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Study of Navy Enlisted Attrition: Race, Ethnicity, and Type of Occupation

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Master's thesis

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The primary objective of this study is to gain a better understanding of Navy first-term enlisted attrition among racialethnic minorities by comparing attrition rates in technical and nontechnical occupations. The study uses a special database developed by the Defense Manpower Data Center in Monterey, CA, that contains the records of 186,938 male recruits who enlisted in the Navy during calendar years 1996 through 2000. These individuals are tracked over a 4-year period to determine rates of failure to complete the initial enlistment contract. Cross-tabulation and frequency analysis are first used to examine attrition rates by race, racialethnic group, and ethnicity. The attrition behavior of these groups is then investigated using two factors shown to correlate with attrition Armed Forces Qualification Test category and educational Tier Group. Finally, the attrition behavior of these groups is examined by assigned occupation, grouped by technical and nontechnical categories. The study finds that occupational assignment is related to the attrition behavior of first-term enlisted personnel, and that the relationship is different between Whites and most minorities. On average, Non-Hispanic Asians and Non-Hispanic Whites are more likely to attrite when assigned to a nontechnical job than to a technical one in contrast, most minorities are far more likely to attrite when serving in a technical job. Further research is recommended to explore these results and to suggest approaches that might assist in lowering attrition rates among minorities, particularly those assigned to technical occupations.

Subject Categories:

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

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