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Re-up, now: More jobs eligible for bonuses in '14, faster approval available for some

Jul. 1, 2013 - 06:00AM   |  
(Staff)
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OUT OF LUCK IN ’14

Ten military occupational specialties in which first-term Marines were eligible for a re-enlistment bonus in 2013 have been shut out of re-up cash in 2014:
■1161 Refrigeration mechanic
■2847 Telephone systems/personal computer intermediate repairer
■2871 Test measurement and diagnostic equipment technician
■5948 Aviation radar technician
■5954 Air traffic control communications technician
■6116 Tilt-rotor mechanic, MV-22
■6152 Helicopter airframe mechanic, CH-46
■6312 Aircraft communications/navigation/weapon systems technician, AV-8B
■6386 Aircraft electronic countermeasures systems technician, EA-6B
■7212 LM Low-altitude air defense gunner
SOURCE: STAFF RESEARCH

Lance corporals, corporals and sergeants who re-enlist in high-demand jobs could take home thousands in bonus cash — up to $60,750, for some — in fiscal 2014.

Lance corporals, corporals and sergeants who re-enlist in high-demand jobs could take home thousands in bonus cash — up to $60,750, for some — in fiscal 2014.

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Lance corporals, corporals and sergeants who re-enlist in high-demand jobs could take home thousands in bonus cash — up to $60,750, for some — in fiscal 2014. What’s more, top enlisted performers who desire a second term are now eligible for expedited approval.

Under the fiscal 2014 Selective Re-enlistment Bonus program, announced June 28, most eligible first-termers will take home slightly less bonus money than their counterparts in 2013, with a couple of notable exceptions like reconnaissance men. Re-up bonuses were offered to Marines in 80 military occupational specialties in 2013. The bonuses offered to Marines in 49 of those same MOSs in 2014 have decreased — some by as much as 50 percent — or have been eliminated. But bonuses offered to Marines in the other 31 MOSs increased, even if only slightly.

The good news: A wider cross section of MOSs are eligible for re-up cash. In all, 98 specialties offer some bonus money, 18 more than a year ago.

Meanwhile, Marines rated as Tier 1 performers — the Corps’ top 10 percent — can submit a re-enlistment package immediately and receive a decision as soon as their request is routed, rather than waiting the typical 90 days, according to a recently released Marine administrative message.

“Marines who are computed Tier 1 ... and who submit on 1 July, may receive a retention decision before the end of July,” states Marine administrative message 315/13, signed June 27.

That means Marines in specialties eligible for a re-enlistment bonus could take home a large sum of cash before the end of the month.

Additionally, a handful of the most lucrative specialties are eligible for lateral moves that allow Marines to collect the bonus associated with their new MOS, but only upon completion of MOS school. While Marines can request a lateral move into nearly any MOS, only a select few still offer bonuses to those making the move.

Who is in demand

The highest re-enlistment payout in 2014 is for 0689 cybersecurity technicians, according to MARADMIN 319/13, signed June 28. Zone A sergeants — those with between 17 months and six years of service — who are in the job or who make a lateral move into it can take home $60,750. The bonus reflects the Corps’ increasing emphasis on cybersecurity and its desire to rapidly grow Marine Corps Forces Cyber Command. About 1,500 Marines are assigned to the command, Commandant Gen. Jim Amos told reporters during a June 26 breakfast in Washington.

Other top payouts will go to Marines re-enlisting as an 0321 reconnaissance man or 0372 critical skills operator with Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command. Both MOSs, which are eligible for lateral moves, offer between $40,250 and $50,500, depending on rank. That puts reconaissance men on par with MARSOC operators, a significant jump from last year when the highest payout for the recon community was $44,750. Also, 0211 counterintelligence/human intelligence specialists can take home up to $45,500.

Overall, however, payouts are on the decline as the Corps continues to draw down its forces. Sergeants in the 0211 community, for example, took home $69,750 last year. That is $24,250 more than E-5s will receive in FY14. Marines in other traditionally high-demand, low-density jobs, including MARSOC operators and explosive ordnance disposal technicians, are eligible for smaller bonuses than last year.

The infantry community is a notable exception. Retention bonuses ranging from $8,000 to $10,000 are being offered to Marines in several MOSs that were ineligible last year. Those include 0311 rifleman, 0331 machine gunner and 0351 assault man.

