Army increases possible bonuses for recruits to $50,000 as pandemic takes toll

Army recruiters say they understand the importance of incentivizing their recruits
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Army sets deadline for soldiers to get vaccinated against COVID-19
Army sets deadline for soldiers to get vaccinated against COVID-19
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The U.S. Army is offering a maximum enlistment bonus of $50,000 to highly skilled recruits who commit to joining the service for six years, amid the roughly two year pandemic. Previously, the military branch's maximum bonus was $40,000. 

"We're in a competitive market. 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," Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told the Associated Press.

Vereen says the Army has been struggling since the onset of the pandemic to recruit young men and women to serve their country.

"We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down," he said. "We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with face-to-face."

Still, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, more service members than usual have opted to stay in the Army, easing some pressure on recruiters with fewer avenues than normal to access candidates.

Last year, the goal for recruiters was about 57,500  to keep the Army at its full strength of 485,000, and the recruitment goal for this year will be about the same, Vereen also says.

The $50,000 bonus will not be handed out to every recruit who signs on for a six-year commitment.

Rather, the final bonus figure will largely be dictated by when recruits agree to ship out and what their skill sets are.

Working for the Army in such career fields as missile defense, special forces, signals intelligence and fire control often come with a higher bonus, compared to other jobs.

Positions like infantry, intelligence analyst, combat medic specialist, military police and combat engineer come with bonuses that fluctuate more regularly based on the needs of the service.