Cover: The Effects of Perstempo on Officer Retention in the U.S. Military

The Effects of Perstempo on Officer Retention in the U.S. Military

Published Apr 29, 2002

by Ronald D. Fricker

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Are increased deployments in the U.S. military associated with decreased retention? This report looks at retention of military officers in the decade following the Gulf War, as deployments increased and force numbers decreased. The study casts doubt on hypotheses that say "more deployment causes lower retention" or "hostile deployment causes lower retention." While servicemembers often give negative opinions of deployment in surveys of likes and dislikes of military service, these opinions do not seem to translate into actual behavior. In fact, this report, which evaluates the actual behavior of officers leaving military service in relation to how much deployment they experienced, does not find an association between increasing deployment and increasing separation rates. Officers were modeled at two major phases in their careers; hostile and nonhostile deployments were accounted for and measured accordingly in analyzing retention rates.

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 monograph report series. The monograph/report was a product of RAND 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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