Attrition: Sub Specialists Scarce


December6, 2006: The U.S. Navy now has to pay more to keep experienced people with certain skills. Some types of submarine technicians can now get a $75,000 bonus if they reenlist for three years. This came about because, next to the SEAL commandos, the submarine service is the most selective, and requires nearly as much training. These specialists have an easy time getting good civilian jobs if they get out. But the biggest attraction to leaving the navy is no more going to sea for up to six months at a time. This is tough on family life, and most sailors are married. The war on terror has meant more work for U.S. nuclear subs, which are very popular for staking out coastal areas where terrorists are operating.

Another type of sailor, SEAL boat operator, had their reenlistment bonuses upped to $60,000. These guys are also away for long periods at sea, and work a dangerous job (getting SEALs to shore, and then picking them up, no matter what the weather or intensity of enemy fire).

Several other specialties got their re-enlistment bonuses, and some had theirs reduced. Raising and lowering (or eliminating) bonuses is a continuing process. Many of these specialist communities are small, containing only a few hundred people. So if a few more leave over two or three years, there is a shortage, and the higher bonuses are called in to fix the problem.


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