Saturday, February 17, 2007

Marines offer re-enlistment bonuses of $10,000-$70,000; DOD eyes similar for all troops

ARLINGTON, Va. — Enlisted Marines who re-enlist by Sept. 30 or who have re-enlisted since Oct. 1 will receive an extra $10,000 on top of any other bonuses they qualify for, Corps officials announced Thursday.

The cash is one of three new assignment incentive pays offered by the service, and is designed to help grow the Corps from about 180,000 now to 202,000 by fiscal 2011. This year alone, the Corps has a retention goal of about 16,000 servicemembers, 3,000 more than last year.

Pentagon spokesman Maj. Stewart Upton said Defense Department officials are reviewing similar retention bonuses for all active and reserve troops, in all services, but a final compensation program won’t be released until March at the earliest.

All but the youngest enlisted Marines are eligible for the $10,000 bonus. Any E-3 through E-9 with less than 20 years of service must re-enlist for four years to be eligible, while those with between 20 and 27 years of service must sign on for at least three more years.

The bonus will only be available until Sept. 30, since it is designed to help meet this year’s retention goals, said Capt. Phillip Bonincontri, compensation policy chief for the Corps.

He added that troops that have already re-enlisted this fiscal year — since Oct. 1, 2006 — are eligible to retroactively receive the money.

“We’re trying to encourage these Marines to stay, so we didn’t want to break the faith with those who have already re-enlisted,” he said.

But the retroactive payments are not automatic, he said: Troops must meet with career-retention specialists and fill out paperwork requesting the cash.

Bonincontri said the lump-sum $10,000 will be paid in conjunction with other specialty pays or re-enlistment bonuses. Combined with certain bonuses for hard-to-fill and high-demand posts, that could mean one-time payouts up to $70,000 for some Marines.

Read the rest at Stars and Stripes