The Marine Corps? re-enlistment policies are intended to retain the most qualified Marines in each military occupational specialty(MOS) and often lead to fierce competition in some job fields over who stays and who goes.
The slots the Marine Corps must fill to meet MOS staffing goals each year are known as ?boatspaces?. When re-enlistment applications exceed boatspaces in a given MOS, a board determines which Marines will be retained. A Marine can then decide to either learn another job or leave the service.
In job fields where boatspaces exceed applications, the Corps offers cash bonuses to entice Marines to re-enlist. Bonuses are computed by taking a Marine?s base pay, multiplying it by the number of years re-enlisted, then again by the multiple authorized for the MOS in which the Marine seeks retention. Depending on the MOS, multiples can be as little as 0.5 or as much as five. No bonus will exceed $90,000 for fiscal year 2010.
First-term Marines cannot apply for re-enlistment until the fiscal year in which their end of active service falls. Marines must also be recommended for re-enlistment by their commanding officer. This recommendation affects the re-enlistment code they are assigned. Applications for re-enlistment are approved by Marine Corps headquarters, which takes each leatherneck?s re-enlistment code into account when determining whether to retain him.
Once approved, a Marine has 15 days to raise his right hand, take the oath and make his re-enlistment official. After a first-term Marine re-enlists, the Corps considers him ?a career Marine? and, for manpower planning purposes, expects him to continue re-enlisting until retirement. Because the Corps assumes that all career Marines will re-enlist until retirement, competition for boatspaces is found only among leathernecks seeking retention for the first time.