This summer, top leaders of the US Army met for the “Solution Summit.” The group meeting met to discuss the future of the Army, and how to retain the best the Army has to offer. One such policy discussion was on the idea of performance-based retention incentives. The idea behind the discussion was to show belief in those hard-working individuals within the Army. The policy will continue to be a topic of discussion among military leaders throughout the year.
Other ideas that were discussed and will be moved forward for further research are a service-wide mentorship program, peer feedback, the end of alcohol restrictions in the barracks, non-chargeable leave after re-enlistments, added GI Bill benefits, and participation bonuses. These ideas will need to be researched by the Army, Department of Defense, and potentially Congress, depending on the policy discussion.
Performance-based incentives are a new idea, and there is not information on the proposal to know how it will be implemented. The goal will be to manage both the pay grade and the job, and to retain those positions needed in both categories. According to a 2020 RAND Report, there was previously a performance-based program from 1958 to 1976 which was “unpopular” and “singling out extra pay was unpleasant for defense managers.” The report further reports that the reward for performance was through faster promotion and pay would be reflected through the time-in-grade pay table.
There is currently a bonus program for enlisted soldiers. The program is based on the job, rank and skills needed to perform their job, but does not take performance into account. The possibility of the policy being tried on a specific MOS will also be reviewed.
For the moment, it is not known when the performance specific reviewed would be reviewed or determined by, but the discussions will continue monthly through virtual meetings for the Army’s leaders. Time will tell what the ultimate determination will be.