Exploring how age, accession source, childbearing and the SWO career path influence female SWO retention
Vance, Audra M.
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The Chief of Naval Personnel (CNP) and Navy Recruiting Command (NRC) must target recruiting efforts, re-examine the rigidity of the SWO career path and adjust the female accession source input toward those who retain longer in the community. This study explores the factors of age and accession source in conjunction with women's primary childbearing years to determine how the timing of the Surface Warfare Officer (SWO) career tracks influence retention decisions of women in the SWO community. The study draws on technical reports and academic literature to address economic and psychological factors in conjunction with prior graduate theses on female SWO retention. This framework establishes career path timelines and introduces an Optimum Childbearing Window (OCW), from ages 25 to 30, aligning childbearing years with the four SWO career tracks based on accession source groupings. The models deliver a theoretical framework for evaluating the timing of exit opportunities the SWO community provides. Additionally, a framework on female military identity is added to address the psychological element of identity conflict along the SWO career path. The study concludes that, in order to retain women in the SWO community, age, accession source, military identity, pregnancy and exit point timing are all important factors to consider.
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