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Abstract

The Air Force has a continuing interest in reducing high attrition and training-block failure (washback) rates. High attrition requires a significantly greater input into the schoolhouses, increasing training and recruiting costs. High washback rates reduce schoolhouse capacity by requiring that seats be set aside for students who need to retake training blocks, and they incur greater costs by increasing training time. This report describes research into these issues for nine career fields: air traffic control, combat control, pararescue, aerospace ground equipment, explosive ordnance disposal, operations intelligence, network intelligence analysis, Far East linguist, and Middle East linguist. The authors find that significant savings can be realized through reductions in training attrition and washbacks. Interviews and focus groups provided a wealth of information that was not apparent from an analysis of the personnel and training databases. In addition, although there were concerns common across career fields, every career field studied had unique issues. This underscores the need for caution in applying findings in one career field to the circumstances in other career fields, even if they are ostensibly similar.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Air Traffic Control, AFSC 1C1X1

  • Chapter Three

    Combat Control, AFSC 1C2X1

  • Chapter Four

    Operations Intelligence, AFSC 1N0X1

  • Chapter Five

    Far East and Middle East Linguists, AFSCs 1N3X4X and 1N3X5X

  • Chapter Six

    Network Intelligence Analysis, AFSC 1N4X1

  • Chapter Seven

    Aerospace Ground Equipment, AFSC 2A6X2

  • Chapter Eight

    Pararescue, AFSC 1T2X1

  • Chapter Nine

    Explosive Ordnance Disposal, AFSC 3E8X1

  • Chapter Ten

    Cross-Cutting Issues

  • Chapter Eleven

    Final Thoughts

  • Appendix A

    Interview Protocol

  • Appendix B

    Student Questionnaire

  • Appendix C

    Results of Questionnaire Data

  • Appendix D

    The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery, Physical Ability and Stamina Test, and Federal Aviation Administration Air Traffic Selection and Training Test

  • Appendix E

    Trainees' Perceptions of Injustice

  • Appendix F

    Analytical Approach

  • Appendix G

    Aerospace Ground Equipment Personnel Mathematical Training Model

  • Appendix H

    Length of the Technical Training Program

The research reported here was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation technical report series. RAND technical reports may include research findings on a specific topic that is limited in scope or intended for a narrow audience; present discussions of the methodology employed in research; provide literature reviews, survey instruments, modeling exercises, guidelines for practitioners and research professionals, and supporting documentation; or deliver preliminary findings. All RAND reports undergo rigorous peer review to ensure that they meet high standards for research quality and objectivity.

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