Attrition: Keeping the Commandoes In Uniform

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January 6, 2006: The U.S. Army Special Forces, seeing hundreds of their highly trained personnel quitting, or retiring, to take high paying security jobs, has reversed the exodus with a program of bonuses, and a lot of pleading by commanders to stick around. There were several different types of Special Forces troops the army was trying to keep. There were the guys just about to hit twenty years service, and thus eligible for retirement. This is when a lot of soldiers get out, still young enough to start a second career. These days, that can mean more money than you ever made in uniform, plus your military pension (half pay). The army now offers up to $150,000 for those who will re-enlist instead of retiring, and 51 percent of those eligible are staying in. This is very important, because Special Forces at that stage of their careers are very, very good at what they do.

For those already in over 25 years, extra pay of $750 a month is given if they stay in. Some 68 percent of this group have remained in service as a result. The Department of Defense has provided $168 million for the first three of these bonuses, and in the first year of operation (just completed), 45 percent has been paid out. Navy and air force commandoes are also eligible for these payments, but over 80 percent of the operators are from the army.

 


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