Sources and Characteristics of Prior Service Accessions

Evidence from One Cohort

by Judith C. Fernandez, Dennis N. De Tray


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Enlisted military personnel who leave the active forces form a valuable pool of trained personnel from which come entrants to the Selected Reserves and the Individual Ready Reserves. In addition, members of this pool may later return to active duty, where they may function as alternatives to nonprior service accessions or to reenlistments. To better understand this source of trained manpower, the authors followed the 1974 cohort of active duty enlistees over time, and investigated the flows among three components of the U.S. armed forces — active duty, Selected Reserves (SR), and Individual Ready Reserves (IRR) — and the flows between the civilian and military sectors. The findings indicate there is a large untapped pool of potential prior service accessions from which to attract personnel into the active forces, and little evidence that drawing from this pool will divert trained personnel from the Selected Reserves.

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