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DoD to Survey Service Members on Job Satisfaction

By Sgt. 1st Class Kathleen T. Rhem, USA
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 15, 2002 – What better way to learn more about what troops think than to ask? The Defense Department this month started a survey program to do just that.

"We hope it'll allow us to adjust our policies more promptly when we see an issue or problem out there that our people are concerned with," said David Chu, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness.

He said letters went out July 8 to 35,000 service members pointing them to a Web-based Status of Forces Survey and advising they have until July 26 to participate, if they wish.

In 2003, DoD officials plan to expand the effort by conducting three such surveys of the active force, two of Guard and Reserve forces and one of civilian employees. By 2004, the plan is for each group to be surveyed quarterly, Chu said.

The current Status of Forces Survey focuses on job satisfaction, retention plans, and spouse employment, among other issues, he said. Previous such surveys looked at morale, welfare and recreation benefits and retention incentives, he added.

This is one of the earlier major survey programs from DoD to be completely Web-based. Chu said this should make it easier for members to participate and for surveyors to compile results quickly.

"It'll give us the ability on a near-real-time basis to understand how people see their lives, whether in uniform or as a civilian employee of the Department of Defense," he said. Chu's plans call for the results of completed surveys to be posted on a public Defense Manpower Data Center Web site, www.dmdc.osd.mil/surveys.

Chu said officials believe up to half the people ignore mailed survey requests. But then, many of those same people complain policy makers don't ask and don't understand what issues affect their lives, he remarked.

Surveys provide an opportunity for people to have their opinions heard, and Chu urged those who receive invitations to take a few minutes to complete the survey.

"This is your 'put-up-or-shut-up' opportunity," he said. "Don't just complain. Here is your chance to do something. Here is your chance to vote, so to speak, about your future and about what will be important for the people you work with as well."


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