WASHINGTON – The Pentagon has reneged on its offer to pay a $15,000 bonus to members of the National Guard and Army Reserve who agree to extend their enlistments by six years, according to Sen. Patty Murray (D-Seattle).I love to tee off on the Bushies as much as the next guy--especially when they're screwing soldiers (which they do...a lot)--but this one isn't really their fault. You see, Atrios's ellipses leave out a very important paragraph, though I doubt he knew it.
A Pentagon spokeswoman, Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke, confirmed the bonuses had been canceled, saying they violated Pentagon policies because they duplicated other programs. She said Guard and Reserve members would be eligible for other bonuses.
The bonuses were offered in January to Active Guard and Reserve and military technician soldiers who were serving overseas. In April, the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs ordered the bonuses stopped, Murray said.This is um, just wrong. See, the bonuses were never supposed to be offered* to AGRs and technicians. Bonuses are for the "one weekend a month, two weeks a year" soldiers, known in the guard as "M-day" soldiers. AGRs and technicians have full-time jobs in the Guard in which the pay is based on either the active-duty military scale or the GS government pay scale, respectively. Why, honestly, would you need to pay those soldiers a $15,000 bonus when they'll re-enlist because they have to in order to keep their jobs?
I hate when journalists who don't understand the intricacies of the military get people worked up over b.s.
Update: I received an e-mail that asked why active duty soldiers would get bonuses if AGRs and techs don't. It's simple. AGRs and technicians are full-timers for a state. Active duty soldiers are usually forced to transfer to a different unit every few years with very little choice (if any) in where they're going. AGRs and technicians can have relatively normal lives, staying in the same community their entire careers if they so choose. In fact, a large number of AGR positions are in non-deployable sections of state headquarters, too, meaning that, unless specifically tasked out for one reason or another, they can most often avoid deployments.
*The original post said the bonuses were never offered to AGRs and techs. This, obviously, is not the case. What I meant to say is that the regulations never officially allowed them to be offered to those soldiers. In other words, some retention NCO screwed the pooch on this one.