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Army offers up to $40k sign-on bonus to some recruits until Sept. 30

Secretary of the Army Dr. Mark T. Esper swears in new recruits at the Baltimore MEPS station at Fort George G. Meade (Staff Sgt. Brandy N. Mejia/U.S. Army)
July 06, 2019

With a declining number of Army recruits signing up for service, recruiters are offering attractive monetary bonuses for those who enlist and ship by the end of September.

The Army is facing an extreme shortage of infantry recruits and in an attempt to fill 3,300 training slots before September 30, they’re offering bonuses of up to $40,000, according to

To receive the full bonus of $40,000, recruits must sign up for infantry military occupational specialty 11X and sign a six-year contract. Their ship date must be before the September 30 deadline marking the end of the fiscal year. Any recruits who ship in October and later won’t be eligible for the increased bonus.

According to Recruiting Command officials, a three-year enlistment offers a $20,000 bonus, $25,000 for a four-year enlistment and $30,000 for a five-year enlistment.

The bonuses began in May, increasing from a maximum of $15,000.

Maj. Gen. Frank Muth, commander of Army Recruiting Command said, “We saw this coming in May; we immediately went to the senior leadership and said, ‘look, we need to max out the bonuses for 11Xs.'”

The Army’s 2019 recruiting goal is an active force of 68,000 soldiers by September 30.

Last year, the Army fell short of their recruiting goal by 6,500 soldiers — their first missed annual recruiting goal since 2005.

The Army isn’t the only military branch that is seeing a drop in the number of recruits. In May, branch chiefs told the House Armed Services Committee that they had implemented a plan to attract recruits and build on retention, Stars & Stripes reported at the time.

Vice Adm. Robert Burke, chief of naval personnel said, “We have challenges that remain, and we still have a great deal of work to get to where we need to be if we are going to be truly competitive. But we’re on a good path.”

Retention has increased some as a result of “improvements in childcare options, reorganized processes for military spouses to obtain professional licenses after moves, boosted career flexibility and increased perks,” Stars & Stripes noted.

Rep. Jackie Speier said, “service members have four key areas of concern: assignment location, childcare, spouse professional employment and help resources for sexual misconduct and domestic violence.”

The committee noted there was much room for improvement, however.

Rep. Trent Kelly said, “We need to clearly understand why service members are electing to get out of the military and to understand what would have kept them in the service. The Defense Department already has much of the data necessary to answer these questions, but I remain concerned that the department is not maximizing their use of this information in order to make informed policy decisions.”