The Navy offers a monetary bonus for enlisted sailors (Active Duty and Full Time Support [FTS]) who agree to re-enlist in "shortage" ratings (jobs). This is called the Selective Reenlistment Bonus (SRB) plan. The program provides a monetary incentive to sailors with critical skills and experience to stay Navy and rewards sailors who possess special training in skills that are most needed in the fleet. The program also helps the Navy meet critical skill reenlistment benchmarks and enhances the Navy's ability to size, shape and stabilize manning – and because of that, the award levels and availability are adjusted as reenlistment requirements for specific ratings and skill sets are met or changed.
How much of a bonus a sailor is eligible for depends on several factors:
- The "Multiplier" assigned to the rating possessed by the individual.
- The member’s monthly base pay.
- The member's bonus zone.
- The number of years the individual is re-enlisting.
- The existence of a “cap” on the bonus.
The bonus "zone" is simply the amount of time the person has been in the military at the time of re-enlistment:
- Zone A -- Sailors between 17 months and 6 years of service.
- Zone B -- Sailors between 6 years and 10 years of service.
- Zone C -- Sailors between 10 and 14 years of service.
The program is currently organized with three tiers, each with attached multiple levels and eligibility dates as well as award ceilings (caps) on specific rates and Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) combinations.
Tier one lists the most critical skills. Bonus caps are set at $30,000 / $45,000 / $60,000 / $75,000 / $100,000. Sailors who qualify at this level are eligible to re-enlist any time in the fiscal year and receive a bonus.
Tier two caps are set at $30,000 / $45,000 / $60,000 / $75,000. Sailors who qualify at this level must be within the same fiscal year and within 90 days of their end-of-service date (EAOS) in order to re-enlist and get the bonus.
Tier three lists the lowest priority skills and also includes reserve and full-time support ratings. Caps are set at $30,000 / $45,000. Sailors who qualify at this level must be within the same fiscal year and within 90 days of their EAOS in order to re-enlist and get the bonus.
The nuclear field is no longer listed as a separate SRB tier but has been folded into the various tiers, with most being in tier one.
Related to the tier two and three timeframe requirement for reenlisting - if the individual is eligible for combat zone tax exclusion (CZTE), then the sailor may be authorized to reenlist anytime within the same fiscal year as their EAOS, so long as the sailor’s reenlistment occurs in a month during which CZTE qualification applies.
Sailors may also have multiple NECs that qualify for an SRB. When this is the case they may qualify based on their primary or secondary NEC, provided that they are filling a billet requiring those NECs. Exceptions to the rule: Those sailors assigned to (or with orders to) Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) platforms who possess multiple NECs that are specifically required for LCS assignment are authorized to reenlist for the most lucrative SRB-eligible NEC, regardless of assigned billet.
Sometimes it happens that a sailor may be qualified for multiple tiers, due to multiple NECs. When this is the case, the highest tier applies. Using the example from the SRB message, a GM with NEC 0814 and 9536 in Zone B would qualify for tier 2 "GM 9536".
Sailors may also have multiple NECs, as just noted. When this is the case they may qualify based on their primary or secondary NEC, provided that they are filling a billet requiring those NECs. Exceptions to the rule: Those sailors assigned to (or with orders to) Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) platforms who possess multiple NECs that are specifically required for LCS assignment are authorized to reenlist for the most lucrative SRB-eligible NEC, regardless of assigned billet.
How Bonuses Are Paid
How the bonus is paid out is that the individual receives half the amount of the bonus (minus taxes) when reenlisting, and the remaining half is divided equally by the number of remaining years in the obligation and paid in the month of the anniversary of reenlistment (this was changed in 2012 – prior to that, it was paid annually in October, the beginning of the fiscal year). With very few exceptions, it’s all direct deposit these days – no checks.
Let’s run an example, shall we? Let’s propose that we have an E-5 Hospital Corpsman - HM2 - requesting to reenlist for 6 years. He’ll have served 8 years on his reenlistment date and possesses NEC 8403 (that’s Fleet Marine Force Reconnaissance Independent Duty Corpsman). Looking at the 2015 SRB message, we find that he’s in Tier one with the following information:
|Rating||NEC||Zone A||Zone B||Zone C|
So, with 8 years of service, he would fall in Zone B, which lists a re-enlistment bonus multiplier of 5.0. His monthly base pay as an E5 over 8 years when he will reenlist is $2,952. Now we use that information in the formula to compute his bonus amount:
|Bonus Multiplier||X||Monthly Base Pay||X||Number of Years Reenlisting||=||Reenlistment Bonus|
That figure would then be subject to any cap on the bonus – in the case of our hypothetical Corpsman, according to the SRB Message, the SRB for an HM with the 8403 NEC is capped at $60,000.
So, when the HM2 reenlists, his account will be about $30,000 larger (minus taxes, remember), and look forward to having about another $6,000 (minus taxes) each following year in that month for the next 5 years.
Note that an SRB must be applied for – the request is submitted between 120-35 days prior to reenlistment date, and “usually” is finished being processed by 2 weeks prior to the reenlistment. The lead time is to allow for verification of eligibility factors. This is where making sure you and your Career Counselor are on the same page, and to minimize any hassles.
Subject to Changes
Sometimes, there is a NAVADMIN message promulgated between the submission of an SRB request and the reenlistment date. Usually, the NAVADMIN states how changes will be put into effect: if there is an increase in the bonus, that applies immediately – if there’s a decrease in the bonus, there’s a 30- day delay (from the release of the message) in taking effect.
Remember - as mentioned earlier, Reenlistment Bonuses are subject to change. While one can expect to see the SRB levels updated at least twice a year, for the very latest message concerning Selective Reenlistment Bonuses, check the Navy NAVADMIN Messages.
The information used in this article comes from NAVADMIN 106/15, released 01 May 2015.