NEW ORLEANS -- style="margin: 0in 0in 8pt;">The Marine Forces Reserve, Assistant Chief of Staff G-1 directorate, announced the release of a new web-based Reserve and Independent Duty Administration Course—known as RIDAC—along with an update to the MARFORRES Standard Operating Procedures for Personnel Administration, Force Order 1001.5a, which now directs the use of the Functional Administrative Support Tool.
Both initiatives provide administrators the requisite knowledge to excel while on independent duty by providing them much needed tools to deliver first-class administrative support to the entire force; RIDAC and FAST are scheduled to launch in November, 2017.
Reserve units across the country possess full-time administrative Marines on the Inspector-Instructor staffs; these Marines play a vital role to ensure over 30,000 Selected Marine Corps Reserve personnel remain in a high state of administrative readiness. This daunting task includes completing electronic service records, validating primary residences, orders writing, travel claims, completing first and second stage audits, and performing a myriad of other administrative functions. The end state is to ensure all MARFORRES Marines are administratively ready to augment and reinforce the active component at a moment’s notice.
“Historically, Marines on independent duty receive very little formal education on the reserve component or reserve administration—typically at MOS school—and usually long before actual field application” said Lt. Col. Jason B. Hill, the MARFORRES G-1 Operations Officer who oversees the development of both programs. “Today’s administrators gravitate towards becoming proficient in a few functional areas of active component administration, particularly for Marines assigned to Installation Personnel Administration Centers. These Marines become de-facto ‘specialists’; the reserve component needs ‘generalists’ who understand and can perform full-spectrum administration for active and reserve component Marines.”
To solve this knowledge and experience gap, Lt. Gen. Rex McMillian, Commander of MARFORRES, directed the creation of both initiatives and tasked the MARFORRES G-1 with development and implementation. The MARFORRES G-1, in conjunction with the Naval Post Graduate School, have been working on the RIDAC and FAST programs for well over a year now and both programs are in the final stages of development.
“The main goals of these programs are to educate administrators, standardize administrative processes, and to modernize day-to-day administrative operations,” said Hill. “RIDAC is a four week online course that explains, in detail, what the reserve component is all about, and how it fits into the Total Force Concept. RIDAC acclimates administrators to independent duty and reserve administration and bridges gaps in formal education.”
RIDAC is accessible online at the NPS website and is led by a certified-to-teach master gunnery sergeant from each of the four major subordinate commands. Each MSC can teach 20 students per class, for a total throughput of 80 students per quarter. Each senior MSC administrator will facilitate a RIDAC course and provide guidance and mentorship to enrolled students. The initial target population are units scheduled for a Marine Corps Administrative Analysis Team inspection within the next six to 12 months, followed by recent Battalion Level Administration Management units; the first course is scheduled to commence on Nov. 20, 2017.
Administrators can also expect to see a new program called the Functional Administrative Support Tool, which can also be found online at the NPS website.
“FAST is the method COMMARFORRES chose to modernize and standardize reserve administration, it operationalizes the force standard operating procedure for personnel administration,” said Hill. “It provides Marines access to an ‘app-like’ program to perform a myriad of administrative functions using a decision based logic, think ‘Turbo-tax’ for administration.”
This new tool will streamline processes for administrators and provide a single source of information tailored to a Marine’s individual administrative requirements.
“Administrators will save countless hours by not having to sift through dozens of orders, regulations, and checklists to find the answer,” said Hill. “FAST does the heavy lifting for the administrators; at the end of the process, FAST produces a checklist for each individual Marines’ specific needs, it even tells you what forms are needed and what Transaction Type Codes to run on unit diary, this is the future of reserve administration.”
FAST also has two other user support tools under development that will be released in the late spring of 2018, FAST Tutorials and FAST Pro-Help. FAST Tutorials are educational in nature and provide “how-to” videos and Power Point classes that explain, in detail, how to accomplish the required actions for completing administrative functions. FAST Pro-Help is a feature that allows administrators, after viewing FAST Tutorials, the opportunity to request additional assistance from the MARFORRES Administrative Assist Unit via email.
The NPS School and the G-1 are putting the final touches on RIDAC and FAST for their November release and once launched, these initiatives will benefit the entire Force by ensuring MARFORRES Marines are administratively ready to “fight tonight.”