[Top] [Bottom] [Previous] [Next] [TOC]
PERSONNEL READINESS FACTORS BY RACE AND GENDER
|PERSONNEL READINESS FACTORS BY RACE AND GENDER|
This appendix responds to the National Defense Authorization Act FY 1996 (Public Law 103-337, Section 533) which requires that the Department submit a report of readiness factors by race and gender as part of its annual report.
The Department of Defense has issued a directive requiring the military services and DoD components to submit reports on criminal incidents to a central repository under the Defense Incident-Based Reporting System (DIBRS). This system was designed to incorporate the crime reporting requirements of the Uniform Federal Crime Reporting Act of 1988; the Victims Rights and Restitution Act of 1990; and the Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act of 1994. The DIBRS includes a requirement to report information on incidents involving sexual harassment and race-motivated offenses.
The military departments began partial reporting of data to DIBRS in 1997. Funding and other problems, however, have prevented the Services from fully implementing DIBRS.
Military Complaint Trends
Since FY 1987, the Services have reported annually to DoD the number of resolved formal complaints from active duty personnel of sexual harassment and all other discrimination (e.g., complaints based on race, sex, national origin, and religion) filed by military personnel. At the end of FY 1997, the number of formal complaints of sexual harassment and all other discrimination totaled 1,897, representing one complaint per each thousand active duty military personnel.
The percentage of confirmed sexual harassment complaints has remained at 50 percent or above since FY 1991. The percentage of confirmed all other discrimination complaints remained over 30 percent from FY 1992 through FY 1996. In FY 1997, the percentage of confirmed all other discrimination complaints decreased to 24 percent. Although not a direct comparison, these results are higher than the 12 percent confirmation rate for DoD equal employment opportunity complaints in FY 1993. While complaint confirmation rates may appear to be a positive sign, they are not clear-cut indicators of the effectiveness of Service military equal opportunity programs. Because several factors may lead to allegations of sexual harassment or discrimination (i.e., misperceptions, mismanagement, failures to communicate, etc.), complaints that were not confirmed may be indicative of other forms of organizational problems or morale issues. Service military equal opportunity programs are composed of several dimensions (e.g., formal and informal complaint systems, education and training, climate assessment, and affirmative action initiatives), which must be assessed collectively to rate program effectiveness.
Complaint trend data from FY 1987 through FY 1997 have been similar for both complaints of sexual harassment and all other discrimination.
Sexual Harassment Complaints
The total number of sexual harassment complaints began at 513 in FY 1987, fluctuated through FY 1994, and declined steadily through FY 1997. The number of sexual harassment complaints peaked at 1,599 in FY 1993. The percent of substantiated sexual harassment complaints reflects an upward trend from 38 percent in FY 1987 to a high of 59 percent in FY 1995 and FY 1996. The percentage of confirmed sexual harassment complaints has remained at 50 percent or above since FY 1991.
All Other Discrimination Complaints
The total number of all other discrimination complaints in FY 1987 was 523. This number has fluctuated throughout the last 10 years, though never falling below the starting figure. The number of all other discrimination complaints peaked at 2,103 in FY 1992. The percent of all other discrimination complaints that were substantiated reflects an upward trend from 26 percent in FY 1987 to a high of 41 percent in FY 1995, with a reported decline to 24 percent in FY 1997.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense, in conjunction with the Services, continuously reviews permanent and temporary limitations on the deployability of service members and addresses the issue of nondeployability in relation to readiness. Current Department policy recognizes Service-unique and unit-unique circumstances and provides the Services with the flexibility to manage those situations to meet readiness goals.
Nondeployability is measured in three permanent condition categories: HIV-positive, other Medical Permanent, and Hazardous Duty Restriction. A service member can be counted as nondeployable in one category only. Since the Services are given some latitude in determining who is or is not deployable based on certain conditions, a meaningful comparison between Services in a number of categories is not always possible.
Permanent medical limitations (HIV-positive, cancer, heart disease, asthma, diabetes, and other progressive medical conditions) are a small part of the overall nondeployable population. The actual number of members with permanent limitations remains relatively smalló around one-tenth of 1 percent of the active force. This small number is manageable, through the assignment process, minimizing readiness impact.
Tables G-23 to G-27 present the data for all DoD and each of the Services as of the end of FY 1998.
