Army May Pay $150K Bonus to Arabic Speakers

It considers hefty retention incentive to keep translators
By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 5, 2008 6:26 PM CDT
The Army is pushing to expand its ability to recruit and retain valuable Arabic speakers.   (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
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(Newser) – The Army may pay $150,000 to US soldiers who speak Arabic if they agree to stay in the service, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The Army also is ramping up its program to recruit and train Arabic speakers, both in the US and abroad. If the retention bonus is approved, it would put Arabic-speaking soldiers and translators on par with members of the Army's elite Special Forces.

The Army is looking to boost its numbers in a time of tight competition from other military services, private contractors, the FBI, and the CIA. It currently has about 600 such linguists, whose military job designation is known as the "09 Limas." To help with recruitment, the Defense Department is offering an expedited green-card process for qualified candidates.