June 6, 2013, MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. — Marine Air Control Group 28 began testing the Marine Corps Leadership Development Program May 29. The LDP is a new way of training Marines and is replacing the mentorship program.
“One of the flaws the mentorship program had was that not every Marine was receiving the same information,” said Master Gunnery Sgt. John Willis, the senior enlisted advisor at the Lejeune Leadership Institute. “That’s what we want to do with the Marine Corps Leadership Development Program. We want to even it out across the board for all Marines.”
The LDP will train and better equip leaders to understand their subordinates motivations, goals and possible barriers to success. Leaders will become more aware of issues such as debt and depression that may develop into crises.
“It’s going to encompass things that we already do as Marines,” said Willis. “We hope that everyone can get better and improve because there is always room for improvement.”
MACG-28 will be testing the program for three months in order to provide feedback to the Marine Corps before its expected implementation in November.
“Our Marines will examine what in this program’s draft Marine Corps Order works and what does not,” said Col. Jeff S. Kojac, the MACG-28 commanding officer.
“We will ask whether or not they have recommendations for how to make the initiative more useful. As a test-bed, we will see whether or not the program helps leaders to better comprehend and bring out the best in their Marines. As well, the group and squadrons will report whether this approach is an effective means to deliberately and repeatedly tie together the large number of stove-piped behavior programs that otherwise only episodically get attention.”
A draft of the LDP order was presented to the commandant and showed integral parts of the program, including six functional areas which the program hopes to balance.
“We went up and briefed the commandant,” said Col. Scott Erdelatz, the director at the Lejeune Leadership Institute. “We explained that coaching and developing people in this way is important and we have the responsibility to do both, and he agreed with us.”
The six functional areas in the program are fighter, fitness, finances, family, fidelity and future.
“This initiative is intended to better inform how each of us coaches and counsels the Marines for whom we are responsible,” said Kojac. “It is also aimed at better empowering how our Marines implement the Corps’ myriad programs for keeping our honor clean. Ultimately, if we make it work, our Marines will have higher proficiency and conduct marks and enjoy even greater success at living up to the demanding ethos of being a Marine.”