- The Washington Times - Tuesday, January 6, 2004

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

The Army has decided to offer bonuses of up to $10,000 to troops who agree to extend their tours of Iraq, Kuwait or Afghanistan, a military spokesman said yesterday.

About $63 million has been allocated in the 2004 defense budget to providing bonuses ranging from $5,000 to $10,000, said Army spokeswoman Kristen Carle.

The size of the bonus will vary according to specialty, rank and length of extension.

The offer comes as the Army embarks on a massive rotation of its forces in Iraq, with about 125,000 troops due to leave the region in the coming months and be replaced by others.

“What we try to do is to take the full mix of incentives for the men and women in the service and see that we are able to continue to attract and retain the number of skill sets we need,” Miss Carle said.

The Army announced Monday that it would extend the tours of thousands of soldiers in Iraq who were due to end their service or retire before their units return home. About 7,000 soldiers in Iraq are due either to end their service or retire before their unit is scheduled to redeploy.

Members of Congress were briefed on the plan Monday, but commanders have yet to be notified formally of the decision, which will be implemented immediately.

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