18 July 2005

- Military Matters -

While visiting my folks, I got talking to my sister about the sentiments of the military toward the current administration. She lives near a military base, and since her husband is ex-military, she has a number of friends in military families. She tells me that the enlisted men in particular have become very hostile toward the current administration, and that many are willing to be rather public about their dissatisfaction. She also says that the divorce rate in both the officer and enlisted ranks has just skyrocketed.

Not exactaly sure what to make of reports that re-enlistments are up significantly compared to the significant shortfalls in recruitment. Certainly, the article is pollyannish. But it does contain this little gem:

Army officials attribute the strong re-enlistment rates to unprecedented cash bonuses and a renewed sense of purpose in fighting terrorism. Some of the record bonuses are tax-free if soldiers re-enlist while in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Re-enlistment bonuses range from as little as $1,000 to as much as $150,000, depending on the type of job and length of re-enlistment. The $150,000 bonuses are offered only to senior special operations commandos who agree to stay in the military for up to six more years. The average bonus is $10,000, said Col. Debbra Head, who monitors Army retention at the Pentagon.

That's real bucks. If I had to hazard a guess about what is going on, I imagine that many figure they may as well take the cash bonus for re-enlistment rather than being caught in a stop-loss order where they have to serve and don't get the cash.