Army Considers Bonuses to Soldiers, Wherever They Deploy


By Debbie Gregory.

The Army is working on a proposal to pay bonuses to soldiers who deploy on non-combat tours that take them away from home. If Army leaders green-light the plan, it would still have to be approved by the Defense Department and Congress.

While soldiers deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan rightly receive hazardous duty pay and other incentives, there are no bonuses to soldiers who rotate into South Korea for nine-month tours. There are currently no bonuses to soldiers on Pacific Pathways exercises for months at a time, troops in Ukraine, and troops in Europe who don’t receive bonuses.

Incentives would give soldiers extra cash when they’re deployed, away from home and family. This could mean more pay for soldiers in Japan or Malaysia or Kenya. Or even possibly those away from home for weeks at a time for a rotation at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin, California.

This latest proposal is part of a larger Army effort to reduce the number of non-deployers in uniform.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Milley has said that readiness is the service’s top priority.

“We must ensure the Army remains ready as the world’s premier combat force. Readiness for ground combat is — and will remain — the U.S. Army’s No. 1 priority,” Milley said.

According to the Army, approximately 10% of soldiers (active, Guard and Reserve) are currently non-deployable. About three-quarters of non-deployable soldiers are due to medical reasons. They could be receiving treatment for short term or long term medical issues.

The other one quarter are usually non-deployable due to legal or administrative issues.

The active Army has gone from a wartime high of 570,000 soldiers to the current 490,000. The end-strength is expected to stand at 450,000 by the end of fiscal year 2018.

The Army National Guard is expected to go from 350,000 soldiers to 335,000 over the next three years, while the Army Reserve will drop from 198,000 to 195,000.

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Meet the Army’s New Chief of Staff: Military Connection


By Debbie Gregory.

The largest command in the U.S. military has a new leader. Gen. Mark Milley, an Ivy League graduate and career grunt, is taking over as the Army’s 39th Chief of Staff. The change of responsibility ceremony is scheduled for tomorrow, August 14, at 10 a.m., on Summerall Field, Joint Base Myer-Henderson Hall, Virginia.

Gen. Milley, a 1980 graduate of Princeton University, had commanded U.S. Army Forces Command since August 2014. He has relinquished command of Fort Bragg’s only four-star command to Gen. Robert B. Abrams.

Milley, a native of Boston, MA, replaces retiring Gen. Raymond T. Odierno.

Before his year at the helm of Forces Command, Milley served with the 82nd Airborne Division and 5th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg and the 7th Infantry Division, 10th Mountain Division, 2nd Infantry Division, 25th Infantry Division and 101st Airborne Division.

Before coming to Forces Command, he led the III Corps at Fort Hood, Texas, and was a military assistant to the Secretary of Defense.

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter has described Milley as “a warrior and a statesman.”

“He not only has plenty of operational and joint experience in Afghanistan, in Iraq and on the Joint Staff, but he also has the intellect and vision to lead change throughout the Army,” said Carter.

Milley was considered a dark horse among a field of potential nominees that included Gen. Daniel Allyn, the vice chief of staff, Gen. John Campbell, the top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David Perkins, the commanding general of Training and Doctrine Command, and Gen. Vincent Brooks, commander of U.S. Army Pacific.

During his 34 years of service, Milley has deployed to Egypt, Panama, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan. His awards and decorations include the Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Army Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with two bronze oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters, the Combat Infantryman Badge with star, the Expert Infantryman Badge, the Master Parachutist Badge, the Scuba Diver Badge, the Ranger tab, and the Special Forces tab.

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Meet the Army’s New Chief of Staff: Military Connection: by Debbie Gregory