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No One Works for Free – The National Guard to Reinstate Bonuses

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March 29, 2024
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In 2023 a report was released showing that the National Guard was behind in paying incentive bonuses to over 9000 troops. Soldiers were waiting years in some cases, and even just under 4000 exiting the service before receiving these payments or missing out on them entirely. With retention of military members a serious concern for all but the Marine Corps, this issue should have been high on the list of fixes to correct course.

This is why it came as a shock to personnel when a memo came out suspending future incentive bonuses on March 1st. In a move that will surprise no one who has waited on admin to get their paperwork sorted out and their pay fixed, it all came down to an accounting error. One week after the moratorium was issued, it was retracted March 8th, but was not retracted retroactively.

In practical terms, this means if you had the misfortune of enlisting into the National Guard between March 1st and 7th, no bonuses for you. Initially leaked on Reddit, the authenticity of the report was later directly confirmed on the record by the Guard. Initially expecting the ‘pause’ to continue for 30 days, a press release stated that a source of funding had been found to bridge the gap.

Looking through the numbers, the culprit seems to be a lot of assumptions added into the planning process, to include the number of reenlistments and first-time enticements. Considering the nature of recruitment woes and the decline in interest in military service, miscalculations on this level are no small issue. Setting aside the very real consequences of not paying our troops on time, there is also the matter of how this lack of follow through translates to those on the fence about serving. There are serious and important considerations when weighing entry into the Armed Services; being able to trust the entity that controls your life until your contract ends should not be something to question.

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