Pentagon to reimburse paid back bonuses mistakenly sent to 17k soldiers
The Pentagon is promising to help about 17,000 soldiers who were ordered to repay reenlistment bonuses they unknowingly received illegally. Soldiers are owing at least $15,000 each, having been misled over their eligibility for the bonuses.
On Tuesday, acting Undersecretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness, Peter Levine, announced the Pentagon would reimburse soldiers who were forced to repay reenlistment bonuses their superiors had promised them, despite the soldiers being ineligible.
Numerous soldiers were deceived into reenlisting or extending their tours after being promised high bonuses in an attempt to retain troops for the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. After the discovery in 2010 that 17,000 members of the California Army National Guard were not entitled to the bonuses that started at $15,000 each, soldiers were targeted by federal auditors to retrieve the money.
In October, Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter promised to resolve the issue and halted collections, but it may ultimately take nine months for this all to come to a close.
On Tuesday, Levine said that the repayment “process is in place,” and stated that “we believe that we can complete all these cases well before the July 1st deadline."
Levine also touched on the fact that the soldiers who were ordered to repay their bonuses had been misled by superiors, saying, "The error was an error on the part of the government as to whether they were eligible" for the bonuses.