Hoping to expand, the Army has some huge incentives aimed at convincing soldiers to re-enlist

In this April 10, 2013 photo released by the U.S. Army, U.S. Soldiers with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 2nd Infantry Division cross the Tarnak river in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province, Afghanistan on a two-day mission to clear the area of explosives caches. The Taliban have announced they will launch their spring offensive on Sunday, April 28, 2013, signaling plans to step up attacks as the weather warms across Afghanistan, making both travel and fighting easier. (AP Photo/Sgt. Kimberly Hackbarth, U.S. Army)

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To combat a shortage of troops, the Army has announced that it will triple the amount it will pay in bonuses this year to over $380 million — with the goal of getting soldiers to re-enlist. By committing to another four or more years, some soldiers could get up to a $90,000 bonus.

The enticing incentives follow Congress’ decision to enlarge the Army and comes as the armed service hopes to reverse some of the downsizing that happened under the Obama administration. The move also comes after President Trump has promised to increase military personnel and power.

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“We’ve got a ways to go,” Gen. Robert Abrams, head of U.S. Army Forces Command, said in an interview. “I’m not going to kid you. It’s been difficult, because a lot of these kids had plans, and their families had plans.”

The president has unveiled a plan to grow the Army to 540,000 soldiers, with the goal of having 476,000 soldiers by October. To fulfill that goal, the Army must find 6,000 new soldiers, convince 9,000 current soldiers to commit to another term and add 1,000 officers.

According to Mst. Sgt. Mark Thompson, the new bonuses have convinced 2,200 soldiers to re-enlist since the end of May. Usually, around one-third of soldiers re-enlist each year, but the Army’s goal this year will require nearly three quarters of them to sign back on for another four years.

“Time is our biggest challenge,” Maj. Gen. Jason Evans said.

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