By Army News ServiceMay 17, 2007
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, May 17, 2007) - A new Critical Skills Retention Bonus of $20 thousand is available to more than 7,000 regular-Army captains who agree to remain on active duty beyond their initial active-duty service obligation.
The bonus is part of a "menu of incentives" targeting officers nearing completion of their initial active-duty service obligation who are willing to remain on active duty an additional three years. Other incentives include graduate school, military school, transfer of branch or functional area, or post of choice.
The incentives will help the Army retain company-grade officers with valuable experience, said Col. Paul Aswell, chief, Officer Division, Directorate of Military Personnel Management, Army G1. The Army is currently growing to increase capabilities and reduce stress over the long term. This has led to an increased need of nearly six thousand captains and majors since 2004, according to Col. Aswell.
The branches considered critical for the purposes of the CSRB include: air defense, adjutant general, armor, chemical, engineer, field artillery, finance, infantry, military intelligence, military police, ordnance, quartermaster, signal corps and transportation corps. Officers originally commissioned in these branches are eligible for all incentives on the menu. Officers commissioned into the Army nurse corps or medical science corps are also eligible for the CSRB.
Aviation officers are not eligible at this time due to their longer initial ADSOs, but the Army is working to draft an incentive program to offer them by year's end.
Eligible captains must have a date of rank between March 1, 2005, and January 1, 2007. Similar incentives will be offered to captains in other year groups, Col. Aswell said.
The CSRB and other incentives are just part of the Army's efforts at eliminating the officer shortage, Col. Aswell said. The Army has moved up the promotion to major from 11 years to 10, and is considering moving it to the 9th year of service. Col. Aswell noted that earlier promotion points and higher rates reflect the Army's recognition of the higher experience level among today's company grade officers, and the value of their service.
"It takes the Army ten 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." He went on to say he is confident the new incentives will improve retention of company-grade officers on active duty to well-above historic rates.
"We've done a number of studies, including a very specific study last year on the value of a bonus to active-duty officers," said Col. Aswell, "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."