Stop the Presses!

The Army has a good idea on Captain retention (I know):

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, April 15, 2008) – In an effort to encourage more mid-grade officers to remain in service, the Army is again offering a “menu of incentives” for active-component captains that includes options for a cash bonus, attendance at graduate school or the Defense Language Institute.

“The Army recognizes the tremendous experience and professionalism of the captains serving in our Army today,” said Col. Brian Baldy, director of Officer Personnel Management, Human Resources Command. “This program is an effort to retain these great officers as the Army transforms and grows. We need to retain these quality officers and this program is being executed to do just that.”

The incentives are available to eligible captains from April 7 through Nov. 30.

The menu of options available this year are:

1) The cash option, payable in the same $25,000, $30,000, or $35,000 tiers based on the officer’s accessed branch;

2) The Expanded Graduate School Program option, which is fully funded graduate school; or

3) The Defense Language School option, based upon a pre-Defense Language Aptitude Battery score.

An eligible officer will only be able to select one option in exchange for a three- year non-concurrent active-duty service obligation if accepting the cash option, or a 3:1 active-duty service obligation in the case of accepting the expanded graduate school program or attendance at the Defense Language Institute.

This is really a step forward for the army in their retention efforts. Offering a grad degree or a marketable foreign language skill to a captain may just prove to be the deciding factor in someone’s decision to stay in. Also, the option of language school (previously reserved for only billeted officers in a translator slot) may be a GI-Bill-type step forward for America in the globalized international economy. An entire generation of American business leaders with military experience and language skills may be in development here, which could only be a net plus for the country as a whole.

…Which just goes to prove that a blind squirrel finds an acorn once and a while.


  1. bullnav says:

    What is mid-grade Army officer retention these days?

  2. Skippy-san says:

    The last two options are ones all of the services could use. The US Navy could offset the cost by closint the PG school and sending its folks to civilian universities.

    The DLI option is a great one. I sure wish that had been around in my day. To get the chance to learn a language fluently- as one's primary duty for a year or so. That would have been great.

  3. MikeD says:

    As a grad of DLI, I've got to admit, I saw the DLI option as the LEAST attractive. Not because the school's bad, or the area isn't nice, but simply because it's NOT a perk. Picking up a foriegn language was part of my MOS. Yes it's a great idea to have officers who have first hand knowledge of a foriegn language… but as an incentive? That's a bit odd.

    And as for the "marketable foriegn language skill", I must say my Arabic has not actually been of use since I left service in '97 (though I am willing to accept that this very well is my fault as well, seeing as how I've not looked for programming jobs with Arabic as one of the desired skills). And bear in mind, you don't get to pick the language, the Army chooses based on your aptitude (though it might be different under this program).

  4. Skippy-san says:

    Seems to me the language option would be usefeul depending on one's personal goals. Mine would be to aquire proficiency in Mandarin so as I could translate that into employment opportunties in China or Asia.

    If working overseas is not a goal-then probably its not so much of an incentive. But that, it seems to me, is the great thing about the two choices. An MBA is always a good thing-especially if the service pays for it.

  5. beth says:

    They managed to keep my son in and now that he's not down range he's glad he decided to stay. Although, he'll go back if he's called to (of course!). But they did give him an offer he couldn't refuse.

    It had gotten to where more Captain's were leaving than were staying. I don't have any statistics, but I believe that has changed drastically.

  6. Ex Army Captain says:

    According to this… the USMA 2002 had over 50% leave the service when given the chance. I don't know how true that is for 2003 or other commisioning sources.