serve without sacrificing the quality needed across our force,” Gen. Paul Funk II, the head of Training and Doctrine Command, said in a July press release.
The program started in August at Fort Jackson, S.C., which trains better than half the Army’s new soldiers, according to its website. Recruits have the option every three weeks to leave the program for basic training if they meet Army enlistment standards, or stay in the course up to 90 days, according to the release.
The course has two tracks; one focuses on academics and the other on physical fitness. Depending on their scores on the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, one of the first steps in enlisting, prospective recruits may attend either track or both, according to the release.
“This course gives us an opportunity to unleash unrealized potential by surrounding trainees with experts that they likely would not have access to at home,” Fort Jackson commander Brig. Gen. Patrick Michaelis said in the same release.