MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. --
Marines with the I Marine Expeditionary Force command element held a professional development conference at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, March 20, 2017.
The conference was hosted by members of I MEF’s Manpower and Administration section and was open to staff noncommissioned officers and officers in the occupational specialties of administration specialist, manpower officer, personnel officer, and career retention specialist, from all of the MEF’s subordinate commands and Marine Corps Installations West.
“The purpose of the career development conference is to provide a formal venue wherein manpower advocacy and best practices can be provided and discussed,” said Master Sgt. Elvis R. Leon, operations chief, Manpower and Administration Section, CE, I MEF. “This event is designed to develop and reinforce skills and a common understanding of manpower practices in the manpower/administrative community, ultimately enhancing readiness and administrative support to commanders across the fleet and supporting establishment.”
During the conference more than 120 Marines discussed topics such as human resource development, manpower management technology and readiness reporting.
“(There was) outstanding attendance and audience participation - the amount of folks who came were far beyond our expectations,” said Maj. Stephen McNeil, operations officer, Manpower and Administration Section, CE, I MEF. “Marines from Marine Corps Air Station Yuma and Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow took multiple days to attend - hats off to their commands for putting TAD dollars toward 01 education and professional development!”
McNeil explained that the event gave an opportunity for peers and superiors to interact and build camaraderie and focus on their mission and responsibilities.
“The conference was a means to re-instilling pride in our mission, and to recognize that we're made up of some of the most dynamic Marines in the force,” he said. “Many in the Marine Corps don't equate the Manpower/Administrative occupational field with a "capability" - many consider the occupational field as nothing more than folks routing correspondence for signature.”
He added the occupational field is far more important than the average Marine recognizes.
“With the Marine Corps taking on an ever-expanded role…the feeling was that our occupational field is on the verge of making some big impacts for commanders and the service at large,” he said.
According to McNiel there are not enough opportunities for administration Marines to further their professional development.
“It provided much-need advocacy to administrators across I MEF and MCI-W - there's far too few opportunities/formal schools for 01's in the Marine Corps,” he said. “This venue - the first of many more to come - provided hands-on advocacy, best practices and fellowship.”
The I MEF CE has taken the initiative to hold these events before and intends to make them a regular part of the professional development of Camp Pendleton area administration Marines.
“MEF hosted a three-day symposium at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego last year which was more of an executive-level forum,” McNiel said. “We hope to make this event a routine/quarterly occasion, with MCI-W or I MEF MSC's hosting upcoming meetings.”