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FORT KNOX, Ky. Despite a pending force reduction, the Army is offering an array of re-enlistment and reclassification opportunities and incentives for qualified career-minded enlisted soldiers.
Lump-sum, flat-rate payments range from $7,900 to $90,000, depending on rank and length of service extension.
The latest menu of options takes effect Oct. 15 under the Selective Re-enlistment Bonus, Bonus Extension and Retraining and Reclassification In/Out Calls programs. They apply to retention and force management objectives set for fiscal 2013, which began Oct. 1.
The re-enlistment window for the new budget year includes active-component soldiers whose current enlistments expire before Oct. 1, 2014, according to Sgt. Maj. Dean Drummond, the Army's senior retention noncommissioned officer.
This means soldiers with expiration term of service dates in fiscal 2013 or 2014 are eligible to re-enlist during the fiscal year that ends Sept. 30, 2013.
"Our mission next year (fiscal 2013) is 54,000 soldiers at the minimum and 63,000 at the maximum," Drummond said.
The eligibility window for fiscal 2012, which ended Sept. 30, included soldiers with ETS in fiscal 2013.
While end-of-year statistics were not available at press time, Drummond said the Army needs to retain at least 10,000 additional soldiers from the 2013 cohort, and 44,000 from the 2014 ETS category.
"These are lower rates than in previous years, so we have no concerns about making the minimum numbers," he said.
The Oct. 15 revisions to the Tiered SRB and the BEAR programs retain the military occupational specialty-immaterial options for soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Those changes, the first since June, also include location-specific options for soldiers who work with the 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Command, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, airborne positions and certain specialized units.
The high-end Tier 11 payment category remains in effect, with bonuses of $22,000 to $90,000 for privates through sergeants first class who hold a priority MOS, and who re-enlist for 12 to 60 months.
Some of the career management fields in the big-bucks payment tiers of seven through 11 include the Special Forces, communications, military intelligence, psychological operations, civil affairs and ammunition fields.
The BEAR program changes and in/out calls that take effect Oct. 15 are targeted at soldiers who are interested in changing their MOS, according to Jim Bragg, chief of enlisted retention and reclassification here at Human Resources Command.
Soldiers can use the in/out calls to identify the MOSs that are open or closed to reclassification during the early months of fiscal 2013.
The calls display the manning status and reclassification opportunities in more than 170 MOS and skill-specific MOS combinations in the combat arms, combat support and combat service support structure of the Army.
In addition to the in/out calls, the Army has updated the BEAR program for soldiers who re-enlist and retrain in conjunction with reclassification.
BEAR bonuses, which, under the Oct. 15 changes, range from $2,400 to nearly $73,000, are payable by lump sum upon successful completion of training and subsequent re-enlistment.
Bragg said the following MOSs have bonuses opportunities for qualified soldiers:
18-series MOSs for Special Forces weapons, engineer, medical and communications sergeants.
35-series military intelligence MOSs for counterintelligence agents and cryptolinguists.
37F psychological operations specialists.
38B civilian affairs specialists.
Other MOSs offer good reclassification opportunities, although they are not included in the BEAR program, Bragg said. Those include:
29E electronic warfare specialist.
31D CID agent.
89D explosive ordnance disposal specialist.
Soldiers must have completed at least 17 months of continuous active duty, other than active duty for training as a reservist, to qualify for a bonus under the Tiered SRB or BEAR programs.
Completion of the 17 months of continuous active duty need not occur immediately before the date of re-enlistment.
Soldiers with questions about re-enlistment eligibility requirements and bonuses should contact their servicing career counselor.