Desperation’s in the air in Washington. The 2006 Defense Authorization bill was unveiled Monday, and it includes some new recruiting and retention features. Highlights include:
- Allowing military recruits to enter service up to age 42 (from age 35)
- Creation of a new $1,000 finder’s fee for service members who tip off recruiters to good prospects
- Raises the maximum enlistment bonus.
- Allows people with prior military service to get more than one bonus for joining the reserves.
- Increases the maximum bonus for officers joining the reserves.
Sen. John Warner, R-Va., the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman, said that Sen. Levin (see previous post) will urge the full Senate to adopt the bill next week. Since Levin said that he thinks the only way to end the recruiting crisis is to end the war, we’ll see how that goes.
According to the Navy Times, the increase in enlistment age "is not controversial because it is expected the military would use the new authority sparingly." The Navy Times goes on:
The finder’s fee idea, however, does come with some controversy. Under the proposal, a member of the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard could receive a $1,000 bonus for referring a person who has never served in the armed forces to a recruiter.
For the finder to get the fee, the potential recruit would have to enlist in the Army, Army Reserve or Army National Guard and finish basic and advanced training. No payments would be given for referring an immediate family member, and anyone in a recruiting or career counselor assignment would be ineligible.
Side note on the authorization bill:
It’s a "a massive, 650-page bill both authorizing and paying for about $500 billion in defense programs, including a $50 billion wartime supplemental bill riding on the coattails of both measures." This year’s bill will be attached to the defense appropriation bill, which is usually kept separate. For more information on the Authorization bill, see an article by Rick Maze in the Marine Times (a man who seems to get around, since he also wrote the piece cited above in the Navy Times and the piece referenced in our last post from the Air Force Times). Or you might be interested in a slightly more critical piece from the Hill on the holdups faced over the authorization and appropriations bills, and the skirmishes going on in Congress.