Bonuses offered for Army officers who extend

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux
USAREUR Public Affairs

***image1***The word is out. Captains are in high demand, and the Army’s doling out unprecedented retention bonuses to keep them.

If you’re an O-3 who’s completed your initial active-duty service obligation −ADSO in Army-speak − and have less than eight years of active federal service, you may be eligible to receive a $20,000 bonus for extending your service obligation an additional three years.

According to a memorandum from the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense: “Effective immediately, the following Army company-grade commissioned officer basic branches (are designated) as critical: Air Defense Artillery; Adjutant General; Armor; Chemical; Engineer; Field Artillery; Finance; Infantry; Military Intelligence; Military Police; Ordnance; Quartermaster; Signal; Transportation; Medical Service Corps; and Army Nurse. Officers (of specified branches) can execute a written agreement that provides for a three-year service obligation in exchange for a lump sum payment of $20,000.”

“This will most likely be offered to most basic branch captains with a date of rank between Aug. 1, 2005, and Jan. 1, 2007,” said Col. David Ellis, U.S. Army, Europe’s deputy G-1, or chief of personnel. “These officers will be reaching the end of their ADSO and the bonus is one of the incentives that may be offered to get them to stay in.”

The Army has already offered other retention inducements to some junior officers, Ellis said, including expanded graduate and military school opportunities, choice of branch and choice of initial post of assignment.

The bonus announcement comes at a time when many worry that continued deployments may be hurting officer retention.

But, as Ellis pointed out, attrition among captains has been lower since 9/11 than it was in the 1990s.

Aviation and Special Forces officers are not eligible for this bonus, but according to an Army news release an incentive program for those officers will be developed later this year.

This bonus may again be offered to captains during fiscal years 2008 and 2009, subject to congressional reauthorization of the program.

According to Ellis, “this is all part of a very reasonable, well thought-out and researched strategy to maintain the outstanding quality officer corps our Army depends on today.”