Between August and November 2000, the Department of Defense (DoD) is conducting its first comprehensive satisfaction surveys of military Reserve force personnel and their spouses in eight years. A survey questionnaire is being mailed to 75,000 Reserve and National Guard members. A different questionnaire is being sent to 43,000 spouses. In a first for the Reserves, recipients are able to return the written questionnaires or respond via the Internet.
"The surveys are an important tool because, in recent years, the increased use of the National Guard and Reserve has resulted in many of these personnel spending more time away from their families and full-time civilian employment," said Charles L. Cragin, principal deputy assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs. "They also face the real possibility of being called to active duty for extended periods, creating some unique quality-of-life concerns."
The surveys will gather information on a wide range of programs, policies and issues affecting Reserve forces members and spouses. Survey responses will provide a comprehensive look at morale, civilian work, economic issues, military training, military benefits and programs, mobilizations and deployments, plans to leave or continue in the military, and member and family characteristics. The effort complements the recently fielded "1999 Surveys of Active Duty Personnel and Spouses."
There are 863,698 personnel serving as Selected Reservists in the seven Reserve forces: the Army National Guard, the Army Reserve, the Naval Reserve, the Marine Corps Reserve, the Coast Guard Reserve, the Air Force Reserve, and the Air National Guard.
The member questionnaire will be mailed to drilling reservists, individual mobilization augmentees, (IMAs) and full-time support personnel. Members up to the rank of O-6 (captain in the Navy and Coast Guard, or colonel in the other services) with at least six months of service, are eligible to be surveyed.
The sample population was determined by component, pay grade, gender, marital status, military occupation, and program status (drilling reservists, full-time support personnel, IMAs). Individuals were selected at random within these groups to ensure adequate sample sizes for subgroups of particular interest. Spouses of members were selected separately from members-sampling was of individuals rather than couples. Consequently, a spouse could be sampled whether or not the member is.
The Office of the Secretary of Defense (Reserve Affairs) will use the findings from these surveys to address reservists' concerns and inform policy officials about unit and family readiness issues, military job satisfaction and mobilization experiences. The information will also be used to respond to queries from Congress, the White House, and the news media. Survey results will be published and available on the World Wide Web by the spring of 2001.
"As a department, we must continually strive to do a better job of recognizing and dealing with issues that can adversely affect Reserve component members and their families," said Cragin. "Our ultimate objective is to craft policies that benefit reservists and, at the same time, protect our national security interests. The empirical data we gain from these surveys is critical to accomplishing this."
For more information, please call the office of the assistant secretary of Defense for Reserve Affairs - Army National Guard Lt. Col. Terry Jones at (703) 695-3620. For more information on the Reserve and National Guard, visit the Reserve Affairs web site at http://dod.mil/ra.