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Since the advent of the all-volunteer force, the U.S. Air Force has struggled with how best to attract and retain physicians and dentists. Both populations have declined in recent years. Multiyear Special Pay (MSP) is intended to keep physicians and dentists in the Air Force after their initial service obligations have expired. MSP has been successful in that eligible dentists, in particular, have often accepted it. Although most eligible physicians have heretofore refused MSP, physicians in some subpopulations, e.g., those who received residency training at military medical centers, have shown a growing inclination to accept it. Increasing MSP levels appears to increase the percentage of physicians who choose to accept MSP rather than leaving Air Force service. The authors recommend that the Air Force focus on increasing Medical Corps accessions and consider retention bonuses for dentists who have not yet completed the residencies that make them eligible for MSP.

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The research described in this report was sponsored by the United States Air Force and conducted by RAND Project AIR FORCE.

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