A comparison of neural network and regression models for Navy retention modeling
Russell, Bradley Steven
Thomas, George W.
Dolk, Daniel R.
Hill, Timothy R.
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This thesis evaluates a possible use of artificial neural networks for military manpower and personnel analysis. Two neural network models were constructed to predict the reenlistment behavior of a select group of individuals in the Navy, from a sample of 680 individuals. The data were extracted from the 1985 DoD Survey of Officer and Enlisted Personnel. Explanatory variables were grouped into demographic/personal, military characteristics, perceived probability of civilian employment, educational level, and satisfaction with military life and military benefits. The first neural network model was compared to a more traditional method of statistical modeling (logistic regression analysis) to determine the strengths and weaknesses of the neural network model. Both models used the same set of 17 variables and were tested using a holdout sample of 100 observations. The neural network model was found to be comparable to the logistic regression model as a predictor, but deficient as a policy analysis model. The second neural network model was constructed using the same data set and architecture as the first neural network model, including the original 17 variables, plus an additional II variables that consisted of variables with and without theoretical foundation for predicting reenlistment. The two neural network models were then compared and found to be similar at predicting reenlistment. Both neural network models were considered to be deficient as tools for policy analysts...
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