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Military manpower policy is often crafted by policymakers without an in-depth understanding of the life experiences and views of junior enlisted personnel. It is plausible to expect that some policymakers attribute the attitudes and experiences of these young soldiers to such features as youth or lack of an advanced education and may thus believe themselves able to empathize with this population group by recalling their own parallel life experiences. However, this approach oversimplifies the life experiences of these families and neglects the reality that most policymakers and professional managers have never experienced the compendium of problems these couples face, such as youth, lack of education, financial difficulties, emotional and physical distance from extended family, and invisibility in a large bureaucracy. At the center of this book are the personal stories of three junior enlisted spouses, told in their own voices and selected to emphasize the dilemmas numerous enlisted families face. The stories provide insight into the experiences and attitudes of other junior enlisted families. Those interested or involved in the military, or those who live a military lifestyle — at any pay grade — will find these stories both useful and engaging.

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Table of Contents

  • Chapter One

    Introduction

  • Chapter Two

    Dana's Story

  • Chapter Three

    Jennifer's Story

  • Chapter Four

    Toni's Story

  • Chapter Five

    Conclusion

The research described in this report was performed under the auspices of RAND's National Security Research Division.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1993 to 2003. RAND monograph/reports presented major research findings that addressed the challenges facing the public and private sectors. They included executive summaries, technical documentation, and synthesis pieces.

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