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Marine Corps Readiness: The Costs of First-Term Dependency

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Research paper

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Ensuring success on the 21st Century battlefield demands that the Marine Corps persist in reevaluating its policies pertaining to dependency in the first-term force for trends or cost implications that may impact negatively on operational readiness. Beginning in the 1980s, Marine Corps leaders have become increasingly disturbed at the increase in the marriage and divorce rate among the first-term force. Their concern was based not only on the well being of Marine families, but also on the costs of maintaining a large dependent population and the impact on operational readiness. In 1993, ALMAR 22693 addressed the leaderships concerns by establishing a policy that eliminated the accession of married individuals by 1996 and required that first-term Marines receive marriage counseling. The ALMAR was rescinded within one week of its release. The ALMAR did result in the conduct of two studies aimed at investigating the effects of marriage within the military services. Both studies came to similar conclusions. First, there was no established tool of measurement within DoD that monitored individual readiness. Second, both studies concluded that marriage did not degrade the readiness of the military. Various quality of life QOL deficiencies were identified as needing improvement, which were thought to influence only morale, not unit readiness. Literature, studies, and articles were reviewed, and interviews conducted to determine what information was available on the negative impacts of first-term dependency, and to identify any possible solutions. It was concluded that the lack of a standardized measure for individual readiness within DoD makes it impossible to accurately determine readiness trends among the various first-term dependency cohorts.

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  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics

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