WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Sept. 13, 2007) - A critical skills-retention bonus of $25,000 or more is available to more than 16,000 regular-Army captains who agree to remain on active duty beyond their initial active-duty service obligations.

The bonus is part of a "menu of incentives" targeting officers willing to remain on active duty an additional three years. The other incentives include graduate school, military schooling, branch or functional area transfer, or post of choice.

"The incentives are aimed at retaining the incredible experience resident in the Army's company-grade officers. This program recognizes how important their skills are as the Army strives to fill increased requirements in key grades and branches," said Col. Paul Aswell, officer division chief in the Directorate of Military Personnel Management, Army G1.

Requirements for captains and majors have increased by nearly 6,000 since 2004, but the officer shortage is not the result of higher attrition, according to Col. Aswell. In fact, company-grade officer retention now is at virtually the same level it was before Sept. 11, 2001.

He explained that the Army is growing to increase capabilities and reduce long-term stress, and needs more mid-grade officers.

"It takes the Army 10 years to 'grow' a major," Col. Aswell said. "To 'grow' the active officer force, we must keep officers who in the past have left active service."

An earlier version of the plan unveiled in May was reviewed by senior leaders. The final plan increases the number of officers eligible for the bonus (up from 7,000), and includes a higher basic bonus (up from $20,000) and targeted higher amounts for officers in critical branches.

The bonus is available to captains with dates of rank of April 1, 2002 or later, based on the original accession branches listed below.

- The basic $25,000 bonus is available to officers who were originally commissioned in air defense, engineer, finance, signal, quartermaster, nurse corps and select medical service medical functional areas.

- Officers commissioned in adjutant general, armor, chemical, military police and ordnance are eligible for a $30,000 critical skills-retention bonus.

- Officers commissioned in aviation, transportation, infantry, field artillery, and military intelligence are eligible for a $35,000 CSRB.

Col. Aswell said he is confident that the new incentives will increase active-duty, company-grade officer-retention rates to historic levels.

"We've done a number of studies, including a very specific study on the value of a bonus to active-duty officers," he said. "We're confident that the incentives we're offering will make a difference to those junior officers we really want to keep on active duty."

Additional CSRB information can be found in Military Personnel message 07-237, available <a href="https://perscomnd04.army.mil/milpermsgs.nsf/ee2966d4436df73a852569a50056935d/6779a15521ac34bc8525735300684f48'OpenDocument"target=_blank>here</a>.

(Lt. Col. Maura Gillen works for the Army Human Resources Command.)

Page last updated Thu September 13th, 2007 at 10:37