The recruitment and retention of the 180A: the Special Forces warrant officer
Varner, Michael G.
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The Special Forces warrant officer is vital to the health of the Special Forces Regiment. The warrant officer’s institutional knowledge—developed over years of operational experience—is essential to the success of Special Operations Forces’ global endeavors. The Special Forces Regiment harnesses its future institutional capability through the recruitment and retention of Special Forces warrant officers. For the past five years, the Special Forces Regiment has seen a decrease in its warrant officer recruitment and retention rates. If left unattended, these rates will likely continue to decline. This thesis offers insights into the factors affecting the recruitment and retention of Special Forces warrant officers. By looking at recruitment and retention policies and assessing expert opinion in the Regiment, this thesis attempts to determine the recruitment and retention modifications that may reverse the declining trend. In doing so, this thesis identifies multiple factors affecting the recruitment and retention of Special Forces warrant officers and, specifically, focuses on two: (1) recruitment is drawn from a limited pool of eligible non-commissioned officers who face both the stigma of leaving the NCO ranks and pay disparities if they choose to transition; and (2) the lack of upward mobility through the senior warrant officer ranks.
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