Nation: Bonus Babies in Uniform

The Pentagon is already paying big bonuses to try to attract and keep the men and women it needs. The Army gives a $3,000 bonus to recruits signing up for infantry or armor; the Navy pays $2,000 extra to those willing to learn nuclear skills or how to be boiler technicians; the Marines offer $2,500 for enlisting in the combat branches. Only the Air Force does not pay such premiums.

The Pentagon's most ambitious incentive program aims at encouraging re-enlistment of those whose skills are in high demand in the civilian economy. The size of each bonus is determined by a...

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