But to keep the ranks of professional recruiters filled, the Army is re-upping a conversion bonus this year, offering $4,000 to some noncommissioned officers who volunteer to become full-time recruiters, according to a service-wide message released Feb. 22.
Right now, the detailed recruiter force is slightly over-strength, an Army Recruiting Command spokeswoman confirmed to Army Times on Wednesday, but the plan is to re-balance those numbers.
“As such, the goal of the 79R bonus is to convert a select number of the detailed recruiters, who would otherwise return to the force, into long term professional 79R recruiters,” Kelli Bland said.
Sergeants and staff sergeants currently serving in balanced or over-strength MOSs can earn the lump sum after completing training, as laid out in Milper 19-066.
To qualify, NCOs must have less than 13 years of service and not have any outstanding service obligations from receiving a previous bonus, including enlistment or selective retention.
They must also serve at least three years as a 79R, or be forced to pay back a portion of the conversion bonus, according to the message.
Interested soldiers should contact their local career counselors to begin the process to convert, and then apply for the bonus once they have completed reclassification.
For 79Rs already serving, a March 1 Milper message announced a new selective retention bonus: Between $10,800 and $32,800 for E-5s, or $12,100 and $36,800 for E-6s, depending on the length of the new contract.
A new Army recruiting video features two rapping NCOs and a whole lot of action shots.
And for detailed recruiters, Army Recruiting Command is offering $1,500 a month to extend orders between 90 days and a year, in one lump sum.
Late last year, Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley set a Jan. 15 deadline to close the recruiter shortfall.
Training and Doctrine Command boss Gen. Stephen Townsend told Army Times in February that they had met the goal, and looking ahead, USAREC resolved to put resources into selecting, producing and keeping enough recruiters in service to support a recruiting mission upwards of 70,000 a year ― and bonuses are one way to get there.
“I am not worried about the Army’s personnel enterprise not being able to keep up,” Townsend said in February. “More broadly, what I’m concerned out, is trying to get the resources to sort of a steady state so that we don’t have to do these ups and downs.”
The Army’s recruiting force is operating with about 8,000 billets filled, after last year saw an average gap of about 400 personnel.
The Army wants to steady its numbers of recruiters in anticipation of a growing force, Maj. Gen. Joe Calloway, the director of personnel management at Army headquarters, told Army Times last fall.
This year’s recruiting goal is in the mid-60,000s.