Earn Money, Try Not to Die
The U.S. military is having the occasional teeny-tiny recruiting problem, what with the whole non-quagmire in Iraq and soldiers dying and stuff. But, the military has a solution: throw money at potential recruits.
The Army is test-marketing a program in which recruits can choose money for college and/or... just money. As of January, the Army Advantage Program will be available to recruits in Cleveland, Ohio; Albany, NY; Montgomery, Alabama; Seattle, Washington; and San Antonio, Texas. While recruits will still be able to get money for college, if they enter through the new program, they'll get $40,000 for a 5 year commitment to the Army ($20,000 for the Reserves), but they won't be eligible for other bonuses. They will have to submit some sort of proof that they plan to use the money to buy a house or start a business, but if the house or business plans "fall through," they'll get to keep the money, so there's absolutely no potential for abuse there at all.
Naturally, this money will be available to even the youngest, most impressionable recruits, but I'm sure their parents will counsel that volunteering to be a wartime soldier for 5 years for money isn't necessarily the best idea. I mean, at least the parents in Seattle probably will. If they live in the other cities specified in the article, all of which have below-median incomes and above average poverty rates (according to Census Bureau data), well, $40,000 might trump that counseling, which is probably the point.
In totally unrelated news, the death gratuity for those killed in combat is holding steady at $100,000.
Army will offer up to $40,000 to some recruits [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
How the Army bonus program will work [Cleveland Plain Dealer]
State & County QuickFacts [U.S. Census Bureau]
DoD Announces Increase in Death Gratuity and SGLI [DefenseLink]