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The Army will offer a new menu of re-enlistment incentives Feb. 21. But until then, eligible soldiers can take advantage of the bonus options that took effect in October.
The Regular Army re-enlistment window for the current budget year includes soldiers whose terms of service expire before Oct. 1, 2014.
This means soldiers with expiration term of service dates in fiscal 2013 or 2014 are eligible to re-enlist before Oct. 1, 2013, provided they are otherwise qualified for retention.
Under retention rules adopted last year, commanders will deny re-enlistment to soldiers who get in trouble or otherwise fail to meet Army standards for behavior and performance.
"Soldiers who are not qualified for re-enlistment, or who have an imposed bar to re-enlistment, do not meet retention eligibility standards, and will not be offered the privilege of re-enlisting," according to a directive issued a year ago by Army Secretary John McHugh.
Soldiers are considered unqualified for re-enlistment if they receive a damaging Noncommissioned Officer Evaluation Report rating; fail an NCO Education System course; are denied promotion list integration by their commander; receive a drug or alcohol conviction; or are AWOL for 96 hours or more during their current enlistment.
Despite the pending drawdown and the quality control measures cited above, Army leaders have authorized a retention mission of 54,000 to 63,000 soldiers for fiscal 2013.
The goal is to retain at least 10,000 soldiers with ETS in 2013, and 44,000 from the 2014 cohort.
The Feb. 21 revisions to the Tiered Selective Re-enlistment Bonus and Bonus Extension and Retraining programs retain the military occupational specialty-immaterial options for soldiers deployed to Afghanistan, Iraq and Kuwait.
Bonus payments for these deployed soldiers range from $1,300 to $5,300, depending on rank and length of re-enlistment.
The pending changes, the first since Oct. 15, include location- and unit-specific options for soldiers who re-enlist for the 75th Ranger Regiment, Special Operations Command, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, select airborne positions and certain specialized units.
High-end payment categories of up to $90,000 remain in effect for language-qualified soldiers in special operations and military intelligence MOSs.
Other career fields with bonuses of up to $32,000 include Ranger-qualified infantryman, diver, certain aviation maintenance specialties, select communications and information systems operations MOSs, certain medical specialties and explosive ordnance disposal.
Altogether, bonus options will be available in 203 MOSs and rank combinations, an increase over the 181 now available.
BEAR changes that take effect Feb. 21 are incentives for soldiers to reclassify and retrain for a priority MOS with a bonus, and good career prospects.
The in/out calls that take effect Feb. 21 can be used by soldiers to determine the strength status of specialties, and what MOSs are open to reclassification.
In selecting an MOS for possible reclassification, soldiers should contact their career counselor to determine whether they are eligible to leave their current MOS, and whether training seats are available in their desired reclassification specialty.
BEAR bonuses are available in 11 priority specialties, and range from $2,500 to $41,800, depending on rank and length of service extension.
To qualify for a tiered SRB or BEAR bonus, soldiers must have completed at least 17 months of continuous active duty, other than active duty for training as a reservist.
Completion of the 17 months of continuous active duty need not occur immediately before the date of re-enlistment.