An analysis of departure behaviors of high-quality career designated first-term Marine officers
Scarfe, Jonathan C.
Sullivan, Ryan S.
Seagren, Chad W.
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The United States Marine Corps promotes within a closed system; the quality we retain today is the pool of available leaders in the future. The establishment of the competitive career designation process in 2010 provides an ideal opportunity to research the quality of officers we are retaining and losing. This research examines factors significant to the departure of high-quality junior Marine officers, and compares measures of performance of the officers who continue service. The top five percent of graduates from The Basic School (TBS) receive meritorious designation, while the remainder of the population competes on the Officer Retention Board (ORB) near the end of their first term. We show that TBS performance directly relates to officer performance over his/her initial obligation and subsequent selection by the ORB. Utilizing a probit model and a data set of 3,917 Marine officers, we provide statistical evidence that the source of career designation is not significant to an officer’s decision to exit the Marine Corps. However, very high quality officers who are on the margin of meritorious designation have the highest probability of exiting service when compared to their peers. We recommend expanding the meritorious designation program to the top 10 percent of TBS graduates to assist in capturing high-quality junior officers.
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