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Deployment Extension Stabilization Pay (DESP) program

Bonuses for National Guard Enlistment Extensions

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Updated May 31, 2009

Army National Guard Soldiers who deploy on or after September 1, 2009 will no longer be affected by involuntary STOP-LOSS. STOP-LOSS is a controversial program that allows the military to involuntary extend a member's enlistment if they are selected for deployment. Under the current STOP-LOSS rules, Soliders on active duty, in the reserves, or Army National Guard may have their enlistments involuntarily extended until 90 days following a scheduled deployment. The Army (including National Guard and Reserves) is the only branch of the military currently using the STOP-LOSS authority.

The Army is replacing the Army National Guard program with a voluntary extension program that will offer a cash bonus for eligible Soldiers who elect to extend their enlistment in order to deploy. Under the new Deployment Extension Stabilization Pay (DESP) program, National Guard members who have a service-expiration date during a scheduled deployment are eligible, if they agree to extend their enlistment to at least 90 days following the deployment. The election must be made before the deployment execution date.

Those who agree to extend their enlistment 180 to 365 days in advance of the scheduled deployment date will receive a bonus of $500 per month for each month they are in Title 10 (active duty) status. Those who wait to extend 90 to 179 days prior to the scheduled deployment only get $350 per month.

Soldiers who have an enlistment contract that expires during the deployment and choose not to extend it still may have to deploy. Under the current rules, if the Army can get six months "boots on the ground" out of the Soldier, and still return them to the States (early) in time for discharge, they will be considered for deployment.

For soldiers who extend their contracts past the mobilization plus the 90-day reintegration window, standard retention bonuses would apply.

Stop Loss affects just 1 percent of the Guard, and only for limited time periods, Guard officials said. The Army still retains the authority for future use of Stop Loss under extraordinary circumstances.

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