Posted on Dec 1, 2014
Marine Corps Times
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From: Marine Corps Times

As enlisted Marines face more demanding education requirements for promotion, Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Mike Barrett is backing the move in an open letter to the Corps.

Barrett appeared on Monday's episode of "The Corps Report," the Marine Corps-sponsored video news update released on paydays. He discussed upcoming changes to professional military education, which include new resident courses for lance corporals, corporals and sergeants to be promoted to the next rank.

"Don't look at this as a roadblock; look at this as we are evolving as an institution," Barrett said on the show.

The changes include a new command-sponsored leadership and ethics seminar for Lance Corporals, and requirements to complete the Marines' resident corporals and sergeants courses ahead of promotion to sergeant and staff sergeant. The requirements take effect Oct. 1, 2015.

Barrett has been closely involved in designing the new PME standards, working with Marine Corps Training and Education Command to craft the leadership and ethics seminar.

"PME has always been a priority in Sgt. Maj. Barrett's process," said his spokesman, Gunnery Sgt. Chanin Nuntavong. "It took him from day one until now to make sure everything is lined up the way things should be."

In the open letter, published as the episode aired, Barrett encouraged all Marines to read the 2,200-word Marine administrative message that described the new changes and requirements.

"So, why are we doing this? Simply answered — because the world is not getting any nicer, it is unstable and increasingly more complex and our Marines will be handling multiple tasks in chaotic environments, making critical decisions at the point of friction," he wrote.

Those friction points include internal discipline issues as well as future combat and crisis response missions, he said.

Among discipline issues address by the new lance corporals seminar, he said, are drug use, alcohol, domestic violence, criminal activity, sexual offenses, hazing and suicide. Looking outward, Barrett cited several crises Marines are currently confronting or could face soon including instability in the Middle East, extremist threats, Ebola response in Africa, and providing security to U.S. borders.

Nuntavong said Barrett wrote the letter and appeared on "The Corps Report" to help Marines embrace the rationale behind the new requirements.

"As Sergeant Major Barrett traveled around the Marine Corps, a lot of the Marines ... didn't really understand why things were changing; they felt it was another rock in their rucksack," he said. "So [Barrett] wrote a letter ... explaining in his eyes the importance of [enlisted PME] and the changes that we're moving towards."

The new promotion requirements may place an added burden on unit leaders, who will have to devote time and resources to facilitating versions of the lance corporals seminar and sending Marine noncommissioned officers away to resident PME courses.

"The challenge is for commanders, senior enlisted leaders, frontline supervisors and the individual Marine to find the balance between advanced primary [military occupational specialty] training/schools, predeployment workups, enlisted PME, family and social life," Barrett said in an email to Marine Corps Times. "They're all important, they're all priorities, we can do them all — equally great! Be in charge of the challenge."

During his video appearance, Barrett said resident PME courses were a necessary sacrifice.

"If you think resident PME is a burden," he said, "try ignorance."

http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/story/military/careers/marine-corps/2014/12/01/smmc-education-requirements-pme-promote/19742171/
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CW5 Desk Officer
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Great story - the standards are laid out clearly.

I love the quote: "If you think resident PME is a burden," he said, "try ignorance."

I would say the same thing for civilian education. If you think civilian (higher) education is a burden, try ignorance. Well said, Sergeant Major Barrett!
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GySgt George Vukovich
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I believe this will be a benefit for the Corps. PME has, and always will have, an important place in the development of Marines. I see nothing wrong with enhancing each Marines capabilities from a thought stand point. PME schools serve greatly to promote critical thinking and provide greater opportunities to 'think on the go'. This will only make for a more rounded Marine! And many enlisted will find the additional PME will serve them better in a college classroom as well.
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