After three years of difficult recruiting (and ending up five percent under strength), the U.S. Army National Guard has reversed the trend. In the last five months, the Guard recruited seven percent more troops than it needed. There were several changes made to reverse the recruiting slide. The main change was more money. This includes a program where members of the National Guard can receive bonuses of $2,000 if they successfully get someone to join the National Guard. A short, online, training program, teaches these part-time recruiters assistants (they work with regular recruiters) the techniques and procedures they must use. The recruiters assistant receives $1,000 when their recruit signs up, and another $1,000 when the recruit reports for basic training. There are about 31,000 recruiters assistants now, and eventually there will be about 60,000. The army Guard has to recruit about 60,000 new troops a year to maintain strength of 350,000.
To keep existing troops in, and willing to help recruit, the Department of Defense also established limits for how long, and how often, Guard troops could be called up for active duty. After those 14-18 month (including training and preparation time) activations for Iraq and Afghanistan, the troops were wondering how often this would happen. Another incentive was money. Most members of the Guard make more money on active duty, than they do in their civilian jobs, and the army added some more money and cleared up problems some troops had getting paid on time. More benefits were added, including some that had been sought for a long time (like family health care for troops called to active duty.)