Cost and Efficiency in Military Specialty Training

by Robert M. Gay, Gary R. Nelson

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Analyzes military specialty training as an investment. In FY 1973, the Department of Defense spent over $6 billion on formal training alone. Costs of on-the-job training (OJT) have previously been largely unquantified. A methodology for quantifying these costs by comparing trainees' pay and productivity over time is described. In a pilot study of 64 trainees, the estimated average cost of OJT was about $6,600. Trainees had attended a 12-week technical school course costing about $3,200. Both previous education and measured mental ability were strongly related to estimated training costs. An additional year of education was associated with about 10 percent reduction in OJT costs. Ten more points of measured mental ability was associated with about 6 percent reduction. A statistically weaker result was that nonwhites were approximately 11 percent less costly to train in the specialty studied than whites. Possible reasons for this result are discussed. Current Rand work relating to selection of efficient training policies is discussed. (Presented at Eighth Annual DOD Cost Research Symposium, November 1973.)

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