- The Pentagon is offering six-figure bonuses to members
of the special forces in an attempt to stop the haemorrhaging of America's
Èlite military units to far better paid jobs as civilian "mercenaries".
- About 1,500 NCOs will be eligible for a range of incentives
depending on how long they re-enlist for. The highest payments of $150,000
(£80,000) will go to the most experienced NCOs who pledge to serve
six more years.
- A further 7,000 members of the Green Berets, Navy Seals
and Air Force para-rescue crews will be offered salary increases from between
£200 and £400 month based on their experience.
- The new employment packages are aimed at staunching the
flood of experienced soldiers who have left the military in the past three
years and signed up for lucrative contracts with private security firms
in Kabul and Baghdad.
- "Our investment in these professionals is great,
and the experience gained through years of service makes them invaluable
assets to our nation's defence," Lt Col Alex Findlay, a personnel
officer with the Special Operations Command, told the New York Times.
- "Younger replacements can be trained, but experience
is irreplaceable in the current worldwide war on terrorism."
- America's special forces played a key role in the overthrow
of the Taliban in Afghanistan and a critical part in the swift overthrow
of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.
- While senior members of the Green Berets or Seals earn
about £27,000 and have a £12,000 pension, private security
firms offer up to £106,000 a year.
- "They're the best in the world at what they do,
so there is going to be that competition," said Major Ken Hoffman,
a spokesman for the US Special Operations Command.
- © Copyright of Telegraph Group Limited 2005.