State of FORCECOM April 2018

State of FORCECOM April 2018

State of Forces Command

Fellow Marines!

As some of you have read there’s quite a bit of buzz going on around Marine Corps HQ these past few weeks. By now some of your have read the ‘Dant’s list of lists detailing all the ongoing and upcoming projects we’ve been tasked with. I know there’s quite a bit of rumor, and supposition floating around, and while we can’t discuss many of the details – because there really aren’t any details to discuss – the ‘Dant and I will keep you all informed as best we can, and up to the minute.

Please – I ask that before you shuffle off to Facebook, or the listserv to post/email about rumors you’ve heard, utilize your chain of command to dispel the stories, rumors, scuttlebutt, or to simply ask questions. You can contact me directly as well at forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org – my door is always open. Posting rumors to social media or email lists does nothing more than create a super huge game of ‘Telephone’, with each telling of the story more inaccurate than the last.

I’d like to think that I keep your Brigade OICs pretty well informed, and to help quell rumors, and fill in a few blanks I will send them a point by point conversation on each of the ‘Dant’s numbered tasks. That way, when you do turn to higher for information or guidance you will have the best skinny that’s on the streets.

If you have indeed read the ‘Dant’s list of lists you will think and feel there are massive changes coming to the Marine Corps. Let me assure you looks are deceiving. Many of the tasks are simple housekeeping tasks (e.g., manual revisions), some are our proactive attempt to get out in front of the trademark and copyright wave. Others are in response to recent decisions by the AB, and are an attempt to improve the Corps ability to support the individual member at the MSG/MEU level. Most, if not all, of these updates, and changes should be transparent to Joe Marine and daily business will go on as usual. And, none of these updates and changes will fundamentally change the Corps we love. Only make it better!

Now – on to other important issues…

COFORCECOM out of pocket!

Putting this out there again… Household Six (my wife) and I will be leaving in a couple weeks for an extended stay in Germany. In preparing for the trip, I’ve found my access to the internet is going to be more limited than previously thought, which means Unit and Brigade OICs need to be extremely proactive concerning administrative actions such as awards, assignments, and database changes. So they can be proactive, I need you, as the individual member, to be proactive as well. Don’t procrastinate if there’s something that needs changed in the database, you’re looking for an award, or there’s a need to change a roster. If not, there’s going to be a wait… just sayin’!

IC 2018 is coming up!

How many Marines are going to attend the IC/IM this year? I know travel is uber-expensive these days, and with the uptick in gas prices many plans to attend have been cancelled. If you’re local you should make every attempt to be there to represent your unit and the Corps.

Head on over to the IC FB page, or find one of the numerous advertisements posted on the listserve and see if you can attend. It’s a blast to meet some of the folks you know only by name, and to share in the fellowship and comradery events such as dress mess and muster can provide.

SFMC Historian, and Corps Heraldry!

We now have a historian in the office of the Dep’Dant. As I’ve been urging you to do for several months now, I strongly encourage you to make contact with the officer, and provide your unit’s lineage, and history for archiving. Our Heraldry Officer is working in conjunction with the Historian to build not only the Corps history, but to catalogue its distinctive items. Many of you have provided items such as logos, mottos, slogans but we can do better.

With the quasi-hiatus the Corps is experiencing due to trademark and copywrite issues with our artwork now is a great time to update your logos, and create on if your unit doesn’t have one. If you need assistance with graphics contact COL Derek Allen, our Heraldry Officer, at sfmc.heraldryoffice@gmail.com. He has answers you may need and is waiting to help!

In closing…

I don’t know about you, but the remainder of this year is going to be exciting! The Corps is going thru a period of evolution, and growth and can only come out the other side a better organization. But it needs you, the member with boots on ground, to conduct a breach, and dynamic entry into 2019. This club belongs to all of us, and together we can do great things!

So, let’s get hot and move out with a sharp left step.

Ooorah!

BDR B. Allen
Forces Command

State of FORCECOM March 2018

State of FORCECOM March 2018

Fellow Marines!

