The Commandant of the Marine Corps told U.S. Marines in Kansas City Aug. 28 that he expects the Marine Corps to reduce manning levels sometime after the end of the war in Afghanistan.
Gen. James T. Conway said that the Marine Corps will likely shrink to somewhere between its current level of 202,000 and 175,000, which is the size it was four years ago.
“I don’t know what that sweet spot is but we’ll figure it out,” Conway said. “My promise to you, and what we already know through manpower, is that we’re not going to execute that reduction in any way that hurts you. We’ll do it in such a way that if you choose to stay with us you’ll have that option.”
The commandant was in Kansas City visiting recruiters, reservists, and active duty Marines serving in the area.
Conway said that both recruiting and retention in the Marine Corps is going really well. A drawdown in recruiting personnel has already begun. Headquarters Marine Corps has reduced the amount of Marines on recruiting duty and the commandant expects the amount of recruiters to be reduced again. He wants to ensure a quality of life for recruiting duty that is on par with other special duty assignments.
“The days of a recruiter having to work six and half days a week, not taking (holidays off) and not being able to take leave need to be behind us,” Conway said. “We need to be smarter than that.”
Conway feels that special duty assignments play an important role in the quality of life of Marines. He says that, unlike the U.S. Army, the Marine Corps works on 7 month deployments. And after every three or four years in the operating forces, Marines are assigned to recruiting, headquarters, security, or training duty. This formula displays positive results on Marines’ health assessments, according to Conway.
“If you’ve ever considered going on recruiting duty, now is the time,” Conway said. “Some of the (older Marines) out there still don’t believe me because they know how it used to be, but I really do think that.”
The Marine Corps is expecting an upcoming reduction and the Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps and Commandant of the Marine Corps want to take pressure off recruiting Marines and their families to ensure the best quality of life for them.