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Retention Program

What is it?
The Army Retention Program is a commander's program managed by the Command Senior Career Counselor. The Commander is the Retention Officer for his command and the Command Sergeant Major, as the senior enlisted Soldier in the command, is the Retention NCO. The program requires active involvement, support, and interest at all levels of command, including the senior Noncommissioned Officer (NCO) Corps. The program is designed to retain the right Soldier, with the right skills, at the right location employing the four phases of the Army Career Counseling System to increase retention. The program allows the Army to foster an environment that encourages high quality, career-minded Soldiers to stay with the Army team. The retention program encourages Soldiers to continue their service with the Army whether on active duty or in the Reserve Components (RC).

What has the Army done?
The Active Component (AC) retained 73,913 Soldiers in FY08, finishing the year at 114 percent of its retention mission. The United States Army Reserve (USAR) finished the year achieving 111 percent of its mission, and the Army National Guard (ARNG) finished at 93 percent of its mission.

In FY09, the AC must retain 55,000 Soldiers, the USAR 11,619 Soldiers, and the ARNG 34,593 Soldiers. Thru the end of February 2009, the AC had achieved 152 percent of Glide for 75% of the total FY09 mission, the USAR achieved 125 percent of Glide for 43% of FY09 total mission, and the ARNG achieved 112 of Glide for 46% of FY09 total mission. The Army offers reenlistment options and bonuses as incentives to shape the force. Current incentives are achieving mission success in every category. Included in FY09 are the enhanced Selective Reenlistment Bonuses, offering lump sum flat-rate payments up to $16,000 for Soldiers in select skills, while Soldiers in specialized skills can receive up to $27,000. Soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq, and Kuwait can receive reenlistment bonuses up to $10,500 tax free. The Army continues to offer a Critical Skills Retention Bonus to retirement eligible Soldiers in the Special Operations Forces community up to a maximum of $150,000 for six years, while other select skills are offered up to a maximum of $100,000 for five years. The Army continues to support and encourage AC Soldiers who elect not to reenlist to transfer to the RC upon completion of their active duty tour.

What continued efforts does Army have planned for the future?

Because of the success of the "Grow the Army" plan, the Army adjusted retention objectives from 65,500 to 55,000 in March 2009. The Army intends to continue using careful and deliberate adjustments to bonus levels to target critical skills with bonuses in order to retain the correct Soldiers.

Why is this important to the Army?
A successful retention program is critical to properly manning the Army. Today's Soldiers possess a wealth of skills and combat experience, and retaining these Soldiers is essential to the quality of the force as well as meeting the Army's manpower needs. The Army Retention Program serves as an adaptable morale-enhancing tool which Army leaders use, not only to meet the manpower needs of today's Army, but also to properly man the Army as it continues to transform.

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