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ARLINGTON, Va. — The National Guard will not expect states to hold new recruits to their contracts if Congress won’t authorize promised bonuses, Army National Guard Director Lt. Gen. Clyde Vaughn said Thursday.

“This is a matter of trust,” Vaughn told reporters during a Pentagon briefing on the Guard’s new Active First recruiting program.

“There’s no adjutant general that’s going to hold [our recruits] responsible for something that we told them that didn’t happen,” Vaughn said. “You can take that any way you like. [The adjutant generals] have got a lot of flexibility to turn around and let them go if they have to renege on a promise.”

Active First targets recruits who would like to do a stint on active duty and then transfer to the National Guard. Participants can receive bonuses of up to $40,000 specifically for signing up for this program, depending on the length of their commitment.

Army Secretary Pete Geren set a goal of 1,600 new recruits to enlist in the program during its first year, fiscal 2008, Vaughn said.

Since the program kicked off in October, 500 recruits have signed up in just three months, he said.

Under Active First, recruits serve in the National Guard until they complete their initial entry training, which includes basic training and job training.

Then they transfer to the active Army for the time period specified in their enlistment contract, either 30, 36 or 48 months.

Once the active-duty period is over, the soldier can either re-enlist on active duty, or serve the remainder of the obligated service in the Army National Guard.

Recruits are paid up to $20,000 when they complete basic training and job training, and as much as $20,000 more when they complete their active-duty period and transfer to the Guard.

New recruits can add up to $20,000 to the Active First tally by enlisting in an undermanned military occupational specialty.

But all of this bonus money is in limbo until Congress sends the president a new fiscal 2008 defense authorization bill.

President Bush vetoed an earlier attempt.


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