Strong retention success prompts short shutdown of Army bonuses for reenlisting
Stars and Stripes September 15, 2023
The Army is briefly suspending its bonus program enticing soldiers in certain fields to reenlist, as strong retention results have exhausted the funding for the current fiscal year.
The selective retention bonus program was shut down Tuesday afternoon through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30, according to an Army military personnel message.
Budgets are tight across the Army this year, so leaders elected to suspend the bonuses rather than put other programs at risk, said Sgt. Maj. Tobey Whitney, senior career counselor for the active component.
About 3,700 more soldiers have been retained than at the same time in the previous fiscal year, Whitney said. The bonus program will be reinstated Oct. 1, he said.
“Any soldier who has already committed is still able to reenlist,” Whitney said. “However, if their (specialty) is typically offered a bonus, they can wait two weeks to reenlist.”
For contracts that end before the bonus program resumes, existing policies provide for an extension of 90 days, which will keep those soldiers in the service and allow them to reenlist for a bonus, Whitney said.
The Army establishes a new retention bonus budget every fiscal year, and running out of money is not unprecedented. In previous years, funds were shifted from other programs to allow the service to continue paying bonuses.