He goes on to talk about readiness
and other things, but the fact that the
first thing he chose is people means a
lot to me and shows the importance
that he places on Marines.
People are very important to us.
So I say it’s a good time to be here
in the manpower arena.
I think going forward, the biggest
challenges will be with people. The
commandant wants to make sure we
are recruiting and retaining the best
that America has to offer.
I don’t do the recruiting piece. But
a large part of my mission here in
manpower management is the retention piece. The commandant goes on
to say in his FragO we need to look
for ways to ensure that we are retaining the best Marines we can retain.
That’s what we’re doing right now.
That ties into the second thing
he’s looking at — readiness. We all
know, in the Marine Corps, it’s a
man, train and equip thing, and I
have the manning piece of it.
The commandant wants to look
at sustained readiness. And the way
to get to sustained readiness is probably to adjust and tweak the policies
and procedures we have here in our
Since about 1977, we’ve been
using the unit deployment program.
That was based on a unit cohesion
program, which is basically, how do
we get our Marines ready? Before
we went to war in Iraq and
Afghanistan, we would assign people on a D-minus-180-days plan. ‘D’
meaning deployment date. At D
minus 180 days, you would get
everyone you needed, do the pre-deployment training, do your
deployment, then come home. And
the moment you came back home,
we in headquarters would start
stripping away a large chunk of
your experienced leadership.
When we do that, you have the
problems associated with a unit
that loses a lot of its leadership.
You had the sexual assaults, you
had the alcohol abuse incidents,
you had the hazing incidents. The
commandant said we need to take
a look at that. He’s looking for a
system that will avoid those drops
in leadership. What he wants to
concentrate on is leadership across
the life cycle of a unit.
So we need to get away from
thinking about this unit on when
it’s going to deploy and when it’s
going to return from deployment.
We need to think about it more
like a model system, where a unit
has a certain amount of seasoned
leaders at a steady state. We have
to make sure we are staffing units
and manning units so they can
avoid the precipitous drop that
happens when they come back
from deployment. And we have to
look across the life cycle.
You can’t just look at it from a
personnel and people issue. It also
deals with training and equipping.
So we have to look at all three of
those and find out how they truly
interact. I think we have a pretty
good idea on that. We’re going to
make some changes. And if we’re
going to make changes, it’s going to
be some big changes. I don’t want
to nibble around the edges.
Former Commandant Gen.
[Joseph] Dunford was concerned
that we have the right numbers
and qualification of noncommissioned officers [NCOs], and we
have several programs ongoing
right now to make sure we get the
numbers right. We need to make
sure we not only are assigning the
correct number of NCOs to units,
but that units are using them
where they need to be used.
For example, the commanding
general of a division wants a driver
and he decides to pick an 0311
infantry sergeant squad leader as
his driver. I gave him that squad
leader to be a squad leader. But if
he uses him as a driver, of course
he’s going to be missing somebody
down the line when he needs a
So it’s incumbent on us as the
manpower people to make sure
that he gets who he needs. Then we
also need to ensure that the unit in
fact is employing the Marines the
way they should be employed in
accordance with their MOS [military occupational specialty].
Among the other things we’re
looking at, the commandant has
instituted a policy that Marines
have to have a certain time in grade
before they’re promoted. That
would be a year in grade for a lance
corporal going to corporal or a corporal going to sergeant. In most
MOSs, it takes longer than that.
But there are a couple of fast-filling
MOSs where some are getting promoted lance corporal to corporal
with eight months in grade. We’re
going to change that. We’re going
to mature our Marines a little bit
longer, and that will help in having
a stable leadership that we need
down in the units.
On retention, three out of four
Marines get out after their first term.
We need that. We only need the one
to stay on as a fire team leader.
To retain the career Marines, they
need to continue to be challenged,
continue to grow. Most people come
into the Marine Corps because they
want to be challenged, want to be
part of something bigger than themselves. I think as long as we continue to challenge them, we can
“We’re going to make some changes. And if we’re going to make changes, it’s
going to be some big changes. I don’t want to nibble around the edges.”