June 27, 2007:
The U.S. Marine Corps has increased
its maximum reenlistment bonus by a third, to $80,000. This particularly
attractive to marines who are in a combat zone, because any pay or bonuses paid
while there are tax-free. The new bonuses are not war related, but are caused
by Congress ordering the marines to increase their strength by 5,000 by this
October. Just recruiting 5,000 more civilians does not work, since half your
average marine unit is composed of veteran NCOs and specialists. So the higher
bonuses are meant to encourage these veteran men and women not to retire, or
leave to take higher paying civilian jobs.
Over the last three decades, the military has
learned to play the personnel recruiting and retention game by the same rules
the civilian world uses. While the snazzy uniform and high morale helps, it's
sometimes about money as well. A marine with 20 years service can retire on
half pay, and often get a civilian job paying what they made while in uniform.
If a marine is getting out partly because of money, then you can keep him if
you match the offer. Patriotism also plays a role, but this pitch works better
if preceded by some cash.