Armed Forces News

Soldiers generally choose to stay in the service because of retirement pay and benefits and the opportunities to serve their country and to become leaders and instructors. They leave because of conflicts between deployment duties and family commitments, and spouses’ career plans.

These conclusions were gleaned from a career-management survey the Army’s office of manpower and personnel conducted last year.

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Thousands of active-duty soldiers responded. Many of them agreed to allow the Army to use their answers for research purposes.

The service hopes to use the results of this ongoing exercise, known formally as DACES (the Department of the Army Career Engagement Survey), primarily to formulate retention efforts. Questions addressed well-being, Army life and organizational climate, and also allowed for some general feedback.

Other important factors for leaving included plans for having children and the unpredictable nature of a military career. Pay and benefits and a “sense of purpose” were cited as reasons soldiers would stay.

The survey’s authors noted that senior soldiers tended to be overrepresented among all respondents, and that some estimates of results tended to be “based on very narrow subgroups … and may lack the necessary precision to be informative.” They hope that future DACES surveys will provide better estimates.

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