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My Coast Guard
Commentary | Feb. 9, 2023

Do your part to improve retention by answering a survey

By Martin Berman-Gorvine, MyCG Writer  

A new survey of Coast Guard retention is under way, a study of a critical matter for the service. The survey team is composed of U.S. Coast Guard Academy (CGA) cadets from the Management and Mathematics departments and their faculty advisors, and is supported by the Coast Guard Women’s Leadership Initiative (WLI) and the USCGA Alumni Association. They are examining why members have left the Coast Guard or would consider leaving, and what motivates them to stay.

Eleven percent of active duty enlisted and eight percent of active duty officers left the Coast Guard last year. Moreover, in recent years, retention of active-duty women has lagged behind that of men by roughly six percent for officers after five years of service.

The anonymous survey, which takes 20 minutes to complete, is not sponsored or endorsed by the Coast Guard; however, Academy cadets and their faculty advisors will share their findings with leaders at headquarters to help them make policy recommendations.

Prior Coast Guard retention research, such as the 2019 RAND Corporation women’s retention study, has not incorporated the perspectives of all Coast Guard members, including reservists and those who have left the service—views that may contain valuable information about why members leave or stay in the Coast Guard.

The new Coast Guard Retention Study will be administered online, with questions based on the 2019 RAND women’s retention study that are applicable to all members. The goal is to help shape policy recommendations to make the Coast Guard more inclusive for all members, while ensuring attention to special factors that impact women, who leave the Coast Guard at higher rates than men. 

Members of all genders, both enlisted and officers, who are serving or have served previously, are invited to complete the survey, as are reservists and USCGA staff who participated in earlier stages of the project. The survey will be open through Feb. 24.

Matters covered in the survey include reasons why members stay in the Coast Guard; reasons why members have left or would consider leaving active-duty service or the Reserve; the potential of prospective retention programs to extend members’ Coast Guard service; and awareness and use of Coast Guard programs intended to promote member retention. The survey also collects demographic information about participants.

The study has been approved by the CGA Institutional Research Board and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Privacy Office.

For more information about the study and to meet the research team, visit the survey website

To complete the survey, click here.


  • Coast Guard Retention Survey website

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