The Department of Defense continues to closely monitor retention. Overall, enlisted and officer continuation rates are adequate, but many of the most skilled and marketable enlisted members in the Navy and Air Force are leaving at higher than normal rates. The Navy and Air Force are particularly hard hit because of the large number of people they train in high-tech skillsóthe same skills that are frequently in demand in the civilian economy.
This is the strongest economy the nation has have experienced in the history of the all-volunteer force, and it certainly has opened new opportunities to service members who might be considering other options. The discipline associated with military duty, the level of responsibility placed on service members, and the technical training the military provides all serve to make military members a valuable commodity in the job market. Attractive salary and benefits packages, coupled with geographic stability, and predictable quality of life time, influence many to consider private-sector opportunities.
After years of drawing down the force, the Services have focused on retaining adequate numbers of quality people to successfully meet Service missions into the next century. Retention of quality personnel in sufficient numbers remains a top priority. DoD continues to focus on improving the quality of the force and its readiness while maintaining the commitment to treat people equally fair. Today the nationís armed forces continue to be the best qualified, most experienced, and most diverse in the history of the all-volunteer force, however retention is increasingly challenging.
The Department of Defense is taking a wide range of compensation and quality of life initiatives to address upcoming retention challenges.
First-Term Reenlistment Rates
Overall, first-term reenlistments were stable in 1998. The Navyís efforts to increase first-term reenlistments were successful at lessening the effects of their accession shortfall. The Army and Air Force each saw a decline, with the Air Force failing for the first time since 1990 to meet first-term reenlistment goals. The Marine Corps is stable, given the fact that it only has a set number of positions available for reenlistment.
Of greatest concern is the decline in the population serving within the first-term reenlistment window. The undersized cohorts recruited during the drawdown are now reaching a retention decision point. A number of influences, e.g., perceived erosion of benefits, quality of life, family separation, and the lure of a robust economy on these undersized cohorts are of great concern to the Department of Defense.
Each Service continues to monitor this critical population, utilize all available retention incentives, and develop initiatives to improve first term reenlistments.
TRENDS IN PROPENSITY TO ENLIST
Since 1975, the Department of Defense annually has conducted the Youth Attitude Tracking Study (YATS), a computer-assisted telephone interview of a nationally representative sample of 10,000 young men and women. This survey provides information on the propensity, attitudes, and motivations of young people toward military service. Enlistment propensity is the percentage of youth who state they plan to definitely or probably be serving on active duty in one of the Services in the next few years. Research has shown that the expressed intentions of young men and women are strong predictors of enlistment behavior.
Enlistment Propensity Trends
Results from the 1998 YATS show that, overall, young menís propensity for military service has not changed significantly in the last three years (see Table G-18). In 1998, 26 percent of 16 to 21 year-old men expressed interest in at least one active duty Service, the same as in 1997 (26 percent) and similar to 1996 (27 percent). Propensity for each of the Services also remained about the same in 1998 as in 1996 and 1997.
Following the Cold War, young black menís propensity dropped from 54 percent in 1989 to 32 percent in 1994. White menís propensity also dropped, from 26 percent in 1989 to 22 percent in 1994. Neither propensity of black nor white young men has changed significantly since 1994. Through 1996, Hispanic menís propensity declined only slightly, but dropped from 43 percent in 1996 to 37 percent in 1997. However, 1998 YATS results show Hispanic menís propensity has risen to 44 percent.
In recent years, career opportunities for women in the Services have opened, and more women are enlisting. As menís propensity declined, womenís propensity remained at approximately the same level. Thus, women represent a growing portion of youth interested and serving in military service.
To downsize the military following the Cold War, the Services reduced their accession objectives below the levels required to replace individuals leaving military service. Although the post-Cold War decline in young menís propensity was troubling, propensity figures nevertheless indicated a sufficient number of young men were interested in the military to allow the Services to meet reduced recruiting goals. That is no longer true. Today, recruiting missions have risen to levels required to sustain the force. Current YATS results indicate the supply of young men and women with propensity for military service, relative to accession requirements, is less than before the end of the Cold War. Thus, recruiting high-quality youth into the armed forces will continue to be a challenge.
Factors Influencing Propensity
Regardless of their propensity for military service, YATS respondents are asked to provide, in their own words, reasons for joining and not joining the military. The most frequently mentioned reasons for joining are money for college, job training and/or experience, duty to country, pay, travel, and self-discipline.
