Optimal Career Progression of Ground Combat Arms Officers in the Marine Reserve
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The purpose of this thesis is to examine career progression for ground combat arms officers in the Marine Corps Reserve, and to identify gaps between current and optimal career progression. Recent policy changes provide the catalyst for this thesis. On 4 December 2006, the Marine Corps announced the implementation of the Officer Candidate Course-Reserve. At the time, active component manpower practices and historically high retention rates resulted in reduced numbers of officers leaving active duty following their initial service obligation. Those officers who transitioned into the Reserve Component did so at grades more senior than required to fill junior officer billets. These factors combined to create a gap between RC junior company grade leadership requirements and the inventory of junior company grade officers. As the Marine Corps begins to staff reserve ground combat arms and engineer platoon and company commanders at 100% of manning, the requirement exists to develop a career path that provides the breadth of experience and expertise desired in its future leaders. However, challenges arise regarding the early to mid-stages of career progression due to training opportunities and PME requirements being less readily available to reserve officers than to their active component counterparts.
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