A Critical Look at Military Recruitment and Retention Policies
RAND CORP SANTA MONICA CA
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Since the end of conscription, the military services have periodically found it difficult to attract and retain desired numbers of enlistees. Analyses of the many proposals for solving these problems have concentrated on the effects on recruiting and retention and on the monetary costs. Little attention has been paid to the less obvious costs to the services - costs in years of service, changes in experience levels of the force, and potential losses in productivity among the enlisted force. Adequate assessment of manpower policies requires consideration of the patterns of enlistee losses from attrition and failure to reenlist. Also, variations in enlistee effectiveness and costs are as important as variations in retention in assessing enlistee worth. Effectiveness and costs differ not only among enlistees but also across time in the military careers of individual enlistees. This dissertation provides methodologies which permit moving beyond simple counts of enlistments and reenlistments to measures of the short- and long-term costs and benefits accruing from policies designed to stimulate accessions and retention. They provide a common basis by which disparate measures - increases in enlistments under a set of incentives, bonus elasticities for reenlistments, and so-forth- can be compared. The statistical nature of these techniques recognizes the randomness in the attrition and reenlistment behavior of individual enlistees. The basis for these techniques is the retention function, which describes the random length of service of an individual enlistee.
- Personnel Management and Labor Relations