Most young men and women see postsecondary education as the key to prosperity and job security in America. The percent of youth going to college is increasing, and YATS results show that young people are aware that the military offers money for a college education. Educational funding is the most frequently cited reason for enlisting. In 1998, 32 percent of men and 35 percent of women identified money for college as a reason for joining; comparable 1991 figures were 24 percent of men and 31 percent of women. Many young people have the will and the talent for college, but lack the funds. The Montgomery GI Bill, the Army/Navy/Marine Corps College Funds, the Service academies, and Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship programs provide the Services with an effective means of attracting these talented young men and women to the military, and provide these youth the means to gain a college education.
For many non-college bound youth, military service offers an opportunity for job experience and specialized training. In the past few years, 24 percent of men and 17 percent of women mentioned job training and experience as a reason for entering military service. Other reasons for joining are mentioned much less frequently. Pay was mentioned by 11 percent of men and 9 percent of women; duty to country was mentioned by 13 percent of men and 9 percent of women; travel by 8 percent of men and 6 percent of women; and discipline by 6 percent of men and 4 percent of women. The percentages of men and women mentioning job training, pay, duty to country, travel, and discipline as reasons for joining have not changed significantly in the past few years.
The most frequently cited reason for not entering military service concerns military lifestyle, mentioned by 19 percent of men and 25 percent of women in 1998. Military service evokes images of discipline and regimentation for most youth. These images tend to deter many youth from interest in the military. Many college-bound young people believe they have the self-discipline to achieve their goals and see regimentation as stifling. Others, however, see externally imposed discipline as beneficial. Following the 1995 and 1997 YATS surveys, DoD conducted extended interviews with young men and women who seemed likely to enter military service. Some noted that learning discipline served an important maturing role in their lives; others indicated they looked forward to learning this critical life lesson in military service and that the military would provide a guiding structure within which to get their priorities straight. It is ironic that the reason most frequently cited for not entering military service might, for some, be an important motivation for enlisting.
Other reasons cited by youth for not entering military service suggest not a rejection of the military, but consideration of a commitment to other options in life. In recent years, 12 percent of men and 10 percent of women mentioned other career interests as a reason for not joining. Nine percent of men and 16 percent of women mentioned family obligations; extended interviews report that many enlistment-age youth feel they are not able to enlist because they are needed to care for ailing parents or for their own families. Some youth (11 percent of men; 10 percent of women) suggested the length of commitment to the military is too long. While youth acknowledge that some military service might be beneficial, many are reluctant to defer their career or education plans for four years. Finally, about 11 percent of men and 10 percent of women cite danger as a reason for not entering military service; six percent of both men and women stated military service was against their beliefs.
Relative to whites and Hispanics, young black men and women are more likely to mention pay as a reason for joining, and less likely to mention duty to country. As reasons for not entering military service, white men and women are more likely to mention other career interests, or to object to the length of commitment, perhaps because they have more career opportunities than minority men and women. Finally, familial obligations are mentioned as an obstacle to military service more frequently by women (compared to men) and Hispanics (compared to whites and blacks).
Both menís and womenís propensity remain substantially below pre-drawdown levels and, if past experience is a guide, below the levels needed to meet FY 1999ís increased accession requirements while maintaining the high quality required for todayís military. These findings underscore the need for education benefits to attract an important segment of college-bound youth (those needing money). Many other youth, however, are attracted by the prospects of job training and experience, and by the discipline universally viewed as intrinsic to military service. To meet recruiting goals, DoD must address the needs of all market segments.
Table G-1 to G-2 (Equal
Opportunity Discrimination and Sexual Harassment Complaints)
Table G-3 First Term-Reenlistment Rates
Table G-4 to G-6 (Army Retention Trends)
Table G-7 to G-9 (Navy Retention Trends)
Table G-10 to G-12 (Marine Corps Retention Trends)
Table G-13 to G-15 (Air Force Retention Trends)
Table G-16 to G-18 (Coast Guard Retention Trends)
Table G-19 (Total DoD Retention Trends)
Table G-20 to G-22 (Trends in Enlistment Propensity)
Table G-23 to G-32 (Nondeployable Unit Personnel)
[Top] [Bottom] [Previous] [Next] [TOC]