COMMENTARY - Army offering special incentives to help achieve critical mission increase

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If you were on the fence about whether to leave the Army or give it a little more time, now is the time to talk to your career counselor about your options. The National Defense Authorization Act for fiscal year 2017 has raised the active Army’s end strength to 426,000. There are numerous special incentives being offered to help achieve this critical mission increase.

The incentives apply to those Soldiers with a FY17 expiration term of service date, or prior to Sept. 30.

Qualifying Soldiers who extend for a minimum of 12 months, but no more than 23 months, will receive a lump sum bonus of $10,000.

Soldiers with an ETS date prior to Sept. 30 who are authorized a selective re-enlistment bonus listed in paragraphs 4 or 5 in MILPER Message Number 17-029 are authorized an additional lump sum kicker of $13,000.

Soldiers with an ETS date prior to Sept. 30 who are not authorized a selective re-enlistment bonus are now authorized to re-enlist for a lump sum tier 17 selective re-enlistment bonus of $10,000.

The 90-day retention window Soldiers normally expect is suspended. Soldiers now have up to their ETS date to re-enlist or extend.

“Now more than ever it is important for Soldiers and (noncommissioned officers) to keep in close contact with their career counselors, even if they have started the Soldier for Life Program,” said Master Sgt. Gary Norris, 8th Military Police Brigade career counselor. “Getting the most up to date information would allow them to make sound decisions for the future of their careers and Families.”

Retention control points exception to policy are automatically given for those FY17 specialist promotable and sergeant promotable serving in a balanced or shortage military occupational speciality—according to current in/out call—and can now stay in for 10 years as a specialist and 15 years for sergeant. Previous retention control points were eight years for specialist and 14 years for sergeant).

There are also incentivized re-enlistment changes. Soldiers serving in an overstrengthed MOS with less than 10 years of total active federal service are authorized re-enlistment choice of duty station movement options. Previously, Soldiers serving in an overstrength MOS only had the option to reclass or re-enlist per the needs of the Army.

Soldiers who are currently on terminal leave and desire to re-enlist/extend may still be eligible.

They must proceed to the closest Army installation with career counselor support in order to take action. The Soldier’s retention action must be processed by a career counselor at the Soldier’s current unit while they are on terminal leave and cannot be processed by a commander at another installation. The servicing career counselor must ensure that once the action is complete, they coordinate with the transition point to have their ETS orders revoked and for Defense Finance and Accounting Services to properly code the Soldier to prevent further pay issues.

The Soldiers in our formations are our Army’s most important resource. For more details, contact your career counselor, or check out www.armyreenlistment.com.