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This research brief describes work documented in The Effect of Mobilization on Retention of Enlisted Reservists After Operation Desert Shield/Storm (MR-943-OSD).

Excerpt: With the drawdown of active military forces, the role of the Reserve Components looms increasingly large. They played a major part in Operation Desert Shield/Storm (ODS/S), have participated in all major deployments since then, and are playing a key part in Bosnia, Iraq, and elsewhere. Thus, it is important to know how mobilizations affect retention. However, opinion on this effect divides sharply. Some argue that mobilizations and the attendant financial and family hardships drive people out of the Reserve Components. Others hold that the opportunity to practice skills won through years of training and to serve the nation actually fosters retention. To help answer this question, National Defense Research Institute researchers Sheila Kirby and Scott Naftel have reviewed a rich array of data collected following the Gulf War. The results of their work appear in The Effect of Mobilization on Retention of Enlisted Reservists After Operation Desert Shield/Storm. They conclude that the ODS/S mobilization had only a minor effect on retention and that the things that influence retention are the same ones that have affected it for decades: paygrade, component, individual satisfaction, and the attitudes of spouses.

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