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Army offers incentive pay in lieu of stop loss

By JEFF SCHOGOL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: June 11, 2009

ARLINGTON, Va. — Now that the Army is getting rid of stop loss, it is offering soldiers money to stay in the service long enough to finish their deployments.

The active-duty Army will begin deploying units without using stop loss beginning on Jan. 1.

Active-duty soldiers who arrive in country after Jan. 1 are eligible to receive as much as $500 for each month beyond their separation date to complete deployments in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, a recent Army-wide message said.

Soldiers who opt to extend between six and nine months before arriving in country are eligible for $500 per month, the message said. Those who extend less than six months before deploying but more than 90 days before they are slated to leave the Army can receive $350 per month.

“We’re trying to get them to act early to give [Human Resources Command] the maximum flexibility for them to identify as far as possible who’s going to stay, who’s going to go,” said Lt. Col. Gerald Conway, acting chief of the enlisted career systems division.

About 930 soldiers in the first two units slated to deploy without stop loss are eligible for the financial incentive, officials said.

All are eligible for the $500 per month right now, but those who want the extra money need to apply sooner rather than later, officials said.

So far only a handful of soldiers have taken the incentive, which became effective on June 4, officials said.

“We anecdotally have heard that’s not enough money — I’m not going to do it for $500 a month; $350 a month, that’s not enough.” Conway said. “Whether or not that’s true, I don’t know until we start seeing what happens.”

By the end of June, he said, the Army should know whether the current incentives are successful.

The Army Reserve and Army National Guard will begin deploying units without using stop loss in August and September respectively. They have similar financial incentives, which have already been announced, Conway said.