MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. --
In December 2020, Marine Corps Systems Command implemented a new Human Resources team—a major achievement in the command’s continued mission to support and enhance its workforce.
“The Human Resources Team is the first of its kind for the Marine Corps,” said Shane Brooks, division head for MCSC’s Manpower and Services.
MCSC is the Marine Corps’ only acquisition command, with needs that differ from those of the rest of the Marine Corps. The complexity and uniqueness of the acquisition workforce necessitated an HR arm well-trained in acquisition-related matters.
HRT caters specifically toward acquisition professionals, furnishing the command with adequate resources to support hiring and personnel needs. The team provides initial job offers, completes pre-employment checks, organizes HR-related training, assists supervisors with conduct- and performance-related issues, and interacts with the Department of Navy’s Office of Civilian Human Resources, among other tasks.
The HRT staff serve as principal advisors and the technical authority to activity heads, managers and supervisors on all civilian HR programs and policies, assessments, strategic plans and workforce planning at the activity level, said Brooks.
“The team regularly works with the MCSC’s Human Capital Management directorate to provide functions and services to support the needs of the competency managers, the civilian workforce and command leadership,” added Brooks.
Meeting the needs of acquisition workforce
Previously, the Human Resources and Organizational Management Branch aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, provided HR services to MCSC. However, this HR model did not fully provide the acquisition-focused HR support needed for MCSC, said Brooks.
“In the past, the command and HR were speaking two different languages,” said Brooks. “We see that changing and improving drastically with the in-house, dedicated HRT.”
MCSC is a competency-aligned organization. Competencies aim to recruit, develop, allocate and retain high-quality professionals to perform portfolio, program and Program Executive Officer tasks required to produce equipment for Marines. Each competency is a vital resource of specialized personnel with the requisite knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform unique roles within the command.
The Defense Acquisition Workforce Improvement Act drives acquisition workforce needs for training and professional experience. DAWIA mandates certain education and training standards, requirements and courses for the civilian and military acquisition workforce. These needs are unique to MCSC’s recruitment and retention efforts.
“SYSCOM comprises the majority of the civilian acquisition workforce and the sole responsibility of managing DAWIA requirements across the Corps,” explained Brooks. “The need for the HRT is driven partly by the size of the civilian workforce and in part by DAWIA reform initiatives to change HR authorities and programs to recruit and retain acquisition professionals as the DON’s premier technical and business workforce.”
Brooks said the advent of HRT enables the command to more effectively recruit candidates at job-related events, review candidate qualifications and initiate job offers. HRT will be entrenched in the acquisition workforce, helping them to understand and support the command’s unique mission and programs.
HRT also equips MCSC with in-house HR resources to advise and guide the command through developing programs that take better advantage of the flexibilities under the Acquisition Demonstration personnel system— an HR management system that provides tools to motivate and retain a high-quality workforce.
“Recruiting and retaining our acquisition workforce has always been important, and this team supports that mission,” said Brooks. “Our previous model of HR-support didn’t provide the manpower, time or resources for planning events and strategies.”
HRT provides ‘positive impact’ on MCSC
In 2019, MCSC requested to have its own HR office to provide workforce support and the ability to influence workload priorities. After several meetings, HQMC and MCSC entered an agreement to establish HRT in July 2020. The memorandum outlined specific roles and responsibilities among HRT.
“We regularly engaged with leaders across the Marine Corps and DON to address hiring and attrition concerns,” said Brooks. “These meetings were productive and ultimately led to the creation of HRT.”
Ally Regan, supervisory Human Resources specialist for the Human Resources and Organizational Management Branch at HQMC, has been charged with filling vacancies to form the team. Regan expressed excitement for the impact HRT will have on the MCSC workforce.
“The HRT is unique in that the team is co-located with the customer and has additional HR staff, allowing the HR team to provide additional services,” said Regan. “The team allows for the development of HR subject matter experts capable of addressing the unique challenges and needs of SYSCOM.”
Brooks believes HRT is an important addition to MCSC as the command continues to evolve to support 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. David Berger’s Commandant’s Planning Guidance and Force Design 2030.
“Establishing the new HRT is a sort of culmination of the SYSCOM requests and changes happening across the USMC,” said Brooks. “This team will have a significant, positive impact on the command for years to come.”