Military Personnel:

First-Term Personnel Less Satisfied With Military Life Than Those in Mid-Career

GAO-02-200: Published: Dec 6, 2001. Publicly Released: Dec 7, 2001.

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This report analyzes the Department of Defense's (DOD) 1999 survey of active duty personnel. GAO found that among first-term and mid-career personnel, satisfaction with military life and retention intent, which tend to increase with an individual's seniority, were important reasons for joining the armed forces. Among first-term enlisted personnel, education benefits and training for civilian employment were among the top reasons for joining. Mid-career personnel cited a desire to serve their country as one of the main reasons for joining, and these individuals said that they were likely to serve 20 years. Mid-career enlisted personnel and officers who joined for education benefits or for training for a specific occupation--skills that can be transferred to civilian jobs--said that they were more likely to leave the military. Base pay, the amount of personal/family leave time, and leadership quality were the main reasons cited by servicemembers for leaving the military. Servicemembers did, however, view some aspects of military life more favorable compared with civilian life, including vacation time, sense of accomplishment and pride, and education and training opportunities.

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