Army, Defense News
 

'The Army is hiring' says G-1

WASHINGTON (Army News Service) -- "The Army is hiring," said Maj. Gen. Jason T. Evans, director of Military Personnel Management.

"We're looking for and want to retain high-quality young men and women who are resilient, fit, Soldiers of character," he said.

With the drawdown over, there are now "more opportunities for promotion and incentives as we grow the Army. We want Soldiers to take advantage of that," he said.

During the drawdown, if a Soldier was passed over for promotion, it usually meant separation, but now, good Soldiers have a better chance of re-enlisting or extending, he said, adding there are bonuses for a number of critical military occupational specialties to sweeten the deal.

CAUSE OF DRAWDOWN END

On Dec. 23, the president signed the National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017. That provided funding for higher levels of manning and set into motion the end of the drawdown, Evans said.

Costs to retain this size force in FY18 and beyond range between $3.5 and $4.5 billion, which would require additional funding later on.

Prior to Dec. 23, the Army was on a path to have 460,000 active-duty Soldiers by the end of this fiscal year, with a further reduction to 450,000 by the end of FY18. Also by the end of FY18, the Guard would have drawn down to 335,000 and the Reserve to 195,000, McConville said. That would have put the total force at 980,000.

With the drawdown stopped, and even reversed, the Army will need to grow to about 1,018,000, including 476,000 active, 343,000 Guard and 199,000 Reserve by the end of this fiscal year, he said.

Growing the active force from 460,000 to 476,000 will be accomplished by increasing the recruiting mission by 6,000 to 68,500 total, increasing the enlisted retention mission by 9,000 to 17,500 total, and increasing officer retention mission by approximately 1,000, he said.

Also, qualified prior-service Soldiers with needed skills will be welcomed back, he added. All of this increase in personnel across the board needs to happen by Oct. 1.

To help grow the Army, the pool of recruiters will grow and incentive bonuses will be available for recruiters and retention noncommissioned officers.

There's good news for captains who were twice not selected for major who would have been separated. Qualified captains will be allowed to continue to serve, and promotion rates will be less restrictive, Evans said.

Additionally, the school houses are expanding their class sizes to accommodate the influx, he added.

Where will the additional Soldiers be going?

Evans said many will go to undermanned units and some will support the ongoing unit conversion of an infantry brigade combat team to an armored BCT at Fort Stewart, Georgia.

The Army will be seeking additional funds for training and modernization to help balance the manning increase; the triad of what it takes to win wars, according to Army leaders. That will probably require an end to continuing resolutions and a predictable budget that the Army hasn't had in a number of years, Evans pointed out. Also, the Army is awaiting further guidance from the new administration.

MONEY FOR STAYING

Bonuses tend to be in critical MOSs and locations, Evans said.

Military Personnel Message 17-014, "Selective Retention Bonus [SRB] Program," of Jan. 20, spells out the qualifications for bonuses by grade, location and MOS.

For example, a FY17 ETSing infantry sergeant could receive $20,800 for re-enlisting 60 or more months, while a corporal could receive $20,100 for that time period. If that corporal re-enlisted for three years, the amount would be $10,500.

A large number of the bonuses will go to those in combat arms branches such as Special Operations Command and 75th Ranger Regiment. Those with language proficiencies will benefit as well.

Besides the SRB, an active-duty Soldier who extends for at least 12 months will receive a $10,000 extension bonus.