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Military Pay Rate: Upping The United States Army Active Duty Pay Scale


Need to make a quick $20K?  If you’re willing to shape up and ship out, quickly, the U.S. Army has greatly increased the military pay rate, according to an article in the Chicago Tribune. With thinning forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Army is digging into its wallet to attract recruits. New enlistees are being offered up to $20K in "quick-ship" bonuses, if they agree to attend basic training within 30 days of signing up with Uncle Sam.

With "quick-ship," a new enlistee can be in a combat situation in as little as three to four months (traditionally, recruits are given up to a year).  MSNBC reports that the United States Army active duty pay scale doesn’t end with the $20K bonus. Recruits willing to sign up for at least four years can earn as much as $45K in installments.

How does your salary compare to the new military pay rate?  Find out with our salary calculator.

Army Records Military Pay

This isn’t the first time that the U. S. Army has offered signing bonuses. Back in March, the U.S. Army offered $15K bonuses for soldiers who agreed to a “quick-ship” deployment schedule. However, as the war continues, recruiting has been more difficult, so the U.S. Army keeps sweetening the pot. Douglas Smith, a spokesman for U.S. Army Recruiting, told the Chicago Tribune, “It’s been a very tough recruiting environment for several years.”

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Army Active Pay for Anyone?

In addition to the financial bonuses, the U.S. Army is lowering its requirements. According to MSNBC, the U.S. Army has made the following changes: raising the enlistment age to 42, allowing recruits with non-offensive tattoos (interestingly, the Marines are going away from tattoos; anchors away), offering a $2000 bonus to active soldiers who refer a new recruit, accepting more recruits with GEDs (instead of high school diplomas), accepting overweight recruits who agree to slim down, and processing some recruits who test positive in drug screening tests.

United States Pay Scale Army

So how much does all this cost? According to the Congressional Budget Office, the U.S. Army spent $700 million on pay and benefits for recruiters, $583 million on advertising/recruiting and $353 million on enlistment bonuses and in 2006.

Not everyone is happy with the financial enticements. Donna Lieberman, executive director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, expressed concerns to MSNBC about low-income young people who are targeted by recruiters: “I think as the incentives increase, the potential for misrepresentation and abuse increases.”

Irene Fiala, a sociology professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, told MSNBC that the U.S. Army is trying to change with the times: “Uncle Sam pointing his finger at you saying, ‘We want you,’ isn’t cutting it for today’s kids. Today’s kids are saying, ‘Yeah, you want me and so does GE and so does MIT, so what else are you going to offer me?’ ” 

How does your salary compare to Army active pay and bonuses? The PayScale Salary Calculator is a quick and easy way to compare positions. When you want powerful salary data and comparisons customized for your exact position, be sure to build a complete profile by taking PayScale’s full salary survey.


Dr. Al Lee

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