The Bounty Hunters

There’s a fine, fine line between bonus and bounty.

Department of the Army civilian employees now constitute a team of bounty hunters over 240,000 strong.

Effective March 15, Army civilians and — get this — Army retirees and members of the active duty Army, Guard, and Reserve, became eligible for a $2,000 enlistment referral bonus. No need to sell plasma any longer; just point a prospect to a waiting Army recruiter, and if he or she enlists, ships to boot camp, graduates, and successfully completes advanced individual training, that cool cash can be yours. But just like redeeming rewards of the current millennium, qualifying for and collecting that booty can be tricky. Prior to the prospect’s first meeting with a recruiter, the bounty hunter must make the referral via or (800) 223-3735, ext. 6-0473. Army National Guard recruits can refer via or (866) GO-GUARD (566-2472).

Prospects cannot be immediate family members (so no sending son, daughter, brother, sister, father, or mother downrange!), and bounty hunters cannot be professional body snatchers — they cannot serve in a recruiting or retention position. Oh, and the prospect cannot have prior service.

According to Army officials, more than 31,000 referrals have been made under the program from all sources, though they did not know the number of payouts. Repeated trips to the trough? “Sure,” says the Army. “No limit.” And how does the IRS view this? The bounty, uh, bonus, is treated as taxable income and is paid by the Defense Financing and Accounting Service, according to the Army.

Hurry! The program ends Dec. 31 but might be extended.

Who’s on your block?

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