Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Full 2014 Navy Retention Study is Out

As promised at the end of May by VADM Bill Moran and CDR Guy "Bus" Snodgrass, the full report is available.

Head over to DODRetention for the full results, with a shortcut here.

There is a lot there for everyone - but I don't want to go section by section, as what I find interesting and important may not be what strikes you as being top of mind.

I will pull a few things - one that is hugely important ... and the other a bit self-serving.

The most important is the graphic to the right. If senior leadership just dismisses it as bitter-boy butthurt, then they are missing an opportunity of self reflection. Especially in naval aviation, there is a reason for that. I'll help here - the problem is not the JOs, Millennials, Fo'c'sle Follies, or any of the usual causes of grown men having fainting spells. It is the fainting spells and the frag pattern from the flop sweat of moral cowardice from Tailhook to the IG of the month club cargo cult. 

Now for the self-serving part - and again BZ to everyone involved for putting this out there.

It looks like the Front Porch is right to feel a little vindicated - and more beers are owed to the Salamander;
Perceptions about the Littoral Combat Ship are perhaps the most concerning results of the surface warfare officer component of the survey. 60% of respondents do NOT want to serve on an LCS – this was relatively stable across rank and experience. Most do not believe costs will decrease significantly. Only 16% believe it will be “an excellent surface warfare, anti-submarine warfare, or mine countermeasures platform.” Finally, respondents were skeptical about its survivability in combat. 60% “disagreed” or “strongly disagreed” with the statement “LCS will be survivable in combat operations.” Only 8% agreed. Skepticism actually increased with age and rank – 70% of Lieutenant Commanders and Commanders disagreed with the statement, and 72% of Captains and flag officers disagreed. There is slight skepticism as to whether a tour on an LCS is valuable for officers: 25% agree that the SWO career track supports a LCS tour, while 30% disagree.
There is a theme developing here ... either we are having trouble selling our stuff to the end user, or the end users are sending a signal back to the provider;
Perceptions about the future of naval aviation were mixed. When asked if the Joint Strike Fighter was the “right aircraft for Naval Aviation,” 60% “strongly disagreed” or “disagreed”, and 22% were neutral. Only 10% “agreed” or “strongly agreed.” Conversely, when asked if they would prefer an Advanced Super Hornet over the Joint Strike Fighter, 62% “strongly agreed” or “agreed,” and 20% were “neutral.” One commenter, a JSF pilot, noted that much of the community has yet to see the JSF in action, which — when coupled with years of negative press — may be one reason for the deep skepticism about the F-35.
Maybe the JOs are just reading too much CDRSalamander.

Wait ... no ... that's a good thing!
Perhaps one of the greatest reasons for the unlikely success of this initiative and of the original paper is the rise of social media, which gave ‘the little guys’ a louder voice. Sites such as,, and supported this effort early and often, raising awareness with active duty Sailors throughout the fleet. Ward Carroll, a former fighter pilot now at, and David Larter, with Navy Times, were early supporters who also helped raise awareness of the survey, undoubtedly increasing our overall reach to the fleet.
That is my first blush; over to you to ponder.

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