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Marine Corps Addresses Future Retention Questions

(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg/Released)

As the Corps draws down, there are fewer boat spaces available for re-enlistment. The End Strength and Retention Optimization Group is tasked with retaining the most qualified Marines for the future. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Matthew Bragg/Released)

How do you fit 4,000 Marines into 400 boat spaces?  That’s not a riddle. It’s the task of the End Strength and Retention Optimization Group: Retain those Marines who have brought their “A Game” every day and tell those who haven’t that it is time to go home.

The group was stood up in March to help address manpower issues that emerged during a review of FY14 re-enlistment submissions. There is a strong demand for continued service at a time when the Marine Corps is drawing down and there are fewer spaces available. The group has worked closely with commanders and senior enlisted leaders across the service to create the best possible result for Marines and units alike.

Some results were accomplished through the use of voluntary force shaping tools such as Voluntary Enlisted Early Release Program, Voluntary Separation Pay Program, and Temporary Early Retirement Authority. Other results have been realized through involuntary measures like administrative separation of Marines who are or have been outside the accepted range of behavior and performance as established by various Marine Corps orders and directives.

At present there are 206 spots left, with approximately 650 packages pending. Marines who are awaiting approval and those who have FY15 or FY16 end of service dates can get answers to their questions. The group wants to ensure these Marines understand all of the opportunities available to them. In an effort to reach as many individual Marines and leaders as possible, members of the ESROG will be available via Facebook during a virtual town hall Thursday to provide answers and guidance.

This town hall is for anyone who wants information on what the End Strength and Retention Optimization Group is, what the group has done, and what retention will look like in the future. The head of the group, Lt. Col. Rory Quinn, said he hopes participants in the town hall will bring questions on retention and assignment policies.

“I hope they will take away an increased understanding of the major factors which drive their retention and assignment,” Quinn said. “Also they should see opportunities exist that they can take advantage of to excel like lateral moves, overseas assignments and reserve component opportunities.”

This town hall is for anyone with a vested interest in the retention and assignment policies of the Marine Corps. If you are a Marine expecting to re-enlist or execute orders or if you are a staff noncommissioned officer charged with advising a Marine on career decisions, there are factors that will affect you. A few strategic decisions today can help a less competitive Marine improve his or her odds over time. Just as standout performers can learn how to avoid common mistakes that can adversely affect their opportunities in the future.

Join us on Facebook for a Live Town Hall May 15 at 1 p.m. EDT to have your questions answered.

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