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Heres how the Navy is ramping up its reenlistment bonus policy to retain sailors

Diana Stancy Correll

Sailors from more than 100 skillsets have some extra time to reenlist under the Selective Reenlistment Bonus program thanks to some new changes the Navy announced this week.

The revised policy allows sailors to reenlist up to a year ahead of their end of service date and is designed to pave the way for approximately 10,000 more sailors to join the Selective Reenlistment Bonus program, Navy officials said.

“Navy is expanding the reenlistment window for all SRB-eligible Sailors regardless of skillset. Instead of waiting until a Sailor is within 270 days of their End of Active Obligated Service, Sailors can now reenlist as far out as 365 days, providing additional flexibility and stability in their lives and careers," Capt. Angela Katson, head of enlisted plans and policy for the chief of naval personnel, said in a release.

"Although overall enlisted retention is high, the Navy continues to use the Selective Reenlistment Bonus program to offer competitive financial incentives to Sailors in needed skillsets across the Fleet,” Katson said.

The Navy also announced it’s adding 27 new skillsets to the list of those who could qualify for the reenlistment bonus, bringing the grand total of eligible ratings to 102.

The policy change applies to sailors in reenlistment zones A, those who have served up to six years; B, those who have served up to 10 years; and C, those who have served up to 14 years.

Skillsets that have been added include aviation boatswain’s mate (launch and recovery) for zones A and B; aviation electrician’s mates for zones A and C; and ships surface electrical advanced maintenance for Zone B.

Although no skillsets eligible for bonuses were cut, the Navy said payouts for 25 ratings were reduced while payouts for 21 preexisting skillsets were increased. Payouts for 29 other skillsets remained unchanged.

According to the service, the entire Selective Reenlistment Bonus budget for fiscal year 2020 is $382.7 million — with $230.1 million allocated for new contracts.

More than 4,200 sailors have already gotten $77 million under the program this fiscal year, and more than 1,200 have submitted applications and are awaiting approval to tap into $18 million in bonuses.


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