MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif.-Marines of all ranks gather together to attend the Manpower Drawdown brief held at the Camp Pendleton's Bulldog Box Office April 24. Col. William Tosick explained how the breakdown and reduction of the Marine Corps will occur leading to fiscal year 2016. Tosick is the head of the Manpower Plans, Programs and Budget Branch for Headquarters Marine Corps. USMC photo by Lance Cpl. Michael Iams
Corps reduces number not effectiveness
by Lance Cpl. Michael Iams, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton
MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. — Officials with Headquarters Marine Corps, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, conducted an informational brief at the Camp Pendleton’s Bulldog Box Office April 24, regarding the drawdown of active duty Marines beginning October 2012.
The brief was held to inform Marines about reducing the force from 202,100 Marines to an end-strength of 182,100 over the course of the next four years and how to prepare for the change.
“When the (Marine Administration message) comes out about the drawdown, anyone can interpret it anyway they want,” said Sgt. Maj. Cevet Adams, M&RA sergeant major. “We are here, in person, to pass the information along and answer any questions Marines may have about the drawdown.”
Col. William Tosick, head of the Manpower Plans, Programs and Budget Branch, explained how the breakdown will occur leading to fiscal year 2016.
“We must maintain the right number of Marines at each rank to ensure we do not become a hollow force and use natural attrition and voluntary separation authorities to achieve reductions,” said Tosick during the presentation. “Competition for accession, promotion, and retention will be tougher, but in numbers required to sustain the force.”
The brief informed Marines of the five voluntary and four involuntary force shaping tools to be used as options of separation from the Marine Corps.
“This brief helped shed a lot of light on many of the questions we have about the drawdown,” said Master Sgt. Alison P. Cornelius, career planner staff non-commissioned officer in charge for 1st Marine Division, I Marine Expeditionary Force. “Such as the (Temporary Early Retirement Authority) service limit on staff sergeants and majors and the (Volunteer Enlisted Early Retirement Program) increasing the 90-day discharge time-frame to 365 days.”
Marines in high-demand Military Occupational Specialties are more of a target to be separated then those in under-strength MOSs, according to the presentation given at the theatre.
“We have to see the demands of the MOSs and take advantage of those in need of Marines,” said 2nd Lt. Thomas H. Thornton, maintenance platoon commander for Combat Logistics Regiment 1, 1st Marine Logistics Group, I MEF. “This is a time of change and as Marines we can adapt and overcome any situation, personal or professional.”
With the rise in competition for spaces and promotions, Marines must ensure their records are correct and are up-to-date with their training, professional military education and other standards and are ready for any board, according to the presentation given at the theatre.
“No one will look after your record but you,” said Adams. “Many Marines may think we aren’t looking out for their best interest but we are and that’s why we are here, in person, to answer any questions they may have.”
Even with the drawdown, the Marine Corps will keep its strength and fighting force it is known for.
“With this drawdown, we are returning to our Navy-Marine Corps roots of being an amphibious Marine Corps,” said Tosick. “We are not just focused on the quantity, but we pay attention to the skill set that each Marine brings to the table.”
In the words of the commandant, “Bring your A-game each and every day,” he added.
For more information on the manpower drawdown, visit www.manpower.usmc.mil and click on “Drawdown information” on bottom right-hand corner of the page.