Marine Corps - USMC Community - Marine Corps to use AI to Help Recruiting and Retention Models
  • Marine Corps to use AI to Help Recruiting and Retention Models

    The U.S. Marine Corps needs a different kind of Marine to succeed in a future fight: older and more cognitively mature, cross-trained to juggle a variety of roles and missions, tech-savvy.

    And the service plans to cultivate a corps full of these types of warriors with the help of artificial intelligence and data analytics tools.

    Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger released a Talent Management 2030 report Wednesday that outlines new ideas on staffing the service to better meet the needs of the next decade.

    “Our ability to fight and win on future battlefields demands a personnel system that can recruit, develop, and retain a corps of Marines that is more intelligent, physically fit, cognitively mature, and experienced,” the report says. “We need a system that can identify each Marine’s talents, help them develop those talents into skills and aptitudes, and assign them to billets and duties where they can apply their strengths to best support their unit’s mission.”

    “Without fundamental change to our personnel system, executed at speed, we risk undermining the larger goals of Force Design 2030,” it adds.

    Gone are the days of bringing in 36,000 new Marines every year and then letting three-quarters of them go at the end of their first term, Berger told reporters in an interview at the Pentagon. The service wants to bring in a smaller number of new Marines each year, focusing on those who show promise in performing under pressure and mastering multiple specialties.

    Once the service has invested in training those Marines, the emphasis would shift to retaining more of the high-performers, allowing the Marine Corps to grow older and more experienced in the coming years and creating units at the tactical level that can handle more complex work.

    For Berger, his vision for future operations is clear: small units will be spread across operating areas like the South China Sea, taking on an outsized role in sensing the maritime environment around them and reporting back to headquarters to build a larger operating picture. These small units will be tasked with everything from setting up expeditionary refueling and rearming stations to reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance to launching anti-ship and anti-submarine weapons.

    “We’re going to have to ask of Marines more going forward if they’re going to win in a crisis, in a competition, in a conflict, than we had to in the past,” he told reporters. “By that, I mean we’re going to be operating more distributed.”

    “That means every person has to have multiple skills; every person has to be able to make decisions in lieu of regular communications,” Berger added. “Each one of us, he’s got to be a medical person and a machine gunner and two other things because we’re not going to have the latitude to plug and play people at will. This is a different environment we’re going to have to operate in; it takes a more mature force to do that. We can’t have a force full of 18- to 20-year-olds.”

    This runs counter to today’s manpower model, which “was built to produce a first-term force. It was built to build a young, resilient, physically tough, replaceable force. Not all that highly skilled,” he said. “I think it’s worked for us — it will not work for us going forward.”
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