The retention of female unrestricted line officers
Pecenco, Elena G.
Mehay, Stephen L.
Bowman, William R.
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This thesis analyzes the retention of female Naval officers, focusing on the relationship between officer selection metrics and retention beyond minimum service obligation and the effect of lateral transfers on the retention of junior officer in the Unrestricted Line. The retention analysis utilizes data from Naval Academy cohorts 1988-1991, while the lateral transfer analysis uses data from officer cohorts 1986-1991 available through the Officer Promotion History File. The retention analysis focuses on whether the elements of the Naval Academy's Whole Person Multiple (WPM) are valid predictors of graduation and fleet retention beyond minimum service requirement for female officers. Results indicate that the WPM is generally a poor predictor of female graduation and retention, a result that is contrary to previous research that used mixed gender or male-only samples. Only the Math SAT, English/Math teacher recommendation score, and athletic/non-athletic extracurricular activities score have positive and significant relationships with retention beyond minimum service requirement. Thus, it is recommended that the Naval Academy Admissions Board develop a revised selection metric for females in order to select and commission female officers with a greater propensity for career service. The lateral transfer analysis seeks to determine the characteristics of officers in the Navy's lateral transfer system. Results reveal that women are more likely than men to transfer from Unrestricted Line to Restricted Line communities. This higher likelihood of lateral transfer for women is considered a major contributor to the low retention of female officers in Unrestricted Line communities.
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