Army Offering Up to $90K Re-enlist Bonuses


By Debbie Gregory.

The U.S. Army is offering up to $90,000 to soldiers who reenlist as the service branch looks to add tens of thousands to its ranks.

The Army will triple the amount of bonuses it’s paying this year to more than $380 million, which includes incentives to woo soldiers to re-enlist, in an effort to expand its ranks.

By committing to another four or more years, soldiers in the most sought after positions such as Special Forces, cyber security, cryptologist and language skills could get $50,000-$90,000 up front. This with more routine jobs, such as some lower level infantry posts, may get just a couple of thousand dollars, if any bonus at all.

Under the current plan, the active duty Army will grow by 16,000 soldiers, taking it to 476,000 in total by October. The National Guard and the Army Reserve will also be adding troops, but at a lesser number.

To meet the mandate, the Army must find 6,000 new soldiers, convince 9,000 current soldiers to stay on and add 1,000 officers.

The biggest hurdle, according to senior Army leaders, is convincing thousands of enlistees who are only months away from leaving the service to sign up for several more years. Many have been planning their exits and have turned down multiple entreaties to stay.

“I’m not going to kid you. It’s been difficult because a lot of these kids had plans and their families had plans,” said Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command.

Maj. Gen. Jason Evans, head of the Army’s Human Resources Command, said the Army was expanding “responsibly with a focus on quality,” inferring that there will be not be a  relaxation of standards such as previous waivers given to those with criminal or drug use records.

The new bonuses seem to be working, with the Army seeing a spike in re-enlistments, according to Mst. Sgt. Mark Thompson, who works with Army retention policies.

The Army is about three-quarters of the way to its goal for re-enlistments.

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Military Connection: DOD Recruits for Cyber Force in Silicon Valley

Cyber Command

By Debbie Gregory.

After the increased cyber activity over the last year, including acts of cyber terrorism, the U.S. Department of Defense has heightened its efforts to become better equipped to fend off cyber threats. But according to the Pentagon, the U.S. is still a long way from having the capabilities and resources needed to repel a massive cyberattack from a major world power or highly advanced cyberterrorists.

The DOD devised a plan to man 133 military cybersecurity teams with three core missions:

  1. To provide cyber support to combatant commanders across the globe.
  2. To operate and defend the DOD’s operation network.
  3. To be responsible for defending the nation’s critical infrastructure and resources.

As of the beginning of April, 2015, approximately 50% of the teams are operational. The department expects to have all of the teams ready to go by October, 2016.

In order to remedy their shortcomings and add manpower, the DOD is looking into unconventional methods for attracting tech experts into the department. One way that the department is doing this is by a full-scale recruitment campaign in Silicon Valley. The Pentagon is looking for ways to harness the brilliant minds, expertise, and innovations that the region is producing by offering cyber specialists positions in the National Guard, Reserves, and also in non-military roles within the DOD.

“We’re thinking about ways we can get new pipelines or tunnels of talent into the department from non-traditional places,” said Eric Rosenbach, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Homeland Defense and Global Security.

One of the biggest challenges that the Defense Department faces is maintaining the level of training that is needed for the task of cyber defense. This task requires that they stay on top of the constantly changing technologies, how to use them, and how to prevent others from using them against us. This requires persistent training and constant personnel certification and recertification.

Seeking help and manpower from the source of the country’s tech community is a brilliant strategy. There are many Americans in and near Silicon Valley that have brains for science and innovation, but also possess the hearts of patriots and a love for their country. With the right incentives and opportunities in place, these tech experts could be manning our cyber defenses, and innovating our nation’s cybersecurity program into the world’s leading cyber force.

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Military Connection: DOD Recruits for Cyber Force in Silicon Valley: By Debbie Gregory