Retention of junior Naval Special Warfare officers
Davids, Keith B.
Eitelberg, Mark J.
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The Commander of the Naval Special Warfare Command (NSWC) has identified junior officer retention within the Naval Special Warfare community as a significant problem. In 1997, the community experienced the highest number of resignations on record, and this trend has continued in 1998. NSWC has taken several steps to identify the cause of recent retention trends, one of which was to provide support for this study. The purpose of this study was to identify the factors that lead to resignation of junior Sea-Air-Land (SEAL) officers. Three data sources were developed specifically for this study: an Active Duty Survey of junior officers serving in SEAL billets, a Resignation Survey of officers who requested resignation in FY98 and FY99, and focused interviews with SEAL officers who recently separated or were awaiting separation from the Navy. The results of the research show that the majority of SEAL officers greatly enjoyed their job. Nevertheless, family separation, improper utilization by operational commanders, minimal chances for conducting combat operations, and the perceived lack of vision of senior SEAL leadership contribute significantly to a service member's decision to leave. Additionally, the study found that pay and marital status did not affect the decision to leave service as long as the service member was satisfied with job-related factors. Once a service member became dissatisfied with the job, pay and marital status were found to play a significant role in the stay/leave decision. The results also suggest that many of the officers departing from service were top performers.
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