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Recruiting and Retention, A Force Planning Dilemma

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Strategy research project

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In the future, the U. S. Armed Forces may suffer negative force planning consequences because of an inability to recruit and retain the quality personnel necessary to perform its mission, and transform itself for the 21st century. As the economy rebounds from the post September 11th slow down, and the Department of Defense intensifies its transformation, it is increasingly important to examine the factors and variables necessary to sustain the quality and commitment of the men and women who will make up the force of the future. Different types of battlefields, changing roles and missions, multiple flash points around the globe - all of these factors and more dictate the need for maintaining a high level of manpower quality. The focus of this paper is on the trends and factors influencing recruiting and retention, and how they may impact the quality and readiness of the future force. Among the trends and factors influencing recruiting are demographics, economics, education, patriotism, and propensity to serve in the military. Retention is impacted by economics, but also by organizational leadership, job satisfaction, compensation benefits, and quality of life. What are the critical factors What is the magnitude and direction of the underlying trends Finally, how will the militarys ability to recruit and retain quality personnel influence future force structure, and other areas that will determine whether the men and women in the military can meet the future needs of the military services transformation efforts, and the needs of our national security. This paper will begin by primarily discussing the need for quality personnel, then recruiting trends, followed by retention concerns, and finally it will proffer some recommendations for enhancing these areas, as well as new approaches for the future.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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