For the first time since 2006, the Army has suspended its Selective Retention Bonus program until the end of the fiscal year.
The suspension went into effect Tuesday and is expected to be in place until Sept. 30, the end of fiscal 2016, according to information from the Army G-1 (personnel). The program is expected to resume no later than Oct. 1, officials said.
"The decision to suspend the SRB program was based on the current and projected success of the Army's retention program, needs and budget constraints," said Lt. Col. Jerry Pionk, an Army spokesman, in a statement to Army Times. "Currently, we are projecting we will be at about 106 percent of our retention mission across all [military occupational specialties]."
The suspension of the SRB program was announced in a force-wide message. The MILPER effectively means soldiers are not authorized to receive a Selective Retention Bonus for reenlistment contracts beginning Aug. 2 until the program is reinstated.
Army officials said it is not uncommon for bonuses and Army policies relating to them to fluctuate. But they noted that the SRB program was last suspended in 2006. Prior to that, the program was suspended in 2003.
All soldiers previously eligible for an SRB are still able to reenlist, Pionk said. They also can wait until Oct. 1, when the program is expected to be reinstated.
"They may continue processing for a reenlistment assignment as long as they reenlist no later than Oct. 14," Pionk said. "Assignments will be deleted after Oct. 14 if the soldier does not reenlist."
The Selective Retention Bonus program offers cash to soldiers in high-demand specialties, and the size of the bonus depends on the soldier's rank, the length of the reenlistment and MOS.
Some specialties, such as Special Forces, cyber, civil affairs and psychological operations, offered bonuses ranging from $12,300 to $72,000, according to information from Army G-1.
The SRB program also targets critical locations such as U.S. Army Special Operations Command, the 75th Ranger Regiment, the 160th Special Operations Aviation Regiment, and other airborne positions.
Under federal law and Army policy, soldiers can receive more than one SRB during their career, but the combined payments cannot exceed $200,000.
A soldier's individual reenlistment window opens 12 months from their Expiration Term of Service date and continues through 90 days before their ETS.
Michelle Tan is the editor of Army Times and Air Force Times. She has covered the military for Military Times since 2005, and has embedded with U.S. troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Haiti, Gabon and the Horn of Africa.