The Marine Corps increased the number of first-time reenlistment submissions for top-performing Marines by 72 percent as part of the Talent Management 2030 program, according to an update released Monday.
In addition to the increase in re-enlistment, the Marines also saw a 62 percent increase in volunteers for special duty assignments, Assistant Commandant for the Marine Corps Gen. Eric Smith told reporters in a call on Friday.
The Marine retention goal is also being met earlier in the year as a result of the new Talent Management polices, Lt. Gen. James Glynn told reporters. Two years ago, the Marine Corps generally hoped to meet its retention goal by the end of each fiscal year. Last year, the Marine Corps met the goal by July. The Marine Corps is meeting its retention goals sooner as a result of the Talent Management initiative, which has made changes to the retention process and also given more choices to Marines, Lt. Gen. James Glynn told reporters.
“Marines are responding with enthusiasm and a level of excitement that we’re trying to match, frankly,” Glynn said.
The Marines also changed the enlistment policy, with additional initiatives like allowing Marines to delay entering the promotion cycle for a year or a focus on allowing Marines to avoid a permanent change of station for a tour. Those changes make it easier for Marines to stay in, Marine Corps officials said.
When faced with the option of having a Marine decide to get out because they have to move when it would make their family life more difficult, the service would rather provide options to keep the Marine than lose them and the training that went into them, Smith said.
The Commandant’s Retention Program, which streamlined the process for re-enlistment by pre-approving re-enlistments for top performing Marines and allowing Marines to reenlist more quickly, rather than wait, was one of the initiatives mentioned in the update. As part of Talent Management 2030, the Marines are shifting from the enlist and replace model to one that retains a more mature force.
One way the service is hoping to retain Marines is by making it so top-performing Marines have more opportunities for early enlistment and to make the process for reenlistment faster, according to the update.
“If you know you’re ready to reenlist, in the past we would have said, ‘sorry, hold that thought.’ That’s insane,” Smith said.
The Marine Corps is also adjusting its goal for lateral entry by seeking retired Marines for specialty areas, such as cyber. When the service first rolled out Talent Management, it proposed lateral entry as a way to get people from industry with needed skills, mostly in cyber.
The service is still looking at lateral entry, but it’s now looking to recruit people who previously served as Marines and entered industry after serving, according to the Talent Management Update. That would address concerns about lateral entries not having learned the core ideologies of the Marines.
“I think is emotional issue for some that somebody is going to kind of sneak their way into the Marine Corps, and that is false,” Smith said.
Lateral entries will be granted one a small scale, but the idea is to be able to bring someone, like a former Marine, at a level that is commensurate with their level of experience, he said.
The Talent Management update also includes a section on quality of life, with Commandant Gen. David Berger calling for a renewed focus on services like family housing, pediatric care and chow halls. In the update, Berger writes that quality of life is one of the leading reasons someone might choose to leave.
“In the future world of recruiting challenges, we cannot lose a 12-year intelligence professional or artillery Marine because we could not provide access to pediatric care or a high-quality chow hall,” the update reads.
As the Marines look to combat their turnover model, they will emphasize the need for a mature force, according to the update. But maturity doesn’t necessarily mean an older force, Berger wrote. Instead, the idea behind keeping Marines in longer is that the Marines do not lose their investment in training.
“To sustain our competitive advantage, we must prepare Marines more intensely than we ever have, putting them through some of the most elite entry-level and advanced training in the world,” according to the update. “This may include extending the duration of training, which means we will also need to retain Marines for longer to ensure our crisis response force-in-readiness sees the full return on investment.”