Congressional Briefing - June 14, 2010

Cash Incentives and Military Enlistment, Attrition, and Reenlistment

troops take enlistment oath


James Hosek, Director, Forces and Resources Policy Center, RAND National Defense Research Institute

Beth Asch, Associate Director, Forces and Resources Policy Center, RAND National Defense Research Institute


Monday, June 14, 2010


1:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.


2212 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington, D.C.

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About the Program

The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) budget for enlistment and reenlistment bonuses increased substantially between FY00 and FY08—from $266 million to $625 million (in 2008 dollars) for enlistment bonuses and from $872 million to $1.4 billion for reenlistment bonuses. Congress asked DoD to determine the effect of bonuses on wartime military recruitment and retention efforts and on attrition.

This briefing will describe, among other things

  • the number and average amount of bonuses
  • recruiting and retention in the absence of bonus increases
  • targeting of bonuses to specific issues
  • the cost-effectiveness of bonuses relative to other resources.

About the Speakers

James Hosek's research focuses on national security manpower in the areas of recruiting, retention, compensation, deployment, personnel quality, and the science and engineering workforce. He is a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School and editor-in-chief of the RAND Journal of Economics, a leading peer-reviewed journal on industrial organization and microeconomics. He chaired the Economic Advisory Council of the California Institute for Federal Policy Research and served on several Quadrennial Reviews of Military Compensation. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

Beth Asch has been involved in and led many RAND studies on the recruitment, retention, compensation, retirement, and performance incentives of personnel in the U.S. military and federal civil service. Her recent research projects include analyzing retirement system alternatives for the active and reserve components, analyzing compensation alternatives to retain officers, the recruitment of minorities in the military, the effect of cash incentives on recruiting and attrition, and increasing the supply of personnel with language capability in the Intelligence Community. She is a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School. She received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of Chicago.

About RAND

The RAND Corporation is a nonprofit institution that helps improve policy and decisionmaking through research and analysis. RAND focuses on the issues that matter most such as health, education, national security, international affairs, law and business, the environment, and more. As a nonpartisan organization, RAND operates independent of political and commercial pressures. We serve the public interest by helping lawmakers reach informed decisions on the nation's pressing challenges.

Further Inquiries

For further information about this event, contact the Office of Congressional Relations at or call (703) 413-1100, ext. 5395.