National Guardsmen who planned on reenlisting this month won’t get their expected bonus. According to a March 1 memorandum from the National Guard Bureau, the reenlistment bonus for the Army National Guard was suspended as of the start of the month.

The suspension affects all contracts that would be paid in the 2024 and 2025 fiscal years. The National Guard is currently assessing the finances for its incentives program. The memo was shared on social media this week, including the National Guard subreddit.  A National Guard official verified the authenticity of the memo to Task & Purpose and elaborated on why the suspension is in effect.. The issue, it seems, is that it is too successful of an incentive.

“The popularity of the Army National Guard reenlistment bonus has exceeded our original budgetary projections,” the official said in a statement to Task & Purpose. “This requires a pause to assess fiscal resources that will determine when we can resume offering new bonuses with the issuance of new reenlistment contracts.”

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Currently National Guard members who meet stated criteria and agree to reenlist for two-four years can receive as much as $20,000 in the form of a reenlistment bonus. Existing contracts are not impacted by the suspension. 

The exact length of the pause is not set, but the National Guard expects it to last only a month. The March 1 memo said that it anticipates restarting paying reenlistment bonuses in April. The National Guard’s statement to Task & Purpose echoed that, but did not definitively say so. “It is the Army National Guard’s intent to resume issuances of bonus incentives with reenlistment contracts in April, pending the findings of this assessment,” the statement continued.

But as long as the bonus are not in play, anyone who reenlists should not expect a retroactive bonus.

“Reenlistement bonuses only apply when contracted,” a spokesperson told Task & Purpose. “That means no retroactive bonuses for those who elect to sign contracts at this time. But given our intent to resume the issuance of retention bonuses in another month, soldiers who intend to extend with a reenlistment bonus may elect to delay their decision until this incentive becomes available.’

Although it is not the only incentive for retention, the military has been trying to keep its ranks filled through several financial offers. Alongside high enlistment bonuses for new recruits in several branches, some have raised the reenlistment bonus. In October, reported that at least 9,000 National Guardsmen had not been paid their enlistment bonus, even years after when they should have. 

The Army National Guard isn’t the only part of the military to halt bonuses due to financial matters. Last year the Air Force halted its retention and reenlistment bonuses as well as permanent change of station moves due to a funding shortfall. That pause only lasted 11 days however, following Congressional action.

UPDATE: (3/4/2024); This story was updated with a statement from a Guard spokesperson confirming that bonuses will not be retroactively paid to those who reenlist while no bonuses are available.

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