The effect of personnel stability on Marine Corps readiness: are infantry battalions ready to respond to future conflicts?
Johnston, Anthony C.
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The next man up slogan may be acceptable for competitive sports, but it seems more likely to characterize negligence when placed in the context of the potential life-and-death outcomes facing the members of a military organization. This research questions whether the Marine Corps’ manning and staffing policies are adequately setting the conditions for infantry battalions to achieve optimal readiness prior to deployment. The clearest snapshot of an infantry battalion’s readiness is displayed during the unit’s mission rehearsal exercise. According to this research, the Marine Corps manning and staffing policies accomplish the commandant’s guidance, but the results from the models in this study identify weaknesses in current policy metrics. In fact, the Marine Corps manpower process is underperforming the task of stabilizing infantry battalions prior to deployment. The resulting effect is a negative contribution toward unit cohesion and readiness. This study recommends including a stability metric in the current readiness model, adjusting the staffing window, and prioritizing the staffing of the statistically significant unit groups identified in this study. The Marine Corps can improve the readiness of infantry battalions by modifying the manning and staffing policy guidelines and enforcing the initiative known as the Deployed Unit Staffing Cohesion policy.
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