NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

To Keep Military Personnel, Lighten Up

July 6, 2000

Military recruiters are having a tough time signing up people, what with the booming economy and unlimited job opportunities in the private sector. Moreover, those who have joined up are often disinclined to sign up for a second tour.

But an officer who has commanded the Pacific submarine fleet at Pearl Harbor for two years may have hit upon a policy to attract and retain personnel. Rear Admiral Albert H. Konetzni has simply lightened his sailors' work load and treats them better. The Pentagon brass are watching closely.

  • The admiral has slashed the hours crews work in port, hired civilians to do the dirty work and harangued captains who push their crews too hard.
  • He has allowed his sailors more free time between their grueling six-months-long deployments -- through such innovations as buying a conveyor belt to facilitate the loading of boxes aboard, rather than having them loaded hand-to-hand by lines of sailors.
  • He put into practice a 40-hour workweek -- replacing the customary 12-hour days.
  • He fought to save hundreds of sailors who a few years ago would have been kicked out of the service because of psychological or disciplinary problems.

As a result of these and other stress-reduction measures, sailors in the Pacific sub fleet sign up for a second tour of duty at twice the rate of the rest of the Navy.

Source: Gregg Jaffe, "How Adm. Konetzni Intends to Mend Navy's Staff Woes," Wall Street Journal, July 6, 2000.


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