Army Pulls Out Checkbook to Keep Officers

Defense Dept. offers up to $35K to retain young specialist officers
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 11, 2007 1:08 PM CDT
Defense Secretary Robert Gates addresses the Association of the United States Army, Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2007, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – An acute shortage of young officers trained in aviation, intelligence, and other key specialties has prompted the Army to offer cash bonuses—up to $35,000—to persuade more to re-enlist, the Washington Post reports. The move is an effort to combat  a shortage of 3,000 captains and majors projected for each of the next 6 years. Lengthy repeat tours in Iraq and Afghanistan is the reason most cited by those leaving the service.

Since the cash awards were approved last month, 6,000 captains have accepted them and re-upped. Defense Secretary Robert Gates noted in a speech yesterday that the current generation of young officers has seen more military action than their predecessors, which suggests it makes sense to revise Cold War-era promotion policies to retain them.