Army Offers New Incentives to Grow Recruiting Force

Army Offers New Incentives to Grow Recruiting Force

Soldier showing equipment to potential recruit
Photo by: U.S. Army/Sgt. Omar Joseph

Soldiers can qualify for several new incentives, including promotions and cash bonuses, if they volunteer to serve as recruiters, the Army has announced.

The Army is working to bolster its recruiting force during one of the most challenging recruiting environments the service has faced in decades. Soldiers who volunteer are being offered incentives along with a promise that they and their families will be taken care of, said Lt. Gen. Douglas Stitt, deputy Army chief of staff for personnel, G-1.

The goal is to get 800 students into the Army Recruiting and Retention College at Fort Knox, Kentucky, over the next two months. The incentives being offered include promotions and cash bonuses.

At the end of October, there was a decrease in the number of students scheduled to attend the college, just as the Army is working to bolster its recruiting corps of more than 10,000 soldiers, Stitt said in a Nov. 1 meeting with Pentagon reporters.

“The losses exceeded the gains, and in order to maintain that momentum that we were seeing within the recruiting force, we [started] to set the conditions for transformation,” Stitt said in an Army news release following the Pentagon meeting. “We made the decision this week to bump up the numbers [of recruiting college students].”

In a move that Stitt acknowledged he regrets, the Army in late October screened and selected soldiers throughout the force to report to the college by Nov. 6, some on very short notice.

Stitt said the Army would contact the selected soldiers and work with their unique circumstances. “I’d like to open up and first of all apologize to the soldiers and the families that received this last-minute notification,” Stitt said. “That mistake is mine.”

He said the service is working on multiple avenues to minimize the impact to soldiers and families. “It’s not lost on me, particularly at this point in time, the impact this last-minute notification, and now being on the cusp of the holidays, has on our soldiers and our great NCOs as they navigate a process to support the recruiting enterprise,” Stitt said.

To qualify for the newly announced incentives, soldiers must be in the grades of E-5 to E-7 and have a minimum four years in service. The incentives include immediate promotion to staff sergeant for eligible soldiers reporting to their first recruiting assignment, and graduates of the school who enroll in the Army Recruiter Course by February will receive a one-time lump sum of $5,000.

The promotions to staff sergeant will be conditional, and the soldiers will have to meet their professional military education requirements.

Staff sergeants who volunteer will be eligible for promotion to sergeant first class if they field 24 signed enlistment contracts and all 24 recruits attend Basic Combat Training over a maximum 12-month period, according to the news release. Current recruiters who extend their three-year assignment will be awarded $1,500 a month for up to 12 months.

The service also will consider reassigning soldiers slated to attend the Army’s Drill Sergeant School at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, to the Recruiting and Retention College, and Human Resources Command will work with the soldiers’ chain of command and career counselors on a case-by-case basis to ensure that recruiter candidates have a smooth transition, Stitt said.

To further build recruiting momentum, Stitt said, Army leaders are working closely with Army Recruiting Command to outline required knowledge, skills and behaviors for the Army’s new recruiting MOS—42T, or talent acquisition specialist.

Army Secretary Christine Wormuth announced Oct. 3 that the recruiter career field will shift from a temporary position to a permanent MOS. A pilot program will soon be in development. For now, the Army hopes to attract enough volunteers for the recruiting mission and has asked commanders and leaders throughout the force to encourage soldiers to volunteer.