Focus on Social Issues Hurting Navy Retention Rates

Political Correctness also to blame for retention problem

U.S. Navy SEALs
U.S. Navy SEALs / AP
• March 26, 2014 10:48 am


A Navy F-18 fighter pilot and former Top Gun instructor is warning admirals that the military’s relentless focus on social issues is hurting retention of top recruits, the Washington Times reports.

Cmdr. Guy Snodgrass, also a former Pentagon speechwriter for Adm. Jonathan Greenert, chief of naval operations, recently wrote on the U.S. Naval Institute website that the senior leadership’s focus on social issues—such as sexual assault prevention and women in combat—has "demoralize[d] junior and mid-grade officers alike."

Snodgrass said the Navy "has a looming officer retention problem" and added that special operations forces, such as the Navy SEALs, had their "worst year in history" for retention:

"Unfortunately," Cmdr. Snodgrass says in his 24-page study, "the fact that a growing number of quality officers have already left the service or are planning to head for the doors seems to be going undetected by senior leadership."

He lists long wartime deployments as a leading retention negative.

He also tackles a touchier issue, what some sailors have referred to as "political correctness," such as the banning of uniform patches that might offend someone. […]

"Put simply, there is no dollar amount that can be spent, or amount of training that can be conducted, that will completely eradicate complex issues such as suicide, sexual assault, or commanding officer reliefs for cause—yet we continue to expend immense resources in this pursuit," he says. "Sailors are bombarded with annual online training, general military training, and safety stand-downs—all in an effort to combat problems that will never be defeated."

Snodgrass partially attributed the growth of the military’s social conditioning programs to pressure from Congress.

Published under: Military, Navy