Retention and the Dual-Military Couple: Implications for Military Readiness
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Military readiness--the ability to field trained forces that are able fight and win wars--is a top concern for military leaders. The ability of the services to retain highly trained personnel contributes, in large part, to military readiness. Readiness is negatively affected when a subgroup within the military is retained at a lower rate than the majority of military members. Such is the case of service members who are part of dual-military couples, that is, a couple consisting of two military members. The data presented in this thesis strongly support the theory that both male and female officers who are members of dual-military couples begin their careers highly motivated to remain in the service for a full 20-year career. However, after they pass the 10 year point in their careers, their comparative intention to remain for a full 20 year career is lower than their non-dual military contemporaries. The analysis also supports the idea that integrating work and family life remains one of the main challenges for dual-military service members. Overall, recommendations to ameliorate the problem of lower retention of dual-military members focus on flexibility. Enacting policies that help dual-military members deconflict and/or synchronize deployments and one-year remote tours will help relieve stress on the family. Providing increased opportunities for members to be stationed together during assignments by increasing opportunities to work outside of the memberâ s main career field, as well as maintaining the current increased tour length, will also help dual-military members to balance work and home life. Working to increase flexible Department of Defense-provided childcare options will allow dual-military members to meet their caregiving requirements as well as their military service requirements, enhancing their retention. Finally, providing a range of return-to-service options would increase all military membersâ control over their careers and provide them the flexibility to meet their caregiving responsibilities.
- Masters Theses