Higher military enlistment aim of increased monetary bonuses

Jennifer Nacin

Uncle Sam wants you — and he’s willing to give you a raise if you accept the call to duty.

With national military recruitment decreasing, monetary incentives have increased in hopes of recruiting higher numbers of U.S. Army Reserve and National Guard enlistees.

The National Guard Bureau in Washington put into effect the Selective Reserve Incentive Program on Dec. 14, which increased the monetary bonuses given to recruits in hopes of satisfying national and state quotas, said Sgt. 1st Class Patty Alley, ISU National Guard representative.

First-time enlistees, who previously received an $8,000 bonus, will now receive up to $10,000, she said. Three- and six-year re-enlistees will receive bonuses that have nearly doubled. Although this isn’t the main attraction that draws people to serve their country, enlistees are excited about the bonus hike, she said.

“Nationally, recruiting has been down,” Alley said. “They are definitely increasing bonuses to increase recruitment.”

Maj. Harold Meyer, adjunct assistant professor of military science and tactics and ROTC representative, said those enlisted in the ROTC will not receive a bonus increase because no such bonuses exist in the program.

Sgt. Maj. Randolph Kametz, recruiting retention operations manager for the Joint Forces headquarters at Camp Dodge in Johnston, said this increase is designed to reward those who give their time and service.

Alley said recruitment is down because of the many overseas deployments, including the war in Iraq. She said the increased incentive is not the main reason people are enlisting.

“It comes down to their life goals and their plans,” Alley said. “It comes down to their patriotism and desire to serve.”

Although recruitment is down nationally, the Iowa Guard was ranked No. 1 in November and No. 2 in December for overall recruitment strength, Alley said.

“This is Iowa — the people here are definitely well known for having good work ethic and being patriots,” Alley said.

Alley said the number of ISU students who enlist in the National Guard and the U.S. Army Reserves has remained stable, but she said she thinks it’s probable more will continue to sign up because of the bonus increase.