military has been having a hard time keeping junior officers in uniform, after
their current four or more year obligations (for active duty) have expired.
We're talking mostly about captains here, officers who have demonstrated
ability and been promoted to captain (O-3) within five years. Captains have the
hardest job, as they have lots ofresponsibility (usually commanding a hundred or more troops), and spend
a lot of time outside the wire (and exposed to enemy fire). Moreover, captains
tend to be in their late 20s, married and with young kids. Getting a higher
paying civilian job, and spending more time at home is very tempting.
In response, the army is doing
what works (for the military and civilian firms), offering bonuses to captains
it most wants to hold on to for at least another four years. The army, navy and
air force are targeting nearly 20,000 O-3s they want to keep. The different
bonuses offered to each job category are interesting. The highest bonus
($40,000) is being offered to navy O-3s in intelligence. Next ($35,000) come
army captains in aviation, transportation, infantry, artillery, and
intelligence. Note that transportation units run those daily supply convoys,
the ones that take a lot of the roadside bombs. Bonuses of $30,000 are offered
lawyers and those in armor, chemical warfare, military police and ordnance
(handling ammo and repairing weapons). Bonuses of $25,000 are offered captains
in air defense, engineers, finance, signal, quartermaster (handling supplies),
nurses and certain medical service specialties.Lower bonuses are being offered for other specialties.
While these bonuses work, they
do not address the problems many captains have with the way the military
handles leadership and management. It's quite different out in the civilian
world, and many captains don't understand why their are differences. Many
civilians don't either. But most captains recognize that the military, and
particularly a combat zone, create unique environments, where familiar civilian
practices don't work.