Peace Time: March 12, 2001


The US Navy currently loses 40 percent of its sailors before their enlistments are up. The causes are many, but basically the commander decides that the sailor will never be able to perform effectively and terminates their enlistment. The navy has decided that this is mainly a failure of leadership and is urging commanders to pay more attention to sailors who are slipping into bad habits. Part of the problem is that recruiters, under pressure to meet their goals, make unrealistic promises to prospects, and don't mention the less pleasant aspects of naval life. The navy has noted that some commanders have much better retention among their crews than others. The key was a lot of little things. Like a ship captain getting to know his sailors, or seeing to it that his officers did. Making a new member of the crew welcome and integrating the sailor into the crew quickly also made a big difference. While the navy is on the right track, they are also losing a lot of their best petty officers and officers because of the increasingly grueling tempo of operations. But paying deliberate attention to the problem will make a difference. 


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