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The Department of Defense (DOD) must convince several hundred thousand people to join the military each year while, at the same time, retain thousands of personnel to sustain its active duty, reserve, and National Guard forces (Stewart, 2005). While some research endeavors have been conducted into the reasons people join the military (e.g., Woodruff et al., 2017), less is known as to the motives that people choose to leave or continue to serve in the military (e.g., Woodruff, 2017). The purpose of this qualitative study is to understand why people choose to enlist in the military, as well as to understand why people decide to stay or leave the military after serving their committed time. Data will be collected by conducting interviews with ten individuals who served in the U.S. military. The interviews will be analyzed to understand similarities and/or differences in how participants formulated their decision to join, their decision to stay or leave, and how this decision may have shifted during their time in the military. By analyzing reasons as to why people choose to join, and then stay or leave the military, the military can adapt their recruitment strategies in hopes of better fulfilling the massive recruitment quotas.



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Motivation to Serve: What Drives People to Serve in the United States Military