Staff Sgt. Noah Burris, a recruiter with the U.S. Army New York City Recruiting Battalion, discusses his experience in the service with Big Apple College Fair attendees on Oct. 8, 2023.

Staff Sgt. Noah Burris, a recruiter with the U.S. Army New York City Recruiting Battalion, discusses his experience in the service with Big Apple College Fair attendees on Oct. 8, 2023. (Gregory Williams/AP)

The Army is offering bonuses and promotions to soldiers willing to quickly fill 800 vacancies in a training course to become recruiters in the next two months.

At first, soldiers were ordered on short notice to report to their new assignment – some by Monday when the November course begins at Fort Knox, Ky. But the Army is now taking a less forceful, less urgent approach by opening the opportunity to other soldiers and offering $5,000 to anyone who ships out to the eight-week Army Recruiting Course by February and graduates, said Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, deputy chief of staff for the Army personnel office.

The general offered an apology to those noncommissioned officers and their families who received the abrupt notice, which would have separated them at the holidays for training.

“We are going to communicate with the soldier. We will communicate with the family, and … we’re going to work through this to ensure that we have the right NCOs at the right time to perform this vital mission in service of our recruiting enterprise and help us transform our recruiting enterprise as we move forward into [fiscal] 2024,” Stitt said Wednesday during a news briefing with reporters.

The Army only “recently discovered” the service had fewer soldiers going into Army Recruiting Command than it did leaving it, he said. In November and December, the training course for new recruiters has 400 opening each month.

Needing more Army recruiters comes at a crucial time for the service, which has missed its enlistment goal by 10,000 new soldiers for the past two years. The service announced last month major changes to Army Recruiting Command, including a full-time recruiting occupational specialty for soldiers who are tasked with finding the next generation of troops.

For sergeants who volunteer to fill these immediate spots in the recruiter training course, the Army will promote them to staff sergeant upon arriving at their first recruiting duty station, said Sgt. Maj. Christopher Stevens, the senior noncommissioned officer for the Army personnel office. If staff sergeants volunteer and get 24 recruits within a year and they all go to basic training, the recruiter is eligible to be promoted to sergeant first class.

The eight-week course is considered a temporary duty assignment, which means the soldier will go through the course, then go back to his or her original post. From there, the soldier and their family, if any, will move together to a three-year assignment in recruiting.

Any current recruiters who volunteer to extend their tour can receive a monthly $1,500 bonus for up to 12 months, Stevens said.

“We want every soldier and family to ensure that they know we’re committed to the quality of life and the opportunities that we do have in the Army,” he said. Twitter: @Rose_Lori

author picture
Rose L. Thayer is based in Austin, Texas, and she has been covering the western region of the continental U.S. for Stars and Stripes since 2018. Before that she was a reporter for Killeen Daily Herald and a freelance journalist for publications including The Alcalde, Texas Highways and the Austin American-Statesman. She is the spouse of an Army veteran and a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism. Her awards include a 2021 Society of Professional Journalists Washington Dateline Award and an Honorable Mention from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for her coverage of crime at Fort Hood.

Sign Up for Daily Headlines

Sign up to receive a daily email of today's top military news stories from Stars and Stripes and top news outlets from around the world.

Sign Up Now