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Do You Agree With the Military's New Signing Bonuses?

Do You Agree With the Military's New Signing Bonuses?

Yesterday Slate ran a piece that caught my attention about what they called the "creeping monetization" of the US military. In an effort to attract 65,000 new recruits, the military is offering a new, $40,000 signing bonus. In other words, money talks. The bonus sounds great, but some worry it could upset the current structure.

The piece calls attention to these three concerns:

  • The bonus is likely to attract, or produce — short timers. It is handed over only after recruits finish their service, effectively becoming an incentive not to re-enlist for a second term.
  • The new plan stands to work against another set of incentives in place to retain junior officers, many of whom are leaving the service. The current offer is a $30,000 bonus for captains who re-enlist. Some have found it alluring, but now they're likely to resent that the Army's giving recruits even more.
  • While an all-volunteer force must be paid well, putting so much emphasis on cash bonuses could draw people whose primary aim is making money — and who aren't talented enough to make the same kind of money in the civilian world.

Do you think either of these possibilities is harmful: the chance that a lot of young men and women who previously had no interest in the Army sign up, or that, despite the lure of the new bonuses, not enough of them do? Do you agree with the new plan?


Join The Conversation
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 9 years
I have no problem with this.
CollegeGirl CollegeGirl 9 years
I have no problems with bonuses. In my opinion, we don't pay our military enough. I am so thankful that they are willing to go out there and do what they do. They deserve a lot more praise and recognition than they generally receive from the public.
sarasonne sarasonne 9 years
Not enough citizens are signing up to join and our government/military doesn't understand why, so now they offer this. Money does talk, but don't they understand why people don't want to sign up these days?? DUH! Something needs to change.
d9rlcb d9rlcb 9 years
I think that is kind of a myth on some levels. Loads of people join everyday and their bonuses are tiny compared to that and lots of people recieve none. It's not like they are handing 40,000 to everyone who walks through the door. I think military members deserve it though...even if they only serve one term. You seem your holidays, nights, weekends away from your family and friends for four years and tell me they don't deserve it. you know?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
raciccarone - that's exactly what I was wondering when I said legal mumbo jumbo. Do they (or their survivors) get the bonus if they die in the in of duty before completing their commitment has ended? What if they are seriously injured in the line of duty and can no longer be active duty - will they still get the bonus? Or are they gonna make it like some videogame - if you can survive with all of your Mario-lives and without suffering too much damage and reach the castle rescue the princess then you get the heavily taxed signing bonus in small checks over the next 50 years.
raciccarone raciccarone 9 years
Do they know they won't get the bonus if they're killed?
wackdoodle wackdoodle 9 years
Signing bonus is fine. So long as the agreement is honored and no legal mumbo jumbo funny business disqualifies someone for getting their bonus. What Armed Services should be doing is increasing the base level pay for enlisted personnel to a higher level and a livable wage with regular cost-of-living increases. A couple of senators on the Armed Services Committee have purposed raising the salary of enlisted personnel but every time it goes to the full congress or senate they refuse it. Whenever I go on to the base where I grew up - I see to many families struggling to make ends meet on their military paycheck and it makes me angry. Their risking their lives and getting a low-ball salary for it, just upsets me so much.
foxie foxie 9 years
What service is your husband?
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
My hubby did the math once and figured he was getting paid like .35 cents an hour while deployed! Nuts!
foxie foxie 9 years
Many of them do, yes. But the money doesn't hurt! Let's face it, servicemembers are at work 24/7 and the pay does not reflect it.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
foxie - i know all too well the benefits of deployment! but i would argue that those who want to deploy do it more out of the passion of putting their skills to work and the pride they have serving.
foxie foxie 9 years
Good point, beth. @ca, You'd be suprised. A lot of people I know really want the opportunity to deploy. Bonuses overseas are tax free and deployment pay is excellent, not to mention the experience alone. I'd agree it's not as exciting a prospect for many servicemembers, but it's a really diverse group.... same as in anything else, different people are swayed by different factors.
hausfrau hausfrau 9 years
I think its important to remember that when these article come out, you're talking about MAYBE 1% of re-enlistments that get the full monetary bonus. This is very dependent on what your MOS (military occupational specialty) is. The majority of re-enlistments don't get this kind of money and often they aren't even aware they are eligible for this money until AFTER they have signed up again. These kinds of articles make it seem like those who serve are simpletons swayed only by dollars, but I bet if you ask the servicemember or their spouse if they would want 40k for a 15 month deployment over and over, most of them would probably say no.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
Aren't all signing bonuses a form of low-level bribery, though, Jillness? I'd much rather such bonuses go to men and women in military uniform than those in...oh, I don't know, football uniforms. lol
Jillness Jillness 9 years
I don't really know what to think about this. They should get paid a lot because it is a big sacrifice. It does feel like it is a bribe targeting people with low incomes...but I don't see how they would do it any other way. Hmm.
foxie foxie 9 years
That all depends on whether they like their jobs and the military lifestyle. Also, re-enlistment bonuses are a pretty good hunk of cash too.
bethany21 bethany21 9 years
I think it's kind of a good idea. Our men and women in the military can't be paid enough, I don't think. And if this bonus prompts more and more qualified people to join up...well, that certainly can't be a bad thing, even if they don't plan to stick around forever! But it would seem to make more sense that the higher dollar figure would go not to new recruits but to returning junior officers instead.
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
You're right, foxie. It makes total sense. Do you think that someone would need another $40K as an incentive to re-enlist?
Kazagirl Kazagirl 9 years
I can tell you that if I didn't have parents who were paying for my college education then I would probably sign up. Money talks.
foxie foxie 9 years
Liberty, why is that interesting? Otherwise people would take their money, feign an injury/get pregnant, and separate.
foxie foxie 9 years
Drats, and I thought MY enlistment bonus was big. =/
LibertySugar LibertySugar 9 years
Interesting that they get the bonus after they serve.
i-heart-monster i-heart-monster 9 years
Hopefully with the new plan and the short-timers that it produces we will be able to get out of our war before their bonuses are due! That's an awful lot of money to get as a bonus! I don't know about the point that they aren't talented enough to make money in the civilian world - these people should receive some sort of job training through their military experience to help them be more valuable to society - my opinion of course.
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