Accession Number:



Predictors of Noncitizen and Immigrant Retention in the U.S. Military

Descriptive Note:

Technical Report

Corporate Author:

Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

Personal Author(s):

Report Date:


Pagination or Media Count:



This thesis applies quantitative methods to analyze attrition patterns and their demographic and preaccession predictors among noncitizen and immigrant groups to assess the role of immigrants as a source of military manpower. Previous studies of noncitizen recruits have compared noncitizens to citizen recruits, but this study also looks at differences among the various noncitizen groups in terms of ethnicity and regions of origin. Past research has found that Hispanics, the largest group of noncitizen and immigrant recruits, do face unique challenges in their military experience when compared to citizens. This thesis looks at differences between Hispanics and other immigrant groups. This study uses data from the Defense Manpower Data Center DMDC for all enlisted service members who served in all branches of the Armed Forces between 2000 and 2012. Our results show that immigrants reenlist at higher rates than nonimmigrants, citizens and noncitizens. Specifically, both immigrants and noncitizens from Asia reenlist at higher rates than citizens from North America. Additionally, our ethnicity interactions find that Pacific Islander noncitizens and immigrants reenlist at higher rates. In terms of attrition, both noncitizens and immigrants as a whole were less likely to separate for all five reasons body fat, dependency, drugsalcohol, disciplinary and unqualified, even with regional and ethnic interactions. Last, noncitizens are more likely to use the GI bill, but when adding interactions for region, the results showed that Asian and South American noncitizens were less likely to use the benefit. More in-depth research on the predictors of attrition and retention can serve as a guide for future recruiting and personnel policy implementation, as can the study of the various ethnic groups among Hispanics.

Subject Categories:

  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Sociology and Law

Distribution Statement: