The Army is boosting enlistment bonuses up to $50,000 to lure recruits to join for six years, Army Recruiting Command announced Wednesday.
In a statement, Recruiting Command said the Army is currently trying to fill both part-time and full-time vacancies in about 150 career fields in both its active-duty and reserve components.
The new bonuses represent the largest the service has ever offered, as enlistment incentives were previously capped at $40,000.
Maj Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Recruiting Command, told the Associated Press that the Army hopes the new bonuses will attract new recruits as it deals with lingering challenges spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down,” Vereen told the AP. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”
The total incentive package will be based on a variety of factors like career field, individual qualifications, length of enlistment contract and ship date for training, Recruiting Command said.
The career-based incentives will range from $1,000 to $40,000 for vacancies that need to be filled or are difficult to fill because of the specific qualifications — like radar repairers and motor transport operators.
On top of career-based bonuses, the Army will offer an incentive between $2,000 and $9,000 for those who are ready to begin basic training within 90 days, with more being offered for those who go sooner. Additionally, there are incentives for those who sign up for Airborne or Ranger schools.
“This is an opportunity to entice folks to consider the Army,” Brig. Gen. John Cushing, who serves as the deputy commanding general for operations for Recruiting Command, said in a statement.
“We’ve taken a look at the critical (military occupational specialties) we need to fill in order to maintain the training bases, and that is where we place a lot of our emphasis.”