Like other branches in the military, the U.S. Navy is trying to overcome some challenges in recruiting and bring in new sailors. And like other branches, it’s hoping that cold hard cash can do the job.
This past week the Navy announced a series of new enlistment bonuses and eligibility rules for them, aiming to “attract the highest quality of recruits and ensure Fleet readiness.” There are a number of different bonuses, but by far the largest one goes to those who work in nuclear fields, training to operate or maintain the Navy’s nuclear-powered surface vessels and submarines. That includes roles such as Electrician’s Mate Nuclear (EMN), Electronics Technician Nuclear (ETN) or Machinist’s Mate Nuclear (MMN). They can get a $75,000 enlistment bonus. That cash points to the importance and difficulty of those roles; all other enlistment bonuses in the Navy are capped at $50,000.
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“By providing these incentives, we are investing in the future of our Navy and ensuring that we maintain a highly skilled and dedicated force,” Master Chief Navy Counselor Gerald Allchin, the Navy’s national chief recruiter, said in a statement. “We encourage individuals who meet the eligibility criteria to explore these opportunities and embark on a rewarding career in the United States Navy.”
It’s the latest instance of the armed forces offering big enlistment bonuses to entice people to sign up for the military. Other branches such as the Army have rolled out increasingly larger cash incentives to get new recruits, with special payments for those who quickly ship out to basic training. Despite all of those bonuses, the Army still failed to meet its recruitment goal last year. And it looks set to do so again, according to Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth. Meanwhile active-duty service members are still dealing with challenges within the military, from moldy barracks to suicides aboard Navy vessels and in maintenance facilities.
In its release on the new enlistment bonuses, the Navy was pretty open about how appealing the money can be, calling the program “a valuable tool in incentivizing enlistment and ensuring the readiness of the Fleet.”
Although enlistment bonuses are capped, they can be combined with the military’s loan repayment plan. That repayment can be as high as $65,000. For the recruits who do go into nuclear fields, for instance, that can be a total of $140,000.
Although the bonus program is mostly aimed for new recruits, it is open to former service members aiming to join active duty or reserve roles, depending on certain conditions; namely, if they did not get a bonus in their first enlistment.