Reassessing Enlisted Reserve Attrition

A Total Force Perspective

by Sheila Nataraj Kirby, David W. Grissmer, Priscilla M. Schlegel


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This Note examines the attrition behavior of nonprior service enlisted reservists who enlisted in the Selected Reserve during FY92-FY88. The main thesis of the Note is that attrition needs to be reassessed and redefined from a total force perspective to take into account returns to the reserve components and transfers into the active force, both of which are substantial. Both overall attrition and attrition to civilian life have been declining over time, but the high rates of turbulence need to be managed better to reduce their adverse impact on unit readiness. There are marked differences among components, with the two Air components having the lowest rates.

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