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Marine IMA program could lose thousands of billets in overhaul

Apr. 19, 2013 - 10:47AM   |  
Marine officials are set to review the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program, foreshadowing a possible overhaul that could trim thousands of empty billets and reorganize the program's structure.
Marine officials are set to review the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program, foreshadowing a possible overhaul that could trim thousands of empty billets and reorganize the program’s structure. (Cpl. Daniel Wulz / Marine Corps)
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11,117

Number of current IMA billets, many of which are vacant.

Marine officials are set to review the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program, foreshadowing a possible overhaul that could trim thousands of empty billets and reorganize the program’s structure.

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Marine officials are set to review the Individual Mobilization Augmentee program, foreshadowing a possible overhaul that could trim thousands of empty billets and reorganize the program’s structure.

Most of the billets facing scrutiny have been vacant for years, so the impact on IMA Marines should be minimal, according to manpower officials.

The review, set for May, is part of a routine assessment that occurs every three years. The last review, however, was conducted before significant changes to the active-duty force that IMA Marines support, including the start of the active-duty drawdown that will cull 20,000 Marines from the ranks by 2017 and the Force Structure Review Group’s realignment of the active-duty force to meet emerging needs with less manpower.

“The intent of the IMA Program Review Board is to position the Marine Corps IMA program as a responsive, sustainable source of contingent individual manpower readily available to source emergent requirements from the operating forces and supporting establishment,” according to Marine administrative message 172/13, signed March 29.

“As the Marine Corps evaluates lessons learned from the past 12 years of overseas contingency operations, and as active component end strength is reduced into the future, it is necessary to ensure the IMA program is organized, administered and resourced to enhance Marine Corps warfighting capability.”

While thousands of billets face scrutiny and could be eliminated, the review isn’t bad news for IMA Marines since billets that are filled or regularly activated are unlikely to take a hit.

“Any IMA billet that has not been mobilized/activated in the last 12 years will be highly scrutinized,” according to the MARADMIN.

“Current IMA Marines will not be negatively impacted,” said Maj. Shawn Haney, a Manpower and Reserve Affairs spokeswoman aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.

There are 3,100 Marines serving in the program, although 11,117 billets are set aside. Because IMA Marines are called up to support active-component units only when needed, fully manned units that have Marines with all the skills needed for their mission don’t fill all their allotted IMA billets. In other words, the program may be a lot bigger than needed.

If anything, the reshuffling and trimming will make command and control more efficient, Haney said.

The IMA review group will convene May 14-17 aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.

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