May 12, 2007 in Nation/World

Army to offer bonuses to stay in military

Lolita C. Baldor Associated Press
 

WASHINGTON – The Army will offer incentives to keep midlevel officers as it faces another decade or so in combat around the world, its chief of staff said Friday.

Gen. George Casey, who took over as the Army’s chief just a month ago, said the United States will “be in a period of conflict for, I believe, another five or ten years.” And the Army, which has been stretched and stressed by five difficult years at war, must be organized and equipped to deal with that challenge, he said.

The general said he is not suggesting that the Iraq or Afghanistan wars will last five more years. But Casey, who was the top commander in Iraq until February, acknowledged that building a stable, self-governing Iraq is a “long-term proposition.”

“We have been attacked and are at war with an insidious group of transnational terrorists who are attacking our way of life, and are going to continue to attack our way of life until we beat them, because I don’t see them giving up,” he said.

To stem a growing trend of critical future leaders leaving the service, Casey said the Army will unveil a plan next week to give some captains $20,000 to stay on. He said the Army also will increase opportunities for officers to go to various graduate schools as another incentive to stay in the military. The captains also would get a choice in duty assignments.

Casey said leadership development is one of his priorities, along with increasing the size of the Army, improving conditions for soldiers and their families and continuing to transform the service so it can better fight future battles.

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