National Defense Authorization Act

It’s outrageous to take back soldiers’ bonuses

It’s outrageous to take back soldiers’ bonuses

A decade ago, the Pentagon wrongly awarded substantial bonuses to thousands of people to induce them to enlist in the National Guard. Now, the department has realized its mistake and wants the money repaid.

But that demand is unfair to the soldiers who served in good faith. It should be dropped.

The problem arose after auditors looked at the records of 14,000 enlisting soldiers in California who got bonuses or tuition assistance to join. They found problems in the cases of 9,700 people, but the California Guard was able to resolve issues in about 4,000 of those cases — leaving 5,700 people owing money to the government. Some of these people are...