Amateurs talk tactics, professionals talk logistics, and people who understand how the U.S. military really works talk personnel policy. In other words, if you want to change how our military works, change who gets promoted, and when.
In that vein, a young Marine officer writes:
I'm not sure if you have seen this or not, but it appears as though the Marine Corps is experimenting with a new concept that will allow Marines to take a break from active service to pursue their own desires with a guarantee of returning to active service afterwards. It's called the Career Intermission Pilot Program (CIPP). Link to the MARADMIN is here.
I'm a company grade officer (CGO) in the Marine Corps and have recently started working in the newly minted "Unmanned Aerial Systems Officer" field. Having experience in this field should open many doors for careers outside of the military. Knowing this, I've been following the thread of postings through your blog over the last year and, like many others, I too have been wrestling with the decision to stay with the Corps after this tour of duty. While it is yet to be seen how the CIPP will play out, the start of this program demonstrates that Headquarters Marine Corps is concerned about all this talk over the retention of quality CGOs. For me personally, having an opportunity like this would make me more likely to stay with the Marines despite many of the concerns expressed by the CGOs that have contributed to your blog in the past.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.