The SRB MARADMIN also announced details of the 2014 Infantry Battalion Noncommissioned Officer Initiative, known as the OpFor kicker, for infantry corporals and sergeants. In addition to a re-enlistment bonus for their specific MOS, Marines can take home an extra $10,000 if they agree to serve for at least 24 months in a specific unit. Eligible MOSs include 0311 rifleman, 0313 LAV crewman, 0331 machine gunner, 0341 mortarman, 0351 infantry assault man and 0352 anti-tank missleman. For a list of eligible units and their monitoring command codes, refer to the MARADMIN, available online.

Act quickly

Marines hoping to take home a bonus or stay in their desired MOS should move quickly. First-term Marines are subject to strict MOS-specific boat-space caps. Once retention goals are hit, bonuses are suspended and the MOS closed. That leaves Marines who have not re-enlisted frozen out or forced to make a lateral move for a chance to stay in uniform. Boat-space caps are exceeded only in exceptional cases, with approval by the commandant’s office.

Lateral moves can be a good option for Marines even in MOSs with plenty of boat spaces. Manpower officials suggested this year that Marines in highly competitive career fields, or those simply looking for new adventures, should consider a lateral move to a high-demand, low-density MOS. Those who improve their re-up chances and also help fill critical billets in fields such as intelligence or EOD. Some may even take home a hefty bonus.

First-term Marines who want to stay in uniform and vie for a re-up bonus but don’t think they have a chance in today’s hyper-competitive Corps, should still apply, according to MARADMIN 315/13.

Manpower officials with the Enlisted Assignments Branch “desire every Marine, regardless of tier status or perceived competitiveness, to submit for retention,” according to the MARADMIN.

As the drawdown got underway, Manpower officials found that some Marines who were, in fact, competitive or had a desirable skill to offer the service were self-selecting themselves out of the process. Many think minor transgressions or shortcomings eliminate them from contention. Not so. Even a Marine with a nonjudicial punishment may be able to stay in if his commander vouches that he has corrected the problems and offers a skill the service needs.

Competition is getting tougher, however, and that can affect a Marine’s competitiveness. For example, the average physical fitness test score of first-term Marines, rose from 254 in 2012 to 258 this year, according to the MARADMIN.

Those wanting to re-up and get a bonus need to ensure they attain the highest scores and proficiency marks for the best chance at a career in uniform.

TOP-DOLLAR PAYOUTS

MOS E-3 E-4 E-5 and up
0689 LM Information assurance technician $0 $55,250 $60,750
0321 LM Reconnaissance man $40,250 $46,000 $50,500
0372* LM Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command critical skills operator $40,250 $46,000 $50,500
0211 LM Counterintelligence/human intelligence specialist $0 $41,500 $45,500
2336 LM Explosive ordnance disposal technician $0 $41,500 $45,500
0261 Geographic intelligence specialist $32,250 $37,000 $40,500
0861 Forward observer man $32,250 $37,000 $40,500
7257 Air traffic controller $32,250 $37,000 $40,500
7314 Unmanned aerial vehicle operator $32,250 $37,000 $40,500
0241 LM Imagery analyst specialist $0 $37,000 $40,500
2676 European cryptologic linguist (East) $28,250 $32,250 $35,500
2671 Middle East cryptologic linguist $24,250 $27,750 $30,250
2673 Asia Pacific cryptologic linguist $24,250 $27,750 $30,250
6326 Aircraft communications/navigation/electrical/weapons systems technician, MV-22 $24,250 $27,750 $30,250
6842 Meteorological and oceanographic analyst forecaster $24,250 $27,750 $30,250
2621 Special communications signals collection operator/analyst $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
2631 Electronic intelligence intercept operator/analyst $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
2651 Special intelligence system administrator/communicator $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
2674 European cryptologic linguist (West) $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
6176 Tiltrotor crew chief, MV-22 $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
6314 Unmanned aerial vehicle avionics technician $20,250 $23,000 $25,250
2161 Machinist $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
5951 Aviation meteorological equipment technician $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
6173 Helicopter crew chief, CH-53 $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
6174 Helicopter crew chief, UH-1 $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
6213 Fixed-wing aircraft mechanic, EA-6 $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
6216 Fixed-wing aircraft mechanic, KC-130 $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
6694 Aviation logistics information management and support specialist $16,000 $18,500 $20,250
5821 LM Criminal investigator, Criminal Investigations Division $0 $18,500 $20,250

First-term Marines who re-enlist in the following military occupational specialties will be eligible for the biggest payouts in fiscal 2014. All MOSs labeled “LM” are open to lateral moves. There are at least 80 specialties with first-term bonuses available in 2013.

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