By Carrie McLeroyMarch 26, 2008
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 26, 2008) -- The Army announced Monday that a test of the Chief of Staff of the Army Special Recruiter Assistance Program will begin in May.
The pilot program differs from the current SRAP in two ways, officials said. Currently Soldiers volunteer for special recruiter assistance in a funded Temporary Duty Status upon their return from either Iraq or Afghanistan. The Chief of Staff of the Army's SRAP pilot will require commands to select and screen candidates. Second, under the CSA-SRAP pilot, Soldiers' spouses are authorized and encouraged to accompany them on invitational travel orders.
SRAP was developed to give qualified Soldiers returning from Operations Iraqi Freedom and Enduring Freedom the opportunity to tell their stories to local communities throughout the U.S., while supporting the Army's recruiting efforts.
"This is a two-for-one opportunity," said Alphonso Green, Army G-1 Enlisted Accessions Branch. "It gives Soldiers time back in their local communities and a chance to provide personal accounts of the successes occurring in theater."
Candidates must be enlisted Soldiers (staff sergeant or below) or officers (captain or below), and must have redeployed back to the U.S. within the past 7-12 months. They must also meet Army height and weight standards and be available to return to a designated recruiting battalion, usually in or near their hometown, to assist with recruiting efforts.
Soldiers may claim reimbursement for travel expenses and per-diem allowance (for themselves) for the period of temporary duty, which ranges from 14 to 30 days. Spouses are authorized travel costs only.
Once a command has selected candidates, its selections will be forwarded to the Recruiting Command, where they will undergo a screening process. Upon acceptance into the program, Soldiers will report to a designated recruiting station or company for duty. They are required to work 40 hours per week for the station or company and use their ability to relate to friends, family and other community members to generate as many recruiting leads and enlistments as possible.
Green said the special duty is their chance to enlighten people about the Army and highlight their experiences. He added that in most cases, the American public, as well as prospective recruits, hold Soldiers in high regard and will listen to what they have to say.
"Who better to tell the Army story than a person who's actually been on the front lines and seen how it operates first-hand'" he asked. "Not all their stories will be great, but they can talk about the good things that are happening in theater."
In addition to recruiting duties, participants will also be asked to discuss the Army with members of the Future Soldier Training Program and speak to organizational groups, the news media and at various recruiting events.
Soldiers on CSA-SRAP duty are eligible for awards and recognition from the local community and recruiting command and can also receive a referral bonus as part of the Referral Bonus Program for providing qualified referrals. If referrals enlist, commence Basic Combat Training and complete and graduate from Advance Individual Training or One-Station-Unit Training, the CSA-SRAP Soldier will receive a $2,000 referral bonus.
Officials said the pilot program is being rolled out to help the Army address a key strategic issue: sustaining the all-volunteer force. They added it also promotes force expansion to meet national security needs, changing threat environments and global commitments in an era of persistent conflict.
By sustaining the current force and growing the Army for the future, officials said Soldiers in the CSA-SRAP will play a key role in eventually reducing the stress on Soldiers and their families caused by things like long and frequent deployments.
"If the pilot goes well, we will take another look at it and request a decision on the program's expansion and extension," Green said.
The existing volunteer-fed SRAP will remain in place, officials said, guided by standing regulations.
Additional information regarding CSA-SRAP is available at www.2k.army.mil.