U.S. Army raises enlistment bonus to $50,000, its largest ever

Jan. 12 (UPI) — The U.S. Army on Wednesday announced it is offering up to $50,000 to new recruits, its largest-ever bonus amid widespread worker shortages.

Enlistment incentives for full-time soldiers could previously not exceed $40,000 but the army is now offering a $9,000 “critical accession” bonus for recruits who sign on for a six-year active-duty enlistment along with an additional $1,000 for recruits who attend training within 90 days, U.S. Army Recruiting Command or USAREC said in a statement.

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“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” said Brig. Gen. John Cushing, deputy commanding general for operations at USAREC.

The Army said the bonuses are available through a combination of incentives based on pursuing additional qualifications, foreign language skills and other career-based incentives.

For example, a six-year enlistment as an air and missile defense crewmember begins with a bonus of $40,000 and can reach $50,000 with the critical accession bonus and the “quick shop” bonus for attending training within 90 days.

Maj. Gen Kevin Vereen, head of USAREC, said the bonus reflects that the Army is “competing for the same talent as the other services as well as the private sector.”

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The announcement comes after a disappointing December jobs report on Friday that showed about 199,000 new jobs were created, less than half of what some analysts expected.

Many Americans have also left their jobs amid the COVID-19 pandemic in search of safer work conditions as well as better pay and benefits.

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