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Effects of Moral Conduct Waivers on First-Term Attrition of U.S. Army Soldiers

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Master's thesis

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This study evaluates the U.S. Armys policy on granting moral conduct waivers and the effects of moral conduct waivers on the quality of service. The analysis investigates the wartime levels of recruits who were approved for different categories of conduct waivers. Research conducted includes multivariate analysis in the form of ordinary least squares regression models and probit regression models. This study employs U.S. Army MEPCOM data obtained from the Defense Manpower Data Center DMDC for soldiers who enlisted between 2000 and 2006. I analyze first-term attrition as a function of age, sex, race, AFQT, rank, bonus size, education, prior service, youth program participation such as JROTC, contract length, and all sub-categories of conduct waivers. In addition, I analyze attrition at 180 and 365 days for all cohorts. The study also includes a survival analysis to investigate whether conduct waivers affect the duration of survival during the first enlistment contract. The analysis reveals that the comparison of attrition rates between soldiers with waivers and those without does not remain constant and depends on when attrition is measured. At the beginning of the term, conduct waiver soldiers attrite at lower rates than non-waiver soldiers. However, at the end of the first term this pattern is reversed. Model results show that recruits in the Global War on Terror GWOT sample did not have a large difference in attrition rates between the waiver and non-waiver groups by the end of the first term of service. By breaking down the conduct waivers into sub-categories of waivers substance, serious, and traffic, I find that there are significant differences between each groups attrition rates. These findings raise the question of whether the conduct waiver policy needs to be revised to better suit current wartime needs and demographic changes in the recruit population.

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  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Sociology and Law

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