Secretary of Defense Ash Carter announced Wednesday that he was ordering the Pentagon to suspend its efforts to take back cash bonuses for re-enlistment that were paid to thousands of soldiers from the California National Guard serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, Fox News reported.
About 10,000 California National Guard members were ordered to pay back enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more from military recruiters that committed fraud at the peak of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, Breitbart News previously reported.
Carter said there was a process in place for soldiers looking to be relieved of such obligations, and “hundreds” of soldiers have been granted relief.
“But that process has simply moved too slowly and in some cases imposed unreasonable burdens on service members,” Carter said. “That is unacceptable.”
Carter did not release a timeframe for the suspension, but said it would be in place until he was “satisfied that our process is working effectively.”
California National Guard officials offered soldiers re-enlistment bonuses of $15,000 or more because of a troop shortage at the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars through a Recruiting Assistance Program.
In 2010, the Obama Administration conducted an investigation that determined there was a problem with RAP enlistments where thousands of dollars in “improper payments” were made to California National Guard soldiers.