Invisible thread: pre-service success indicators among Marine general officers
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The purpose of this study is to identify commonalities that may exist among general officers within the Unites States Marine Corps. This exploratory analysis focuses on pre-service indicators of success and assesses the existence of any competitive advantages. The data used in this analysis includes pre- and post-accession information obtained from the United States Marine Corps' Total Force Data Warehouse (TFDW), as well as semi-structured interviews with six general officers, varying in rank (O- 7 to O-9), gender, race, and duty status (active/retired). The methodology includes both a quantitative and qualitative analysis of the data. The qualitative analysis revealed the presence of mentors throughout each general officer's childhood. The quantitative analysis confirmed the value of networking and mentorship, revealing that 62% of general officers in the study accessed from either the Naval Academy or an NROTC program. Recommendations for further research are to survey the active duty colonel population with questions derived from both the interviews and gaps in the TFDW data, to assess whether the same common success indicators exist. It is also recommended that this study is conducted on O-3s and below to identify whether the same trends are reflected in the junior officer population.
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