Lawmakers from both the Republican and Democratic Parties are hammering the Pentagon and the California National Guard after reports that thousands of service members are being forced to repay large enlistment bonuses received a decade ago.https://twitter.com/RepMarkTakano/status/790564505080201220The Defense Department ordered the repayment of over $20 million in incentive bonuses for re-enlistment by 10,500 former California National Guardsmen. Some of the bonuses include amounts up $10,000 or more.The bonuses were paid in order to encourage troops to enlist or re-enlist during the height of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.https://twitter.com/GOPLeader/status/790604957158346752House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy called the Pentagon’s demands “disgraceful.” He said the House will demand answers from the National Guard Bureau, which oversees the California National Guard.He was joined in anger by Republicans Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, along with Mark Takano, a Democrat."I find it hard to believe either you or your leadership team was aware that such a boneheaded decision was made to demand repayment," Hunter wrote in a letter to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.Mark Takano said it was “ridiculous.”“These service members — many of whom were sent into combat — are now being forced to make difficult and painful decisions to pay back thousands of dollars they never knew they owed,” said Takano.In one example, an Iraq veteran and former Army Capt. Was ordered to repay a $25,000 reenlistment bonus that he Pentagon said he was ineligible to receive, in addition to $21,000 in student loan repayments.In another example, a service member had his bonus recalled after a deployment to Iraq when paperwork errors were found.
Bonuses Common During Iraq and Afghanistan
https://www.facebook.com/CAGUARD/posts/10154523711193796During the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the Pentagon desperately needed troops to reenlist and high bonuses among nearly all specialties were common. In some instances, poor oversight led to former recruiters being charged with committing fraud.In this case, Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff has begun drafting a legislative fix in order to correct the issue of the California Guard bonuses as soon as possible.