By Jim Tice - Staff writer Army Times
Posted : Monday Sep 29, 2008 5:56:54 EDT
Retention in the active component is thousands of re-enlistments ahead of its goal for the year.
Combined with a strong recruiting year, the retention numbers are rapidly pushing the Army toward its expanded end-strength goal of 547,400 for 2010.
With a month left in the fiscal year, unit commanders and career counselors had re-enlisted 72,083 soldiers.
That total is more than 7,000 re-enlistments above the fiscal year mission of 65,000.
Recruiting figures released in early September show that through August, recruiters had enlisted 71,863 new soldiers, just 8,137 shy of the annual mission of 80,000.
September traditionally is a good recruiting month, and personnel officials are confident the 80,000-goal will be met or exceeded.
The 2008 manning campaign is designed to support an end-strength increase of about 11,000 over the next three years.
Active-component manning stands at about 536,000 soldiers, which puts the Army in good position to achieve an end strength of 547,400 by 2010 or possibly earlier, according to Maj. Gen. Sean Byrne, commander of Human Resources Command.
Byrne cautioned that any acceleration in the manning increase is subject to budgetary considerations.
The Army’s primary retention incentive during the past year has been the Enhanced Selective Re-enlistment Bonus program, which features flat-rate, lump-sum bonuses of $3,000 to $29,000 across a swath of combat, support, and service military occupational specialties, in addition to special bonuses for deployed soldiers and soldiers recently returned from deployment.
The Enhanced SRB program was last updated in February. Changes to the program for fiscal 2009 have not been announced.
Changes to the Bonus Extension and Retraining program were announced in late July. They sharply increased rates for certain first- and second-term soldiers in several priority MOSs.
BEAR bonuses also were targeted at soldiers whose terms of service expire before Oct. 1, and who agree to retrain and re-enlist in one of 20 critical skills. The BEAR program complements the Enhanced SRB program by shifting soldiers to priority specialties during the ongoing reorganization and expansion of the Army.