An analysis of officer accession programs and the career development of U.S. Marine Corps Officers
Mehay, Stephen L.
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The purpose of this thesis is to identify and evaluate factors that affect career development of U.S. Marine Corps officers. The analysis includes evaluation of fitness reports, performance at The Basic School (TBS), retention, and promotion to O-4 and O-5 ranks. The primary goal is to explain the effect of officer commissioning programs on officers' careers. The personnel database used for the analysis includes more than 28,000 Marines who entered between FY 1980 and 1999. The performance models assume that commissioning programs that provide longer and more intensive precommissioning acculturation, or that credit enlisted service experience, will be associated with better performance. Performance models are specified and estimated for TBS class rank, retention to 10 years of service, promotion to O-4 and O- 5, and for a Performance Index (PI) derived from fitness report marks. The findings indicate that commissioning source is an important determinant of officer performance. The results suggest that USNA graduates have better fitness reports at all grades between O-1 and O-4. However, officers from most of the other commissioning programs have higher O-4 promotion rates. On the other hand, officers from the three enlisted commissioning programs have significantly better TBS performance and 10-year retention rates. Bivariate probit model with sample selection finds that prior enlisted officers from all commissioning programs have lower O-5 promotion rates. MECEP and ECP increase O-5 promotion rates but do not completely eliminate the negative effect of being prior enlisted. The results also find that TBS class rank is a significant predictor of a Marine's future performance. Finally, the effect of sample selection in the stay-leave decision tends to bias downward the effect of commissioning source in the PI and promotion models. The results find that officers who leave are negatively correlated with average PI, O-4 and O-5 promotion probabilities.
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