Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. --
Marine Corps Recruiting Command finished another successful year of recruiting as Fiscal Year 2012 came to a close at the end of September. The recruiting force achieved all enlisted and officer accession goals while exceeding established DoD quality standards.
“The success of our Corps begins with finding the most highly qualified men and women up to the challenge of becoming United States Marines,” said Maj. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, commanding general, MCRC. “Our canvassing recruiters and officer selection officers have successfully achieved the challenge of finding those individuals and preparing them for the rigors of recruit training or Officer Candidate School this year.”
During FY12, MCRC was charged with accessing 35,950 non-prior service enlisted Marines, 1,450 officers and 4,210 prior service Marines. The recruiting command exceeded each mission, enlisting 35,964 Marines, commissioning 1,464 Marine officers and welcoming 4,210 prior-service Marines (officer and enlisted) back into the Marine Corps.
Of the new enlistees entering the service during FY12, 99.9% were high school graduates and 75% scored in the higher mental category group of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery. Department of Defense policy requires at least 90% of all enlistees to be high school graduates, a benchmark consistently exceeded by Marine recruiters.
The quality of officer candidates is also on the rise.
“Our officer selection officers are prospecting a quality market,” said Lt. Col. Chester McMillon, head of officer programs, MCRC.
The high quality of individuals attending OCS has contributed to a sharp decline in induction attrition, which is when a candidate is sent to the school and found unqualified before training begins. Officer candidates are arriving at OCS better prepared both mentally and physically, and are more successfully completing the rigorous training.
"Previously our induction attrition at OCS was between nine and 10 percent of candidates," said McMillon. "Because of the quality of individual we are sending to training, the attrition rate has fallen below five percent."
In addition to building a smarter and more prepared force, MCRC continues to make progress toward creating a more diverse officer corps. Of the 1,464 new officers joining the Corps in FY12, 19.5% were of minority backgrounds, including 69 African-Americans, 123 Hispanic-Americans and 94 from other ethnic backgrounds.
“The OSOs knocked it out of the park this year,” said McMillon. “The diversity of the officer corps and our pool of officer candidates continue to grow.”
A contributing factor to the continued growth in diversity during FY12 is the success of the Frederick C. Branch Leadership Scholarship. For the first time ever, all 34 Frederick C. Branch four-year scholarships were awarded to highly qualified men and women.
The Frederick C. Branch Scholarship, named after the Marine Corps’ first African-American officer,
is a Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps scholarship available in two, three or four-year installments to students of any background attending or planning to attend one of the 17 participating historically black colleges and universities.
In support of the Commandant of the Marine Corps’ planning guidance, the recruiting command has also executed several initiatives to improve diversity representation throughout the Corps.
The Marines have participated in strategic engagement events at the annual conferences of groups like the National Society of Black Engineers, League of United Latin-American Citizens and National Association of Black Journalists, Officer Educators’ Workshops and Key Influencers Workshops, to name a few.
These engagement events build lasting relationships among diverse communities and dispel common misconceptions about the Marine Corps,” said Osterman. “Investing in a diverse and representative officer corps will help generate and sustain a future force that has the cultural expertise, language skill sets and a variety of philosophies needed to meet the operational requirements of the Marine Corps.”
During the past year the recruiting command has also executed advertising campaigns and partnerships designed to enhance the Marine Corps’ visibility in diverse communities.
One of those campaigns is the partnership between MCRC and Junior Rank, a youth sports company dedicated to training and evaluating young football players. The 2nd annual 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, featuring 100 of the nation’s top high school football players, is scheduled to be played at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., Jan. 4, 2013.
“The Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl is a valuable opportunity to spread positive public awareness of the Marine Corps and reinforce military service as an aspirational option within the community,” said Osterman.
Another hallmark event during FY12 was the release of a new advertising campaign, “Toward the Sounds of Chaos.”
The new multimedia engagement campaign highlights the diverse range of Marine Corps missions conducted in defense of our nation, restoring order and stability through reconstruction efforts, humanitarian interventions, natural disaster relief and peacekeeping missions around the world.
“For 237 years, the Marine Corps has served as America’s elite expeditionary force, fighting to preserve justice and freedom in times of war and peace worldwide,” said Osterman.
“Our survival, status and reputation as an elite force are dependent on our connection with the American people, and specifically with today’s youth—the millennial generation.
Toward the Sounds of Chaos provided an opportunity to share who the Marines truly are – tough warriors, but also leaders in service and altruism – two core values of the millennial generation.”
Although more time is needed to quantify the impact of the “Toward the Sounds of Chaos” campaign into tangible results, initial reactions have been positive.
“We’ve received positive feedback from both our internal and external audiences,” said Dan Weidensaul, deputy assistant chief of staff, advertising, MCRC.
“People have expressed an appreciation for the message and for what the Marine Corps accomplishes.”
Recruiting will continue to be one of the biggest challenges that the Marine Corps faces in FY13.
As the recruiting environment grows increasingly complex, coupled with budget reductions and the need for greater diversity representation in the Marine Corps, it will be crucial to understand the attitudes, beliefs, thoughts and behaviors of the target audiences.
The recruiting command and their contracted advertising agency, JWT, have recently completed research aimed to capture these insights.
“The Marine Corps’ advertising program has become more sophisticated over the years and has adapted to the changing landscape,” said Weidensaul.
“We’ve taken a budget cut so we are going to have to capitalize on owned and earned media opportunities, such as social media and public service announcements; spending less on paid media – like the commercials you see on television.”
Stepping off into FY13, the recruiters and officer selection officers are being required to work smarter and more efficiently; something the command has already demonstrated to be well versed in.
“Our OSOs have to be smart about how they execute their day-to-day operations – including simple things such as planning visits to their schools,” said McMillon. “A single OSO covers a large geographic area so they’ll need to cast a wider net and visit multiple schools on a single trip. In addition, they should be using their lieutenants waiting to attend The Basic School to help train their pool for OCS.”
Senior leaders at the recruiting command are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the recruiting force during FY12, and are confident the Marines are prepared and positioned for continued success in FY13.
"The success of FY12 in part was due to the Marine Corps' sustained commitment to properly resource MCRC in order to ensure we were able to build the future Marine Corps with the best America has to offer.
We met our quality and quantity objectives all for less than one percent of the overall Marine Corps budget," said Lt. Col. Jeffrey Smitherman, assistant chief of staff, G-3, MCRC.
"But make no doubt about it, the success of our command is the direct result of the men and women serving as Marine recruiters and officer selection officers.
These Marines are located in every community across the nation, working very hard, and are prepared for the challenges that lie ahead. They will continue to accomplish the mission in the coming year."