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Mideast edition, Wednesday, September 19, 2007

ARLINGTON, Va. — Active-duty captains thinking about leaving the Army now have a whole new set of reasons to reconsider: a new program of five incentives, including up to $35,000 in cash, being offered to keep the valuable officers onboard.

But the offers, which the Army announced in a military personnel message Thursday, won’t last long. Some have deadlines as early as Oct. 19, and the last deadline is Dec. 15.

The incentives are limited only to captains with O-3 dates of rank from April 1, 2002, through Nov. 1, 2007, who entered active duty in the following branches: air defense, adjutant general, armor, aviation, chemical engineer, field artillery, finance, infantry, military police, quartermaster, signal and transportation.

Incentives also are available to Nurse Corps officers and select categories of Medical Service Corps officers promoted to captain April 2, 2002, through Nov. 1, 2007.

Reserve officers, warrant officers, members of the special branches and captains who have been primary-zone candidates for promotion to major are not eligible for any of the incentives, the message said.

Captains have five incentives to choose from, with a limit of one option per soldier. Each option has to be “paid for” with a service obligation whose period of time varies, depending on the incentive:

n Cash (Critical Skills Retention Bonus): There are three tiers, depending on branch — $25,000, $30,000 and $35,000. The $35,000 bonus is limited to captains commissioned in military intelligence, infantry, field artillery, aviation and the transportation corps. The service obligation for any bonus is 36 months. The application deadline is Dec. 14.

n Graduate school: The Army will pay for an officer to earn a master’s degree. The service obligation is three days for every day spent in school. The application deadline is Oct. 19.

n Ranger school (requires a 12-month service obligation) and the Defense Language Institute (requires a three-day service obligation for every day of school). The application deadline is Dec. 14 for both schools.

n Switching career branches or functional areas: The service obligation is three years. The application deadline is Nov. 23.

n Extending for assignment to installation of choice: Officers who take this option must have completed 12 months at their current permanent duty stations. If approved, officers will be guaranteed stabilization for at least 24 months. The service obligation is three years. Officers assigned to life-cycle units are not eligible.

For more details on the bonuses, including how to apply, soldiers can review MilPer Message 07-237 at


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