There sure has been quite a bit of chatter on the subspace channels this past month! Unless you’ve been hiding in a cargo container on Ceti Alpha V you know there has been a couple hot button issues brought to light lately that has placed a good deal of our Marines on edge. Of course, I am speaking of the Vice Commander, STARFLEET, and his dealings with the newly nom’d MACOs, and our beloved Corps, over trademark/copyright artwork, and protected images.

While the modus may have seemed nefarious to some, as though the VCS came out of the chute with his phasers on malky, there were conversations already taking place at the General Staff level. There’s a bigger picture to be seen that dates back to November 1982 and the inception of the Corps. Back then, the Marines that brought the Corps back to SFI didn’t have to deal with like stolen valor, and trademark, copyright and intellectual property infringement. But thanks to military groupie wanna-bes, and a little fan pic called Axanar everyone from the Veteran service member to CBS is on the prowl.

The Corps has been in a situation with the USMC, and as a result we made changes in our insignia. Now, with lawsuits on the wind, and blood in the water the Fleet and Corps are taking proactive steps to ensure we don’t travel down that same path. Fleet is looking into the use of certain, possibly copyright images in our artwork. Units of the Corps are validating the ownership of the artwork they currently claim and display, and there are talks of further changes in the future to bring the Corps back over the line from infringement to compliance.

One thing I don’t like is the rumor mill, and the game of ‘telephone’ (you remember the game, yeah?) So, to squash any rumor, mistaken comment, or assumption I’ll address a few of the issues that have come up the pipe from the field.

1. We are currently **ON HOLD** to remove any delta shape from our artwork. I was given guidance to stand down on previous directives until Fleet can research into the use of deltas, and other common Trek related shapes. I know there was a rush to flush put out only a week ago, and if you’ve already changed your artwork just hold what you got. Don’t toss your old artwork just yet, there may be good news on the horizon.

2. Do continue with the validation of ownership of your artwork. That guidance still stands. If you have any questions, contact your Brigade OIC or me directly.

3. We are not changing the color of the Battle Dress Uniform, or are we discontinuing wear of the BDU.

4. We are making changes to select BOS and qualification badges. The biggest change is the incorporation of the SFMC anchor in all BOS badges vice the delta, globe and anchor. The USMC agreed to allow us to continue to sell and wear insignia bearing the DGA until stocks are depleted. New stock will be corrected to include the SFMC anchor.

Any qualification badge that was based on a real-world military badge is being redesigned – specifically the medic badge, Leadership Qualifications, Aeromedical wings, and Advanced Leadership Studies. All new, SFMC distinctive badges are being suggested, designed and put before the General Staff for selection. More to follow as the project progresses.

If you have any questions or hear a rumor that sounds off remember to contact your chain of command and get the real skinny on what is going on – that includes me. As the member who is ultimately going to be affected by any changes made you should know exactly what is going on.

Ongoing Projects –

Commandant’s Campaign Award –
I’m throwing this out here again!! It’s the only major muscle movement going on at the FORCECOM HQ currently.

Every Marine who donates at least 4 hours of their time and energy in support of any of the qualifying charities (or international equivalent) is eligible to receive the Commandant’s Campaign Ribbon.

In looking at last year’s reports I found there were several entries across the reports stating units had participated in charities, like the Toys for Tots, but there were no individual member names. It’s important when reporting data for the Commandant’s Challenge we tap those members who participated so they can be properly recognized.

Again, qualifying charities include the USMC Toys for Tots, the Special Olympics, the Sergeant Major’s March for the Disabled, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, or any international equivalent. If there’s a question on the validity of the international equivalent, please email me at forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org.

Open posts in Forces Command –

I’ll be working with Fleet to announce the opening of the Sergeant Major, Forces Command billet in the direct future. If you’re an NCO, think you have the chops to serve at the GS level keep your eyes and ears open for the announcement of the application period.

To close –
I say it every time I put up a report, the success or failure of our club begins and starts with you. It starts at the unit level with the individual member being active, making suggestions and making a difference. So once again, Marines, lace up your boots, and let’s get Trekkin’!

To the Corps!!

