The U.S. Marine
Corps is expanding from 186,000 troops, to 202,000 over the next three years.
This has caused a shortage of NCOs, as many are needed for combat, recruiting
and training duties. To deal with the shortage, young infantry and armor NCOs
are being offered cash bonuses if they extend their enlistments while in units
that are eligible for duty in Iraq or Afghanistan. Those who stay in an extra 18 months can get
$15,000. For those who extend for 23 months, the bonus is $20,000. For those
who sign up for the extension while in a combat zone, the money is tax free.
The marines expect that about 200 NCOs will be eligible for these bonuses in
the next year, thus eliminating most of the NCO shortage for that year.