I had just read this story when I switched over to the NYTimes and it was there also. It appears that rather than lose our top soldiers to Blackwater and their ilk, we have been paying out some damn hefty bonus.
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Pentagon has paid more than $100 million in bonuses to veteran Green Berets and Navy SEALs, reversing the flow of top commandos to the corporate world where security companies such as Blackwater USA are offering big salaries...
Overall, more than 1,200 of the military's most specialized personnel near or already eligible for retirement have opted for payments of up to $150,000 in return for staying in uniform several more years. Military offers millions in bonuses to retain elite commandos
I have the breakdown on the flip.
I'm sure you realize we are talking some serious money. 100 Million and Gates is going to ask for another 43 plus million in this budget. Two things come to mind. The first being if Blackwater and the others haven't been able to get the best of the best, is it any wonder they are using what appears the less disciplined to file their ranks, causing us trouble. The second being are we paying too much or not enough to these experts to risk their lives ? Think about that a second, I honestly don't know how I feel about this yet.
At the 19-year mark, an Army sergeant first class earns about $63,400 annually, a figure that doesn't include what the Congressional Budget Office calls "noncash" benefits available to military members such as subsidized child care, lower grocery costs at base stores, and free access to recreational facilities.
The "critical skills retention" bonuses work on a sliding scale and are offered to senior enlisted personnel and warrant officers who form the backbone of the force.
Those agreeing to stay an extra six years receive $150,000; five years is worth $75,000; four years, $50,000; three years, $30,000; two years, $18,000; and one extra year, $8,000.
Since January 2005, 2,326 have been eligible and more than half took bonuses, statistics show.
If they took the 6 yr bonus, that is a added $25,000 a yr, and it can be tax free during combat. While I have always thought our Men and Women were underpaid, something about this is eating at me, but I'm not sure what. I'd like to know how you feel about this.