BDR B. ‘Tusker’ Allen
Forces Command

State of FORCECOM January 2018

State of FORCECOM January 2018

Fellow Marines!

Late report.  Apologies.

Welcome to 2108!  Things have been super busy here at Forces Command as we try to wrap up all the yearend Corps membership, and awards program audits along with proposals to the General Staff, the establishment of the Corps Office of Heraldry, and (our favorite) manual revisions!

So, in keeping with the battle rhythm of the past two months – let’s not beat about, and dive straight into the good stuff…

On a personal note –

This is going to a high OPTEMPO year for me personally, as my wife and I are moving to Europe, specifically Germany, at the end of this year.  Think of all that goes into a move across town, or to another state, and multiply the complexity.  Your Brigade OICs have already received the warning order, and are prepared for adjustments in timelines, and response times from the offices here at Forces Command.  I do not foresee our move causing any delays in turn-arounds in awards, or administrative actions, but I ask you to plan well ahead in both areas.  Please, understand, and have patience as we progress thru the year, and the move.

Reporting –

This past month, the GS approved the Forces Command proposal for changes in the reporting format.  Our focus was to make reporting easier, more concise, and mirror more closely information as it is presented in the SFMC database.  Your Brigade OICs have been informed of the changes, provided with not only a text version of the changes, but an example manual report form as well.  If you are an OIC, unit or battalion, make sure to contact your brigade higher for all the details and guidance.  If you have been on the SFMC website, and looked at the online report forms you will find our battle buddies at INFOCOM have adjusted the forms to reflect the change. ( http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/unit-reporting-form/).

Remember, the first reports of 2018 are due on the first day of February so touch base with your higher headquarters immediately!!

Heraldry –

Join me in welcoming to the Forces Command staff, Colonel Derek Allen, who was selected to fill the billet of Corps Heraldry Officer last November.

In the time since, Colonel Allen has been extremely busy collating all unit information (unit, battalion, brigade) into the Corps archive…  but he needs your help!

From brigade down to unit, the Office of Heraldry needs your unit information, and history.  Specifically need are any logs, and unit histories – fiction, and nonfiction!  We’ve been reaching out over the past few months and requesting this information, but we really want to make 2018 the year we ‘get ‘er done’.

Sit down with your unit if you’re an OIC, or pester your OIC if you’re a

member Marine, and develop your unit histories.   Nonfiction histories

should include important dates, names of OICs/DOICs, old member rosters, notable Marines, any special awards issued (Gold/Silver Nebula, any Honor awards, Legions of Merit, Meritorious Unit Commendations), and anything else you would like to add.  Fictional histories are limited only by your imagination, and a little Trek canon (wink, wink).

What are we going to do with all this information?  Once the archive is built, I’ve given guidance to develop plans to publish the data to the web via a couple platforms – as an interactive page on the SFMC website, or as part of a larger SFI/SFMC Wiki.

So, gather up your unit information, and forward it to COL Allen as soon as possible at SFMC.heraldryoffice@gmail.com  .

 

Commandant’s Campaign Award –

It’s that time of year again!! Every Marine who donates at least 4 hours of their time and energy in support of any of the qualifying charities (or international equivalent) is eligible to receive the Commandant’s Campaign Ribbon.

Unit OICs must ensure member total volunteer hours are reported on the Unit’s bi-monthly report.  We would like to present the full list of names to the Commandant by end of month February, so if you haven’t tallied your members’ hours make sure to do so, and report them in February’s report.

Qualifying charities include the USMC Toys for Tots, the Special Olympics, the Sergeant Major’s March for the Disabled, and the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

If there’s a question on the validity of the international equivalent, please email me at forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org.

 

More on awards –

Over the next few months, as we move from Spring to early Summer, we also move into the Brigade Muster season.  If your brigade is planning to muster in the next 180 days I urge you to consolidate your unit awards and forward them to your OIC as soon as possible.  It’s better to have them sitting on your OICs desk, and not being asked to submit them at the last moment.

 

Forward into ’18 –

What else is on the horizon?

