United States Marine Corps Reserve Officer Manpower Shortage: Addressing the Issue at the Company Grade Level in Today's Operating Environment
MARINE CORPS COMBAT DEVELOPMENT COMMAND QUANTICO VA
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Requiring company grade officers exiting the Active Component AC to affiliate with a Selected Marine Corps Reserve SMCR unit for the remainder of their Military Service Obligation MSO, as opposed to the current commitment of service in the Individual Ready Reserve IRR, will further enhance the Marine Corps Reserves contribution to the Long War. From the inception of the Long War, the Marine Corps Reserve has proven to be a force multiplier to the AC as the SMCR has transitioned from its historical function as a strategic reserve to its current-day role as an operational reserve. This success has occurred in spite of no significant changes to the now outdated policies that historically have caused a shortage of reserve officers at the company grade level. Until recently, policies in place did not allow the SMCR to grow their own company grade officers, and currently still do not require junior officers exiting active duty to affiliate with an SMCR unit. Traditional work arounds have been to fill company grade officer billets with majors if available and amenable or Staff Noncommissioned Officers SNCOs. Although not ideal, prior to the Long War this solution was adequate in a garrison or training environment however, this is not the case today. Todays SMCR units are activating and deploying at previously unimagined rates with no anticipated relief in sight. In addition to the previous solutions to the problem, currently in many instances the active duty Inspector-Instructor I-I or officers on the I-I staff deploy with the SMCR unit, or other active duty or reserve officers from other units join the deploying unit once activated. This stop gap approach is neither an ideal nor a feasible long-term solution. If an SNCO is forced to step into a Platoon Commanders role for example, another junior Marine must fill the SNCOs shoes creating a domino effect.
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