First-Term Department of Defense Attrition Goals

FPCD-78-56: Published: Jun 8, 1978. Publicly Released: Dec 21, 1983.

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Although the Department of Defense (DOD) and the services have taken actions to manage first-term attrition in the armed forces, three elements in their efforts need strengthening: attrition goals covering the full first-term enlistment period, coordinated programs designed to achieve those goals, and effective monitoring and evaluation systems. DOD has promulgated attrition goals which cover only part of the first-term enlistment period for male recruits and has not formulated attrition goals for females who historically have a higher attrition rate than do males. The goals established in 1975 and 1976 generally covered the 30-month period following recruitment and initial skill training. DOD officials felt that setting these goals was not the most effective way to manage attrition; they believed the services could control attrition rates by increasing training attrition not subject to goals. Coordination should be encouraged between DOD and the services, between service headquarters and individual commands, and among the services in order to effectively manage programs and achieve goals. DOD is planning, but has not as yet begun, to monitor program results for the new attrition goals. At present, only the Marine Corps has an operational and effective data collection and monitoring system.

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