The Corps is currently working on manual revisions and will be doing so for at least the first part of the new year.  What can you as a member do to help?  There are times when we in the GS don’t know there are issues in the manual.  If you find an issue with spelling, syntax, or clarity of a portion of any manual, please forward those portions thru your brigade HQ so they may be addressed.

We’ve received a few messages from the field, but I urge you to keep them coming.  These are your manuals, take a bit of ownership, and ensure they express guidelines, and standards in a way that is easily understood, and easier to follow.  Dig in, and as we sometimes say…  READ THE MANUAL!!

One Corps program that’s been on the uptake is the Wilderness Challenge and the results have been great!  I’ve been privy to at least three challenges that are either in the planning phases or moving quickly into the bidding phase for approval.  If you haven’t heard of the Wilderness Challenge have a look at the manual (http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/downloads/wc2012.pdf) and see if it might be something you may want to see happen within your brigade!

Better yet, spearhead the effort to jumpstart the challenge in your brigade.  The Wilderness Challenge is a wonderful opportunity to share not only fellowship, but to spur physical and mental activity.  It is a terrific way to meet other members, and to share in a little ‘hardship’ to strengthen friendship bonds.  In doing so, you can only make your brigade, and unit stronger!

 

To close –

Now that the end of the year mania has passed, folks are returning from vacations and holidays, and even with the uptick of activity personally, look for more awesome things to happen in the Corps.  Remember, tho, no matter how many projects are in the air, how many programs are initiated, the success or failure of our club begins and starts with you.  Only the membership can make a group great so lace up your boots, and let’s get Trekkin’!

To the Corps!!

BDR B. ‘Tusker’ Allen

Forces Command

 

BRIAN K. ALLEN

BDR, SFMC

COFORCECOM

State of FORCECOM December 2017

State of FORCECOM December 2017

Fellow Marines!

Promised a short report so…

As reported in the last ‘State of’ delivery from Forces Command, we here at the head shed are conducting membership, and award audits in preparation for the ‘Dant’s first of the year report.

And, while the membership audit hasn’t begun in earnest, the awards audit has been completed.  I am proud to report a few stats that may interest you:

Since September 2015, the Corps has issued 3,512 awards, streamers, and commendations.  Of those, only 81 are currently being labeled as unidentified, meaning they’re in the database, and the accountability trackers, but the entries may be erroneous.  Most likely the award acronym is incorrect, and the program can’t find the award.  Just means we must put

human eyes on the trackers to find them.   By the way… that’s only a 2% error.

I’ll post a reminder after the first of the year, but it’s almost Commandant’s Campaign award time again!  If you’ve been tracking your eligible hours, please ensure you report those hours in your February report.  I will be going thru the reports, and writing nominations to be forwarded to the Commandant for approval.

Recently, there have been many questions concerning all the challenges.  If you visit the SFMC website at: http://www.sfi-sfmc.org/challenges/ you will find more information.  When determining your eligible hours for the Commandant’s Campaign award, service with the follow charities, or their international equivalent, is counted:

USMC-R Toys for Tots, Special Olympics, March for the Disabled, Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals If you have questions about eligibility contact your chain of command, or me directly.

I know things are slowing down for the brigades, and units as we slide into the holiday season, and I fully expect folks to take time away from SFI, and the SFMC to enjoy the festivities with family, and friends.  As of Monday, December 18th, Forces Command will be on half day schedule, and will be answering emergency hails only.

And, as we roll into the new year, I ask each of you to think about the direction you would like to see your unit, or the Corps, take as we enter 2018.  I’ve received many great ideas that will hopefully come to fruition over the next several months.  Remember, some ideas are innovative ideas… some are not so good.  When you see a problem, something that can be improved, or fixed, answer this question: ‘Does it affect the SFMC, or just my unit?’  If it affects only your unit, find the answer and apply it at the local level.  If it affects the Corps in entirety, push it thru the chain of command.  Let’s see where we can go with it.

So, with that I say, meet you in the new year!!!!

To the Corps!!

 

BRIAN K. ALLEN

BDR, SFMC

COFORCECOM

 

State of FORCECOM November 2017

State of FORCECOM November 2017

Fellow Marines!

