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Manpower & Reserve Affairs

Marine Corps Retention

As the Marine Corps manages its 185,000 force, the challenge to keep high-quality Marines in the service in a competitive civilian job market continues. We will retain the very best Marines capable of fulfilling our leadership and operational needs. This is accomplished through a competitive career designation process for officers and a thorough evaluation process for enlisted Marines, both of which are designed to measure, analyze, and compare our Marines’ performance and accomplishments.


Incentive pays remain critical to our retention effort, allowing the Marine Corps to fill hard to recruit positions, such as cyber security technicians and counter intelligence specialists. Similarly, Selective Reenlistment Bonuses (SRBs) allow us to shape our career force. SRBs target critical MOSs and support lateral movement of Marines to these MOSs.


Marine Corps Reserve

Reserve Component Marines understand the need to protect the American way of life. Dedicated men and women continue to volunteer to serve their country in our Corps’ Reserve and share the sacrifices made as part of the Total Force in today’s conflicts. Our Reserve Component fills critical requirements supporting Overseas Contingency Operations and the needs of Geographic Combatant Commanders. At home, Marine Forces Reserve maintains units and assets positioned throughout the country, ready to provide support across the full range of military operations and when called upon, in support of defense support to civil authorities.


Reserve Marines continue to prove their dedication to their country and fellow citizens. Their honor, courage, and commitment to warfighting excellence, while maintaining close ties to their community, truly sets them apart as “Marines.” They will continue to serve as an integral part of our Total Force in accomplishing its assigned mission as America’s Expeditionary Force in Readiness.


Civilian Workforce

The Marine Corps’ civilian workforce is a vital asset to our Total Force team, providing critical support and continuity throughout our Corps. At the end of FY17, the civilian workforce consisted primarily of approximately 19,000 appropriated fund employees and 12,000 non-appropriated fund employees. The ratio of one appropriated fund civilian for every 10 Marines is by far the lowest civilian-to-military ratio within the Department of Defense. Of these employees, 95 percent live and work outside of the Washington, DC beltway. They are in towns all across our Nation directly supporting Marines and the mission at our bases, stations, depots, and installations. Sixty-nine percent of our civilian workforce are veterans.


Our civilians work in true partnership with Marines and play an important role in current combat operations, research and development, and acquisition. They provide invaluable assistance, especially to Marines returning from deployment and their families, as well as traditional services vital to base and station operations.