The Army will now pay up to $50,000 in signing bonuses to new recruits – up from the previous $40,000 cap – as it tries to recover from recruitment losses in recent years.

“We are still living the implications of 2020 and the onset of COVID, when the school systems basically shut down,” Maj. Gen. Kevin Vereen, head of Army Recruiting Command, told AP. “We lost a full class of young men and women that we didn’t have contact with, face-to-face.”

The new top level is for highly skilled recruits who join for six years.

“You know, I think it does put us in one of the top tier levels of competitive businesses,” said Sgt. 1st Class Mary James, a recruiter in Ohio.

Army photo by Alun Thomas