Quality over quantity
By Cpl. Chris Kutlesa
| | January 04, 2011
Less than four years ago the Marine Corps began a five year mission in expanding its forces, it only took three.
Now as the recruitment deadline hits its five year mark ERR is beginning to pull back the reigns.
A combination of a smaller budget, an overall Marine Corps end strength overage and a dwindling number of recruiters has made it easier for the Corps to be more selective in its pool. On Oct. 2, 2010 the MCRC recruitment operations order for fiscal year 2011 was released and its message was clear; quality over quantity.
“The Marine Corps standards have always been high, but now with our current situation we are able to put even more focus on the quality of our Marines,” said CWO Henry L. Cooke, the assistant operations officer for ERR.
As of December 2010, Congress was still struggling to approve the military’s budget, causing recruiting stations to slow down their shipment of new recruits.
Last year the budget saw similar delays causing a shift of pooles from the first to the second part of the fiscal year.
“You have to remember that Congress governs the Marine Corps,” said Cooke. “You can only be over your manpower by a certain percentage and other than that they just won’t give you the money to cover paychecks. I think sometimes people forget that the Marine Corps is also on a budget”
The silver lining to the budget setbacks is that recruiters have a chance to build their pools and maintain higher standards, which is what the ERR did in Fiscal Year 2010 and plans to do again in 2011.
The order reads, “There is a slight increase in the shipping mission for FY11 but with strong start pools the region will have the ability to ship the most qualified applicants to recruit training during FY11. The ability to ship the most qualified applicants during FY11 should decrease MCRD discharges throughout the coming year.”
As ERR focuses closer on quality, the districts are being held to the start pool goal without exceeding it as they did during the buildup to 202K. Last year ERR met its contracting mission and finished the year with a 58% start pool for FY11. Entering into the current fiscal year, the start pool goal for FY12 is currently 53%. The effects of a limited start pool goal can be seen in the net APR’s over the past few years. At the height of the buildup in FY08 when there was only a minimum start pool goal, the 6th Marine Corps District’s net APR at the end of the year was 1.25. At the end of FY10, the APR had dropped to 0.92 because there was a limit to what the district’s start pool could be.
Entering the year with high numbers and favorable factors does not mean the mission will complete itself. The commander’s intent urges ERR to stay diligent in improving itself internally and in turn minimizing the threat of complacency and misconduct.
The commander’s intent on the order reads as follows, “In addition to mission accomplishment, we will focus our efforts on improving systematic recruiting across the region and ensuring the recruiting force is led by leaders who are technically proficient and involved in the activities of those they lead. Systematic recruiting and involved leadership will sustain our accomplishments by minimizing the threats posed by the vulnerabilities associated with recruiting complacency and recruiters misconduct.”
High numbers and quality recruits might be good news for the Marine Corps, but successes can sometimes lead to complacency. Maintaining technical proficency and maximizing systematic recruiting will help recruiters and stations maintain momentum.