What non-monetary incentives will convince Marines to reenlist?

That is what the Corps wants to know ― and it is challenging Marines and government civilians to find the solution.

The challenge, announced in an administrative message published Wednesday, was sent out by Lt. Gen. David Ottignon, the deputy commandant for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

“The Commandant’s Planning Guidance encourages the exploration of an incentives-based model capable of targeting incentives to specific individuals the Service wants to retain,” the Marine message reads. “Moreover, to maintain a competitive advantage needed to fight and win in the future operating environment, the Marine Corps must effectively attract, develop, and retain military and civilian talent by competing with tools and incentives available in the civilian market.”

Both Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Troy Black have said as force design progresses their new focus is on how the Corps must change to retain the better-trained, more experienced force it needs to fight a potential future war with China.

Senior leaders may see a young Marine coming to the end of a first enlistment as “just an E-4, you don’t trust him with anything,” Black said in August at the 2021 Sea Air Space conference at National Harbor, Maryland.

“That same E-4 22-year-old however, with all that experience, will be treated like a king or queen immediately after walking out that door,” Black said.

The Marine Corps sometimes provides reenlistment bonuses into in-demand job fields and takes into account duty station preference when a Marine reenlists.

But that is not enough to meet the Marine Corps’ goal.

Marines and civilians working for the Corps have between Oct. 25, 2021 and Nov. 30, 2021 to submit ideas on how to accomplish that goal.

Those interested in the competition can either team up or submit their ideas as an individual, the MARADMIN reads.

Submissions must contain the participants contact information, a title and a description of the idea in less than 1,500 words.

A panel of judges led by Manpower and Reserve Affairs will review all submissions and decide on a winner by Jan. 4, 2022, according to the MARADMIN.

The winners will be recognized by Ottignon, featured, “in official Marine Corps media channels and publications,” such as Marines.mil and the Marine Corps Facebook page, and will have the opportunity to participate in its implementation.

“Our system, that I grew up in,” Berger said in September at the Marine Corps Association Breakfast, “was recruit and replace.”

“Our approach now is invest and retain.”

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