NAVAL STATION ROTA, Spain — The Navy wants its newest sailors to take an online survey that will help researchers determine why sailors decide to stay or leave the service.

A Navy memo released this month ordered commanding officers throughout the fleet to encourage enlisted personnel with more than one year but less than four years of service to complete the voluntary survey.

The survey is part of the First Watch Research Project and is being conducted by the Millington, Tenn.,-based Navy Personnel Research, Studies and Technology Department.

Survey questions ask about such things as career progress, their experiences during training and how well the Navy prepared them for their job, said Rorie Harris, a department personnel research psychologist.

“More specific items ask about aspects of the Navy and how they influence decisions to stay or leave the Navy,” Harris said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

“Other questions inquire about how they get along with their co-workers and what factors influence them to stay or get out of the Navy.”

Although the Navy has reached retention goals the last several years, retaining “first-term” sailors has historically been an issue for the service.

Since April 2002, the Navy has surveyed recruits before they entered boot camp, during the last week of boot camp and during the last week in apprentice school.

The 15-minute online survey focuses on sailors with at least a year in the Navy. The Web-based survey started Nov. 12 and will be available until Dec. 22.

Eligible sailors can access the questions at

Information from the survey will help researchers to evaluate training programs and pinpoint factors in retention and attrition.

The results will be available in early 2005 online at www., Harris said.

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