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Regular Army senior noncommissioned officers of the Special Forces career management field are eligible for mega-buck incentives under the Critical Skills Retention Bonus program.
Lump-sum payments under the revised program range from $18,000 to $150,000 for Special Forces senior NCOs who have the applicable total years of active federal service and who extend their career for 24 to 72 months.
The recent update to the CSRB is targeted at sergeants first class, master sergeants and sergeants major in Career Management Field 18 at or near retirement eligibility.
The CSRB update took effect Nov. 30 and will expire no later than Dec. 31.
The changes revise CSRB eligibility criteria that previously included soldiers in the civil affairs and explosive ordnance disposal specialties.
The CSRB complements the Tiered Selective Re-enlistment Bonus and Bonus Extension and Retraining programs, which generally are targeted at more junior soldiers.
Soldiers may be paid a critical skills bonus within 180 days of reaching the qualifying total active federal service start date.
Bonuses generally are tax-free if paid in a combat zone.
However, soldiers may not receive more than $200,000 in total bonus payments from the CSRB and SRB programs during their career.
Also, soldiers may not receive a CSRB and SRB for the same period.
Here are some other rules of the CSRB program:
• Soldiers must meet the requirements for re-enlistment, without regard to their retention control points.
• By law, CSRB cannot be paid to soldiers who exceed 25 years of active federal service. Applications that would result in a soldier exceeding 25 years of service will be returned by the Army without action.
• Interested soldiers should contact their servicing career counselor and complete a CSRB request.
Applications should be routed through a soldier's first colonel-level commander and Army Special Operations Command before being sent to Human Resources Command for final approval.
• Soldiers who voluntarily or involuntarily separate before completing the term of service for which the CSRB was paid are subject to recoupment of the bonus.