Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska –
There is a little-known incentive for National Guard Soldiers to receive a sizable bonus after their 11th year of service. The 297th Recruiting and Retention Battalion is working to identify those who are eligible and who may not know about it.
This issue being brought to light stems from a lack of awareness for an incentive in the newly implemented Blended Retirement System titled “continuation pay”.
“It’s been a nation-wide issue, for Soldiers who are missing the window to apply” said Sgt. 1st Class Kevin Baker, the Alaska Army National Guard Incentives Manager. “We’ve been really trying to spearhead this problem. I think our retention rates will continue to climb, when we tend to the needs of our Soldiers.”
This one-time payout is available to all National Guard members enrolled in the BRS who are able to enter into an agreement to perform additional obligated service of no less than 4 years. What this means for Soldiers, is If they plan on staying in the organization for 15 or more years, they have a bonus waiting for them at the 11th year of service.
The size of the bonus is contingent on whether a Soldier is a traditional Guardsman who drills one weekend a month, Active Guard Reserve, or a federal technician. But Soldiers in all three categories are eligible.
Currently, more than 160 Soldiers in the Alaska Army National Guard are enrolled in BRS. However, recently, the AKARNG personnel staff has noticed a trend in the number of Soldiers who weren’t aware of the impactful mid-career incentive.
Active Guard Reserve (AGR)/Full Time Support (FTS)) personnel may be eligible for a continuation pay multiplier of 2.5 to 13 times your monthly basic pay. Members of the National Guard or Reserve in a drilling status may be eligible to receive a multiplier of 0.5 to six times their monthly basic pay (as if serving on active-duty).
Pay-rate multipliers may be based on service-specific retention needs, specialty skills and hard-to-fill positions, similar to career field incentives and re-enlistment bonuses. Each service determines and publishes its own guidance on continuation pay.
in January 2018, the retirement package offered to servicemembers DOD-wide was modernized and the BRS was born. All new recruits and servicemembers who entered the military after Jan 1., 2018, are already enrolled in the program. There was a brief opt-in period in 2018 for servicemembers who did not want to be grandfathered into the former retirement package known as the Legacy Retirement System.