Mar 9, 2017
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) have been deployed intensively in recent years, and this is expected to continue. SOF membership is highly selective, and members receive lengthy and costly training, making retention of those who qualify a high priority. This report focuses on the effectiveness of monetary incentives for SOF commissioned officer retention and the development of a models to assess how such incentives affect retention.
U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) have been deployed intensively over the past 15 years, and this is expected to continue into the future. SOF members are highly selected and receive lengthy and costly training, making retention of those who qualify as SOF members a high priority. The focus of this report is on the retention of SOF commissioned officers and, specifically, on the effectiveness of monetary incentives, known as special and incentive (S&I) pays, for SOF officer retention. Historically, S&I pays have usually not been targeted to commissioned officers but to warrant officers and enlisted personnel. The objective of the research documented in this report was to extend RAND's Dynamic Retention Model to the SOF commissioned officer community, estimate the model using 22 years of data, and use the model estimates to assess the effects of changes in the type or amount of S&I pay on SOF officer retention, focusing primarily on the U.S. Navy and Army. The authors found that offering the Critical Skills Retention Bonus (CSRB) to Army SOF commissioned officers would have a large effect on steady-state retention, of more than 11 percent, mainly among those with more than 19 years of service (YOS). The Navy already uses the bonus for officers to some extent; increasing the dollar amount by 25 percent would increase the steady-state Navy SOF force by just under 4 percent, mostly among those with between 15 and 26 YOS. The modeling capability that was developed could be used to consider other S&I pay changes for SOF officers.
Officer Special Operations Forces Careers and Special and Incentive Pays
Overview of the Dynamic Retention Model and the Estimation Methodology
Data and Military and Civilian Earnings Profiles
Estimation Results and Model Fits
Simulations of the Retention Effects of Varying Special and Incentive Pay
More Details About Special Operations Careers for Commissioned Officers
No Dynamic Retention Model Estimates for the Air Force or Marine C