Newer recruits less satisfied with military life

Military officers and enlisted personnel are more satisfied with their careers the longer they stay in the service, according to a new study from the General Accounting Office. The report, "Military Personnel Less Satisfied With Military Life Than Those In Mid Career," (GAO-02-200) found that 41 percent of first-term enlisted personnel were dissatisfied with the military way of life and only 14 percent planned to spend 20 years in the military. However, nearly two-thirds of all mid-career military personnel, both enlisted personnel and officers, said they expected to serve at least 20 years. The top reasons for joining the military among first-term personnel included education benefits and job training opportunities, GAO said. For mid-career personnel, a desire to serve their country was among the top reasons for staying in the armed forces, the study found. The study cited several prime reasons why members leave the service, including low salaries, the lack of personal and family time and the quality of leadership.

"About 70 percent…of service members believed that civilians were compensated better and had a better quality of life," said the report.

However, military members also said vacation time, a sense of accomplishment and educational and training opportunities were better in the military than in civilian life. The Pentagon did not dispute the findings and said the report will help the department to "effectively and efficiently [staff] its military forces."

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