.A paper written on Reserve Recon

leonrazurado

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Written by Major Brooks. Never met him and never heard of him. There are some interesting points, namely establishing a pipeline for Reconnaissance students, and allowing more funding for training time for reserve units to better prepare for deployments, etc….

http://www.dtic.mil/get-tr-doc/pdf?AD=ADA601020

Also sheds some light on the problems reserve units face as far as recruiting goes.
 

Teufel

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I don't know Maj Brooks but I'm very familiar with the officers he referenced as sources did his paper. The reserve recon units have a lot of challenges that cannot easily be fixed without improved funding and recruitment. I can go on at length about it when I have more time. He has good ideas. The last I&I for 4th recon was pushing hard in that direction.
 

Ocoka

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Increase to 25 more training days and over-recruit. Seems very sensible considering the standards that have to be maintained, the lengthy training pipeline and the wash-out percentage.
 

leonrazurado

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I don't know Maj Brooks but I'm very familiar with the officers he referenced as sources did his paper. The reserve recon units have a lot of challenges that cannot easily be fixed without improved funding and recruitment. I can go on at length about it when I have more time. He has good ideas. The last I&I for 4th recon was pushing hard in that direction.
I haven't kept up much with the going ons of the Corps since I EAS'd. Is the commandant still pushing for a better prepared reserve force? Or is it on the back burner now that president Trump is growing active duty numbers?
 

leonrazurado

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Increase to 25 more training days and over-recruit. Seems very sensible considering the standards that have to be maintained, the lengthy training pipeline and the wash-out percentage.
I agree. Although I'm not sure what reserve Recon culture is like. I'd be interested to know if most of the bubba's are wanting more training days.
 

Ocoka

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I agree. Although I'm not sure what reserve Recon culture is like. I'd be interested to know if most of the bubba's are wanting more training days.

Whether they want them or not, they apparently need them to stay mission capable. Even with an extra 25 days, I wonder if Reserve Recon could stay as proficient as the A/D guys who train continuously? I'll wait to hear @Teufel weigh in on this.
 

leonrazurado

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Understandably. From what I interpret, Guard SF Soldiers come in more often than their drill periods, and don't always get paid to do so. Considering the extent to which they're trained, I can see how Recon Marines would need the extra time as well just to stay proficient.
 
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Teufel

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This paper is not entirely accurate. The recon advocate wanted to create a new recon command structure and a training pipeline but never was able to do so. The ISR regiment died on the vine, although there is talk about recreating the SRIG at the MEFs. The Division commanders do not want to give up their recon battalions though so we will see what happens. It's Newton's first law of institutional inertia; organizations tend to resist all attempts to change them.

Recon Training Company will do their best to send graduates to airborne, SERE, and sometimes dive prior to sending them to Okinawa. Marines heading to 1st and 2nd Recon are sent directly to their battalions.

The active duty reconnaissance battalions are tasked to conduct specialized insertion (HAHO/HALO/diving/SPIE etc) amphibious and ground reconnaissance, battle space shaping (call in air and artillery delivered fires), and direct action raids in support of Marine Corps units. This is a long list of tasks and is very difficult to train to for active duty units. I think it's unrealistic to expect a reserve unit to do the same in 38 days a year (or even the proposed 68 days). More time would enable the reserves to do a jump and a dive once a quarter. That would help sustain individual skills sure, and I think that's a good thing. It's a long way from a capability however.

Training with the active duty battalions is a great idea. This will meet with a lot of resistance from Marine Force Reserve because of the logistical challenges. The Reserves should co-locate a reserve recon company with each active duty recon battalion to facilitate this but as I understand it there are two many reserve units in those areas and there is institutional resistance to move units around. This would greatly improve recruiting and retention though as many 0321s stay in the local area after they EAS.

I think a reserve recon advocate is a good idea but realistically the 4th Recon Battalion CO or I&I should develop a relationship with the 4th MARDIV CO or MFR General. This is what happens in the active duty forces. I can understand how this is personality dependent though and there is a tyranny of distance between the battalion CP in Texas and the Div/HQ CP in Louisiana. Right now the active duty Recon Advocate handles school quotas for the reserves. Honestly I think the reserves have a hard time finding guys to fill their school seats as it is.

I think that the reserves would be a lot more proficient if they followed the NSW model. As I understand it, the reserve SEAL teams are entirely comprised of reservists who came off active duty. This means you aren't teaching guys from ground zero and all your training is refresher training. I think the national guard SF groups may have a larger budget and conduct more than 38 days of training a year that the reserve recon units are limited to. They also deploy more.

Currently, in my opinion, the reserve recon units are designed to maintain a roster of individually trained reconnaissance Marines. They go to all the same schools but don't really have the time to develop any team or platoon level capabilities in any of the mission essential tasks. That being said, they do send teams and detachments on deployment. They have sent guys to Africa and are going to send detachments to Okinawa. That changes the math a little. A deployment has funding associated with it and that team will activate prior to deploying to train together. For example, I believe they activated platoons for 6-9 months prior to deploying them to Iraq during OIF. This allowed them to develop the capability to conduct patrols and raids.
 

leonrazurado

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@Teufel thanks for the insight. One thing that comes to mind is the length of the proposed pipeline. In the scout sniper thread, you mentioned that most battalions will get one deployment out of a school trained sniper before they EAS. If recon contracts are 4 years, it wouldn't make much financial sense to invest so much will little return.

Again, I don't know anything about either Recon or the reserves. Following the NSW way, would this create bottle necking or would billets no longer be rank specific? Last I checked Recon has low cutting scores, and I can imagine there would be plenty of senior sergeants walking around.

Glad to have your brain to pick, I appreciate it the response.
 

Teufel

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Recon is different than snipers. Most 0321s come in off the street with a 5 year contract. The battalion gets two deployments out of them and there is a decent retention rate since the Marines can stay 0321s until they retire as a Master Guns if they choose to.

NSW is way larger than recon. The reserve recon units are already severely undermanned. We could probably only support one reserve company if they made prior AD recon service a requirement.
 
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