Sept. 2007 – The Army’s new
“quick-ship” bonus program is showing
success in getting prospective recruits to
enlist and is expected to help the Army make
its end-of-year recruiting goal, the Army’s
recruiting chief told Pentagon reporters.
Gen. Thomas P. Bostick, commander of U.S. Army
Recruiting Command, credited the $20,000
quick-ship bonus with helping to motivate
would-be soldiers who were “on the fence”
into joining the ranks.
The program was introduced in late July to
provide a financial incentive for recruits
willing to ship off quickly to basic training.
In August alone, 200 recruits who were
planning to ship in September went a month
Bostick said it’s one of several recruiting
initiatives the Army has put in place to
ensure it meets its fiscal 2007 goals.
This year, for example, the average bonus was
up to about $15,000, but some run as high as
$40,000, the maximum allowed by Congress.
A new $15,000 bonus and a two-year Army
College Fund contribution for soldiers taking
the two-year enlistment option are gaining
momentum, too, Bostick said. The combination,
introduced in July, doubled the Army’s
two-year enlistments, he said.
Educational incentives like the Army College
Fund, Montgomery G.I. Bill and college
loan-repayment programs are important, Bostick
said, because many recruits hope to further
He called these incentives critical to the
Army’s effort to fill its ranks with
high-quality recruits at a particularly
difficult time. “This is the first time that
we have had to recruit an Army into the
all-volunteer force during protracted combat
operations,” he said. “So it is a bit more
Many prospective applicants are concerned
about the war in Iraq, he said. That’s
reflected in the lowest interest among
recruitment-age youth in joining the military
than at any other time during the past two
decades. Twenty years ago, 25 percent of
17-to-24-year-olds said they’d likely serve
in the military during the next three to five
years, Bostick said. Today, it’s 15.7
Meanwhile, parents, coaches and other adult
influencers concerned about the war are less
likely to encourage military service, he said.
Right now, 25 percent of mothers and 33
percent of fathers say they would recommend
military service to their children. That’s
down from 40 percent and 50 percent,
respectively, in 2004.
This is all occurring when unemployment is at
historic lows, giving young people many career
“But we’re not wringing our hands,”
Bostick said. “We are manning this Army. We
are doing a pretty good job of it. I think we
have a lot who are answering the call to
As of July 30, 83,000 recruits had joined the
active Army and Army Reserve. Nearly 62,000 of
them went on active duty, bringing the Army
about 1,000 troops ahead of its year-to-date
recruiting goal. Nearly 21,500 recruits had
joined the Army Reserve by the end of July,
about 180 behind its year-to-date goal.
Bostick reported “a very good month” in
August, but declined to reveal the Army’s
recruiting numbers until the Defense
Department releases them next week.
He vowed to close any remaining gaps by Sept.
30 and meet the active Army’s year-end goal
of 80,000 recruits and Army Reserve’s goal
The mission of manning the Army isn’t just a
challenge for the Army, he said. “This is a
challenge for the nation. And if this nation
wishes to remain free and enjoy the democracy
that we have in this country, it will take
soldiers that are willing to stand up and
defend this country as they are in Iraq,
Afghanistan and throughout the world.”