US Navy PO2 Christopher Menzie
- Like other US service branches, the US Navy is struggling to recruit and retain talented sailors.
- Now the Navy is offering experienced Naval Special Warfare sailors with bonuses up to $100,000.
The Navy is taking a proactive approach to retain its special warfare sailors.
With recruitment down, the Navy is trying to retain senior petty officers within the Naval Special Warfare (NSW) community with bonuses of up to $100,000 to select sailors, according to a naval admin (NAVADM) message sent by Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Richard J. Cheeseman Jr.
On January 10, NAVADMIN 004/23 released the new bonus retention program details for SEAL special warfare operation (026X) and special warfare combatant craft board operator (052X) classifications.
The program “is part of the overarching effort of the Navy to size, shape, and stabilize the force,” Cheeseman wrote.
By law, any sailor can receive no more than $300,000 in bonuses over their career.
To be eligible for the retention program, NSW senior enlisted sailors with the O26X or O52X Navy enlisted sailors in paygrades E-7 and above, who have between 20 and 28 years of active service, will be eligible to apply for the NSW Senior Enlisted Retention Bonus (SSRB).
Sailors must be serving on active duty in the Active Component and have the favorable recommendation of the commanding officer (CO) for receipt of NSW SSRB.
Some sailors would be deemed ineligible for the bonus retention program under specific criteria.
Special Warfare Combatant-craft Crewman at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia in July 2010.
US Navy/PO2 Matt Daniel
Phase One of the program targets NSW sailors that are E-7s and have between 20 to 24 years of service. O26X/O52X E-7 sailors can earn up to $80,000 in retention bonuses, with $20,000 awarded each year.
Phase Two of the program targets NSW sailors that are E-8s who have between 24 to 26 years of service. They can earn up to $50,000 in retention bonuses, with $25,000 offered each year.
Phase Three of the program targets NSW sailors that are E-9s and have between 26 to 28 years of service. These sailors have the ability to earn up to $100,000 in bonuses, with $25,000 offered each year. Sailors with 27 and 28 years of service can sign a contract for their 29th and 30th years of service.
Sailors may not submit their retirement paperwork while they are still under the SSRB contract. SSRB contracts are for a minimum of two and a maximum of three years. Sailors with receive a lump-sum payment each year on the anniversary date of the retention contract.
“Reenlistments and extensions may be combined to align service dates for the maximum opportunity, up to a reenlistment of 6 years and an extension of up to 12 months,” the Navy stated.
Back in August, the Navy addressed shortages in other Military Occupational Specialities by increasing the bonuses for critical jobs. Future sailors and prior service members from the Navy and any of the services are now eligible for enlistment bonuses and loan repayment up to $115,000, according to a message released by Navy Recruiting Command.
“The maximum current enlistment bonus is $50,000, and the maximum loan repayment is $65,000,” Rear Adm. Lex Walker, Commander of Navy Recruiting Command, said.
“They are not mutually exclusive, so if a Future Sailor maximizes both, that adds up to a life-altering $115,000 and the opportunity to serve in the world’s finest Navy.”