Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Army has met its reenlistment goal 
...a full month before the end of the fiscal year.

The article gives the top billing to the bonuses, of course. Journos seem to be hard-wired to think that way - as if they could be the only people on the planet motivated by the ideals of their profession and a deep love and reverence for the Constitution and our nation's freedoms.

Journalists frequently work long hours for low pay for the simple satisfaction of serving their communities. Soldiers do the same thing.

$14,000 is nothing for a six-year reenlistment with the probability of another tour in a combat zone with separation from families. And the bonuses don't explain why reenlistments are higher in frequently-deployed units and units considered elite, such as the 82nd Airborne Division.

There is something else at work.

And that something is this:

No bonus would make much of a difference if soldiers didn't fundamentally believe in their units, their leadership, and their mission.

That is the bottom line, and the foundation of any successful recruitment and retention program.

The papers devote 10 times more attention, as Rummy says, to Abu Ghraib than to Medal of Honor winners. But you can bet we in the Army know who Paul Smith is. And Leigh Ann Hester. And Jeremy Church. And Brian Chontosh (even though he's a jarhead). And we talk about them amongst ourselves with or without the media's help.

We also know the nature of the enemy we're fighting.

Splash, out


If the money doesn't matter, then why the fuck are we paying it? After all, every nickel is borrowed from China.
Christ on a crotch-rocket, man! Point out to me where I wrote that "money doesn't matter!"

You can't, because I didn't.

What I wrote was that money (in the form of reenlistment bonuses) wouldn't matter if the troops did not fundamentally believe in their mission and leadership, at some level - but because they do, the conditional statement is false, and the first clause is rendered moot.

The bonuses keep the service a competitive option during wartime, when the military must compete with civilian employers for talent. This is true so long as soldiers believe in what they are doing, because one of the primary means of recompense in the military is the intangible sense of accomplishment and comeraderie.

I know this is a tough thing to explain to some people.

The point was that soldiers do believe in the mission sufficiently for bonuses to make a difference - and that if they did not believe in the mission - and ONLY if they did not believe in the mission - THEN no bonus would be a sufficient incentive.

This isn't difficult logic, here. Do try to keep up.
Please do a little more research and try again.

This study's more than a year old, RubEyes.

What point are you trying to make?
Sure the numbers are a year old but I don't think a year has made a huge difference.

1. Bonuses can go up to $150,000 not just $14,000. Plus basically ever form of incentive has been increased. Enlistment bonuses, retention bonuses and college tuition incentives.
2. Career officers retention is down significantly from 2000 - I'm sure you would agree a decrease in leadership is not a good thing.
3. Just because you retain people doesn't mean you are retaining the right people.
4. The bad numbers reported in the media are primarily regarding the dismal reserve enlistment rates. A significant portion of the reserves comes from active duty. As you can see from the data (even though it's a year old) they keep lowering the goal and they keep missing it. Pretty bad when you can meet your own lowered goal.

The overall point - do a little more research before you just start bashing. This took me like 3 minutes to find.
RubyEyes, still not seeing your point. The article Jason linked states that 14000 is the average bonus. Your PDF file says that the maximum 150,000 is for elite troops - SF and SEALs - who are nearly eligible for retirement. Also I find nothing specific about officers. Where did you get that data?

Jason, sadly, you're right about this: When I left active duty (just prior to 9/11) the re-up bonus for my MOS was 40,000 for six years. I didn't feel that sense of accomplishment and comaraderie, and got out. Believe me, I wish it had been otherwise.
Well, if bonuses don't make any difference in retention rates, then as a taxpayer who funds the whole thing I'd rather not pay them. Civilian raises are lagging inflation, so there's no reason that military comp should be shooting through the roof, especially if the money doesn't have any impact.
You don't get it; read Jason's comment.

Where bonuses make a difference is in convincing motivated soldiers to stay rather than leaving for civilian jobs that pay better.

Where bonuses don't make a difference is in motivating soldiers to *want* to stay in the military. If that desire isn't there, they won't re-up no matter the bonus.

If we can pay a $100k bonus to re-enlist a soldier whose training possibly cost millions, I'd say we've got a pretty good deal going.
unfortunately the RE-up numbers are Extremely misleading. I hate to blow the lid off this because I support our missions, the President, the country, etc. The reason that re-enlistment numbers are being met and the reason that units that have deployed have high re-up rates is that soldiers are re-enlisting for two years when they have 23 months left in service, therfore only adding on month or so to their total commitment.

Examples: PFC Snuffy has 1 year left in service (he should be SPC or SGT by now, but he got in trouble). His unit will deploy 6 months from now. He is stoplossed for the deployment + 3 months. So he re-enlists for two years adding only 3 months to his commitment.

SPC Eddist has 23 months left in service. He is asked to re-enlist for two years, extending his duty by one month.

That is what is happening, but not ALL THE TIME. I don't really have a rough estimate of how much this happens. I have seen it, but not too often, Just often enough to know it pads the numbers.
Bonuses either matter or they don't matter. If the government has to bribe the soldiers to stay in the military, then they are called "mercenaries," which is hardly a new profession. If bonses don't matter, then they shouldn't be paid.

Jason, like the rest of the fucktard, lyin' rightwingnuts, wants to have it both ways. He wants the U.S. government to bribe people to stay in the military, and then wants to turn around claim that the bribes didn't matter.
The Army met its recruiting goal by bribing recruits and recruiters and cutting enlistment standards.
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