ASSIGNING ENLISTED SAILORS INTO HARD-TO-FILL LOCATIONS
Ricard, Christopher J.
Neuer, Richard A.
Gates, William R.
Hatch, William D., II
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There is a disproportionate distribution of Sailors throughout the naval aviation enterprise, as the Navy is unable to solicit Sailors to voluntarily serve in specific geographically remote locations. The topography and proximity to open airspace in these locations are ideal for the aviation community’s mission, but Sailors do not identify them as desirable places to live and raise their families. This mismatch causes friction between detailers and their constituents, leading to poor job satisfaction, command readiness, and retention efforts. Our research supports Navy leaders in managing talent within the enlisted naval aviation community. We analyzed empirical manpower data and employed two surveys to understand billet shortages and compare enlisted Sailors with their detailers to understand individual motivations, experiences, and incentive preferences, and how these values can impact the assignment process. Our survey results conclude that incentives are a worthwhile investment and are likely to increase the probability of voluntary assignment. Our recommendations include merit-based and blended cafeteria-style incentive options, a detailer optimization tool, and an increased investment in base support services. In a never-ending quest for talent, the Navy must be willing to offer the incentives that appeal to the relevant Sailor population and remain within the Navy’s budgetary constraints in order to achieve overall operational effectiveness.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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