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Airmen in the US Air Force Security Forces specialty have had to make significant adjustments since the global war on terrorism began, ranging from new force protection missions to longer deployments and more demanding workloads. Their success is critical to the success of the global war on terrorism, and retaining well-trained, motivated troops is key to their success. Although retention goals in the Air Force since 9/11 have been met, this cannot be taken for granted as the stress and strain on Airmen and their families continue. Stretching deployments from 90 or 120 days to 179 days or more for Security Forces (SF) members may negatively affect their retention. This revised AEF rotation policy allows greater continuity for expeditionary commanders, but it may not be worth the potential effects on the SF community. A survey was administered to 2,824 SF Airmen in March 2005 to collect data on their intentions to reenlist in, separate from, or retire from the Air Force and to determine the effects of deployments on their decisions. Although the data collected does not represent the entire SF population, the information provides insight into the reasons many of the SF troops may decide to separate rather than reenlist and the reasons others may decide to reenlist or serve 20 or more years in the Air Force. While previous research presents factors influencing retention decisions from the military drawdown following the Cold War to the Gulf War and the global war on terrorism, this research expands on those factors while zeroing in on enlisted Security Forces members throughout the Air Force and shedding light on the effects of deployments since 9/11.
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