Personnel retention policy and force quality: twice-passed Staff Sergeants
Fitzgerald, Mark T.
Buttrey, Samuel E.
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In the Marine Corps, Staff Sergeants twice-passed (2P) for promotion to Gunnery Sergeant lower the quality of the enlisted force, slow promotion rates, and carry an institutional cost. The objectives of this study are to determine predictors of 2P likelihood, evaluate the efficacy of retention policy alternatives, and investigate institutional costs of retaining 2P Staff Sergeants in terms of productivity loss, excess subordinate attrition, and retirement obligations. Logistic regression is used to evaluate the likelihood of a Staff Sergeant being passed twice for promotion. At the time of reenlistment, Physical Fitness Test score, Commander’s recommendation, adverse material, Marine Corps Martial Arts Program belt attainment, racial identification, Armed Forces Qualification Test score, and body composition are significant factors in the chosen model. Markov model evaluation shows a 20-percent reduction in approved Staff Sergeant reenlistments reduces the twice-passed inventory by 9 percent, and a non-retention policy for 2P Staff Sergeants reduces their inventory by 60 percent. The annual cost of retaining 2P Staff Sergeants is estimated to have a present value of $120 million in retirement obligations, productivity loss of 2,770 full-time equivalents, and excess subordinate attrition of 340 Marines. These order-of-magnitude institutional costs can be significantly reduced through targeted retention policies.
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