Morale: More Money to Keep, and Get Rid of, People

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May 25, 2006: While American troops are getting another 2.7 percent raise, to encourage troops to join, and stay in, there is also a money problem in getting some troops to get out. While the army is energetically recruiting, and retaining, people, that's because most of the fighting is being done by soldiers and marines. But the navy and air force are downsizing, and have been given permission to double the "separation bonuses" they give to people who have not yet finished their enlistments (which can be up to six years). An enlistment is a two way contract. The enlistee promises to stay in for a certain length of time, and the military promises to keep them. But for the navy and air force, where automation is increasing, and the number of ships and aircraft shrinks, there is a big rush to shed people as fast as possible. Higher "separation bonuses" are an effective way to do that, but Congress sets the maximum size of those bonuses. Meanwhile, Congress is also allowing all the services to pay their NCOs (sergeants and petty officers) more money, as these people are arguably the most valuable people in uniform. Higher reenlistment bonuses (up to $150,000) are also available to senior NCOs in some job categories (like Special Forces).

 


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