The "we" is the Pentagon. It seems that ten or so years ago the California National Guard was having problems recruiting manpower for Iraq and Afghanistan. So, it decided to give a bonus to those who joined the Guard. The bonuses were fairly high, sometimes as much as $15,000. In 2010 the Pentagon audited the Guard and found recruits were overpaid in an effort to fill the shortage of troops during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, the Pentagon wants this money back. As expected - although fortuitously - the politicians are working to avoid the repayment of these bonuses.