Title page for ETD etd-01232008-104353

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Long, Valarie
Author's Email Address valarie1@hotmail.com
URN etd-01232008-104353
Title Retention and the Dual-Military Couple: Implications for Military Readiness
Degree Master of Arts
Department Political Science
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Brians, Craig Leonard Committee Chair
Kiecolt, K. Jill Committee Member
Pourchot, Georgeta Valentina Committee Member
  • Dual-career
  • U.S. Air Force
  • Retention
  • Regression with Interactions
  • Secondary Survey Analysis
Date of Defense 2008-01-15
Availability unrestricted
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 member’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 members’ control over their careers and provide them the flexibility to meet their caregiving responsibilities.

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