The military can be a land of opportunity. There are many options, choices, and paths service members can take to reach career goals and develop skills that may be sought after in the civilian job market—so much so that the military often sets up service members for success in the civilian world at the expense of its own time and money spent. I believe the military needs to increase its return on investment (ROI) on personnel, while also incentivizing retention and job performance.
The Marine Corps has a program called the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Degree Completion Program (SNCODCP). Enlisted Marines in grades E-6 through E-8 with bachelor’s degrees can apply to the SNCODCP to advance their current degree or earn a degree by completing a qualifying program. Once, complete, he or she returns to the service and fills a billet that requires the education attained. This program is not as well known as other degree completion programs and is constantly working reactively to fill empty billets by designating some as immediate fills. This program is great, but it needs to evolve to better use the professional talents of more enlisted personnel.