WASHINGTON, DC – According to reports, the Army is pulling out the proverbial big bucks in an effort to attract new recruits, apparently increasing their maximum enlistment bonus to $50,000 for some of the higher skilled individuals who sign on for six years of enlistment.
Major General Kevin Vereen, who oversees the Army Recruiting Command, spoke with the Associated Press about the difficulties recruiters are facing in attracting new blood – having the cited the likes of school closures and a more competitive job market as being critical areas making the military less appealing.
“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID,” he said, “when the school systems basically shut down. We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”
Major General Vereen hopes that the prospect of attaining a sizeable amount of fast cash will help get more qualified individuals inside of recruiting offices. Until this latest increase, the maximum recruitment bonus was $40,000. The maximum bonus generally relates to some of the more critical MOSs (military occupational speciatly) such as missile defense, special forces, and signal intelligence.
“We’re in a competitive market” Major General Vereen said. “How we incentivize is absolutely essential, and that is absolutely something that we know that is important to trying to get somebody to come and join the military.”
Sergeant 1st Class Mary James has been working as a recruiter since November of 2020 and noted that the ill-effects of the pandemic posed challenges during her first few months functioning as a recruiter. However, Sergeant 1st Class James stated that recruitment efforts have slightly improved since then, and the prospect of higher bonuses will only make things better in said efforts.
“Money isn’t always the first thing that they talk about, but it does come into play,” James said. “It will be exciting to see what the return is on that. You know, I think it does put us in one of the top tier levels of competitive businesses.”
Even though Major General Vereen hopes that a sense of patriotism is what inspires would-be recruit to walk through the door and enlist in the military, he’s cognizant that the current generation weighs the prospect of compensation heavily in their decisions career-wise.
“We want to promote the value of serving your country first,” he said. “But we also know that, this generation and I guess human nature, you know, it’s all about compensation, too.”