Europe

Carter promises to resolve conflict over Guard bonuses

  • FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, Robert D'Andrea, a retired Army major and Iraq war veteran, holds a frame with a photo of his team on his first deployment to Iraq in his home in Los Angeles. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)

    FILE - In this Friday, Oct. 21, 2016 file photo, Robert D'Andrea, a retired Army major and Iraq war veteran, holds a frame with a photo of his team on his first deployment to Iraq in his home in Los Angeles. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times via AP, File)  (The Associated Press)

  • FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, California Army National Guard soldiers watch the arrival of the body of soldier Sean Walsh, who died on Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan, at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)

    FILE - In this Nov. 30, 2011 file photo, California Army National Guard soldiers watch the arrival of the body of soldier Sean Walsh, who died on Nov. 16 during a combat operation in Afghanistan, at Moffett Federal Airfield in Mountain View, Calif. Nearly 10,000 California National Guard soldiers have been ordered to repay huge enlistment bonuses a decade after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. (AP Photo/Paul Sakuma, File)  (The Associated Press)

Defense Secretary Ash Carter is promising to resolve a festering conflict over demands that thousands of National Guard soldiers repay enlistment bonuses they were given a decade ago after signing up to serve in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Pentagon demanded the money back after audits revealed overpayments by the California National Guard under pressure to fill ranks and hit enlistment goals.

Carter was asked about the matter during a news conference Tuesday in Paris.

He said the issue is complex and is being handled by the deputy secretary of defense, Robert Work. Carter said the issue touches on a core principle, namely, that all who volunteer to serve in the military deserve gratitude and respect. He did not say how he believes the bonus repayment problem can be solved.