The Army is preparing for a bump in force numbers next year, as recruiters prepare to bring in about 80,000 new soldiers in fiscal year 2018.
After a massive retention campaign in 2017, the Army is all set with noncommissioned officers, Sergeant Major of the Army Dan Dailey told Army Times on Nov. 27. Recruiting will be the focus of this year’s end strength bump, he said.
“We did so well last year in our in-service retention program that our in-service retention, actually, is not that significant of a number, because we’re already accomplished…the preponderance of that in FY17,” he said.
The service initially asked Congress for 17,000 more soldiers in the active and reserve components, but the National Defense Authorization Act, which has since been signed by President Donald Trump, authorizes a bump of only 8,500 — 7,500 of those in the active Army and 500 each in the Army National Guard and Army Reserve.
The Army has to recruit 6,000 more soldiers this year than it had planned for. To get there, officials are loosening the rules on contract lengths and ramping up bonuses and marketing.
Regardless, Army Recruiting Command is preparing to bring in 80,000 new soldiers in the next year. That’s more than 10,000 above last year’s goal.
Last year’s plan saw two-year enlistments and big bonuses for in-demand MOSs to entice new recruits. There were no concrete plans for new bonuses or other perks as of the end of November, Army G-1 spokesman Hank Minitrez told Army Times. But Dailey said that the bonus program would be tweaked according to need.
“What we won’t see is a whole lot of an increase in bonuses unless we specifically need that skill level and MOS,” Dailey said.