U.S. Navy photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Timothy Walter

Statistically, the Navy does not have an officer retention problem. Yet everyone knows in reality, many of the best people are leaving. Despite the high volumes of officers who voluntarily resign their commissions as lieutenants, competition is still tight to make lieutenant commander. Aviation and surface warfare easily makes all the department heads that it needs to — although many would argue that this is in part because the Navy brings in even more people than it needs to. Some units have new officers who are given fake jobs at their first assignment because rather than try to retain the people it already has, the Navy just made more ensigns. Even Chief of Naval Personnel Vice Admiral Bill Moran expressed awareness and concern in 2015 that the Navy is losing people it should retain, despite maintaining the numbers it needs to.

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