When Marine officers and Staff Non-Commissioned Officers (SNCO) were all killed during the Battle of Chapultepec, it was the NCOs who led the charge getting the Marines to the Halls of Montezuma. It is the NCO who carries out the orders and makes sure that the Marines are capable of completing their mission. Yet how are these NCO's chosen; how are they promoted through the enlisted to move up in rank?
The U.S. Marines pride themselves in their physical attributions that stand out above the other branches of the United States military, but a major flaw within the Marines is their promotion system to become a NCO.
I will save you the trouble of reading the whole thing. I conclude that the promotion system promotes people who do not have leadership skills which does not ready the Marines for battle, but in fact depreciates the Marines ability to do their best.
The Marines are promoted through a point system. This is the Marine way of knowing when a Lance Corporal (LCPL) is ready to be promoted to Corporal. This is the method of creating a leader for the troops who is able to make a decision through tough times.
Naturally, we must assume that the points must be given by certain accomplishments which are:
- Physical Fitness Test
- Proficiency and Conduct Marks
- Self Educated Bonus [Marine Corp Insititute (MCI's), College Classes, Etc]
- Time in Grade as a LCPL, Time in Service
- Rifle Marksman Score
- Recruitment Bonuses
- Drill Instructor, Recruiter, Marine Security Guard
The Command then has the duty of assigning a score to be met for different jobs or Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) due to the amount of enlisted in each rank.
The point system does not promote due to a Marine's leadership skills or for a Marine's productivity.
Throughout the private sector, individuals receive in an increase in their wage according to their productivity. Yet in the military, marines only receive a wage increase according to their grade, and wage level determined by time in service. At times, the government may increase the Marine's wages.
In the Marines, there is no incentive for a Marine to be a leader. To be promoted they want an individual who is fit. Physical Fitness does not dictate strong leadership otherwise why not have the Strongest Man as our President. Even in sports, the coaches lead while the individuals who are stronger physically are the players following the coaches instruction.
Rifle Marksmanship has a strong attachment to the Marines as Marines are first Riflemen, yet if a Marine has the best shot, wouldn't we wish to have him to where he is most useful; firing his weapon? A great shot does not dictate strong leadership skills.
Proficiency and Conduct marks are the closest that the military constructed to annotate a Marines productivity yet these Pros and Con marks are dictated by the NCO's above the Marines. Therefore the Marine's productivity is accountable to the perception of the NCO's above him, there is no system provided to show the impact of the Marine. This an important problem since it allows the NCO's to promote friends or Marines they like more than others easier without any penalty of not promoting the Marine who deserves it.
Recruitment points, well, this speaks for itself. Does an individual who can bring more individuals into the service prove he has the leadership skills needed to make decisions during a period of high stress?
What does this tell us? That the backbone of the Marine Corp is filled with many individuals who do not have the capability to lead the junior Marines through tough times. This is not to say that there are not great NCOs serving now in the Marine Corp, but rather the amount of poor NCO's is vastly greater than great NCOs.
A quick look for proof, while serving in Iraq I was a Corporal under a Sergeant. The desert allows one to see the weather coming from miles away. The Sergeant who was promoted meritoriously, meaning given rank for certain accomplishments (in this case, driving a Colonel and barracks manager), wanted to keep the sides of a tent rolled up rather than down during a sandstorm allowing for the Marines living in the tent to have their positions (weapons included) filled with sand. The Sergeant gives a great demonstration of the poor leadership skills of a Non Commissioned Officer who does not have the leadership capabilities to accomplish the mission under stress. Get back to driving Miss Daisy, Sergeant.