What would it take to transform U.S. infantry into a higher-caliber force modeled after the elite 75th Ranger Regiment? For starters, find recruits in their mid-20s and offer them $250,000 bonuses and a $60,000-a-year salary.
FORT KNOX, Kentucky -- U.S. Army recruiters are offering bonuses worth up to $40,000 to new recruits who sign up for the infantry by Sept. 30 as part of an effort to reverse a shortage of grunts for fiscal 2019.
The drastic increase in bonus amounts for recruits in 11X, the infantry military occupational specialty, went into effect in mid-May, according to U.S. Army Recruiting Command officials, who said that the service still needs to fill about 3,300 infantry training seats by Sept. 30.
U.S. Army weapons officials recently invited defense firms to design and build prototypes of an advanced fire control system that could equip the service's Next-Generation Squad Weapon with wind-sensing as well as facial-recognition technology.
The Prototype Opportunity Notice for the NGSW-Fire Control is intended to develop a system that "increases the soldier's ability to rapidly engage man sized targets out to 600 [meters] or greater while maintaining the ability to conduct Close Quarters Battle," according to the solicitation posted May 30 on FedBizOpps.gov.
The U.S. Army says it will meet its readiness goals by 2022, but young sergeants in most infantry and close-combat units don't know how to maneuver their squads or do basic land navigation, Military.com has learned.
For example, sergeants in the majority of the Army's active brigade combat teams (BCTs) don't know the importance of gaining a foothold when leading squads on room-clearing operations, according to a series of report cards from the service's Asymmetric Warfare Group, known as the AWG.
The findings come at a time when the Army is racing to transition from the counter-insurgency mindset that existed in Iraq and Afghanistan to one focused on preparing combat units to fight in large-scale, conventional battles against a foe of equal strength.
In this March 12, 2016, file photo, Marines of the U.S., left, and South Korea, wearing blue headbands on their helmets, take positions after landing on a beach during the joint military combined amphibious exercise, called Ssangyong, part of the Key Resolve and Foal Eagle military exercises, in Pohang, South Korea. (Associated Press/Yonhap/Kim Jun-bum)