Here we are rolling past Thanksgiving, and steaming toward the holiday season, and the new year! I hope everyone brave enough to venture out on ‘Black Friday’ was able to return home safely, and under at least impulse power. Can’t say I joined you out there – spent the day hiking the local mountains, and enjoying the weather! On a more personal note, and as we move toward, and into December, I would like to urge each and all to look after one another. Not just family, and close friends, but our family here in SFI, and the Marines. For some, the holidays ain’t all they’re cracked up to be…

So, what is your Corps doing until the end of the year? Well, folks, we are auditing! (Yes, auditing) I’ve tasked the Brigade OICs to ensure the December reports are filed with 100% accurate member rosters, so we can balance the books on heads and tails. As of last month, the Corps stands at 1340 members, and we want to make sure that number is correct. If you’ve ever served in the military think of it as a Personnel Asset Inventory, minus the dog-tag check!

We’re also jumping into the awards program to tally up all the numbers for the year, and to make sure the certificates issued match the records on file. Those numbers should be available by my next report. And, while we’re auditing our awards records, you may want to audit your personal records as well. Have a look at your database record, and if you notice any missing awards, or if you have not received a certificate for an earned award, contact your Unit OIC immediately and have them pass it up the chain to the Awards Office.

What can you do for yourself now that the year is coming ‘round the end? Well, as has been suggested before, you should go into the SFI database, find your personal record under ‘Member Eligibility’, and download a copy – at least copy and paste it into a document – for your own personal file at home. If there ever comes a time when the database goes the way of the Tasmanian Tiger, you will at least have a hard copy you can submit to command to rebuild your record.

What else is out there?

– Unit OICs!!! We’ve been tracking your requests and suggestions, and we get ya. We’re working on a couple proposals that will take on the challenge of reporting in an attempt to simplify the format, and get the most of the information you’re sending forward.

Additionally, INFOCOM has been working diligently over the past two months to straighten out the online reporting form issue. From all reports from LGN Anderson the issue is fixed. I’ll leave all the important answers to him in his report, but the report form looks ‘good-to-go’ and ready for your use during the December reporting period.

Remember, tho.. if you do not receive a copy of your report as a return email go with Plan B. Fill out, and send a manual form to your Brigade or Battalion OIC as an email attachment to ensure your report is received.

– Uniform chatter. There’s been a Mecha’s weight in comments about uniforms, suppliers for different devices, and adornments, and inclusion of new uniform styles in the Marine clothing bag. Got ya..and noted.

One project that is in its first stages is finding, collating and distributing lists of suppliers for all those unique devices, badges and accoutrements not available thru the Quartermaster. A big thanks goes out to COL Chris Boggs of the 275th for supplying us with the keystone upon which this document will be built. Oorah!

Insofar as uniforms themselves, particularly adding new uniforms to the clothing bag, I would just say there are plenty of varied uniforms out there for our members to wear. When recommending a new uniform remember a few key facts.. first is affordability, second is availability, third is sustainability. Folks have to be able to afford it, find it on the market, and the manufacturer must keep on making it. We’ve seen how supplies have been cut lately with CosplaySky removing all traces of Star Trek from their site.

My best advice to everyone is to take a look at Section 7.1.7.5 of the MFM, entitled Local Uniforms. If there are any questions about what is presented in the section, contact your Unit OIC, Brigade OIC, or even drop me a line.

Folks, that is about it. All of us here at Forces Command are seriously looking forward to the half-day schedule coming up, and spending time with our families, and friends. I have just one more report due before the end of the year, but I promise it will be mega-short! Take care as things ramp up for the holiday, and we here at Forces Command wish you all the greatest Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Bodhi Day, and (my favorite) Yule celebration this year.

To the Corps!!
BDR B. ‘Tusker’ Allen
Forces Command

State of FORCECOM October 2017

State of FOCECOM October 2017

Fellow Marines!

A little late filing this report, but the SFMC train has been rolling, without brakes, since muster, and mess!  Thanks for your patience on individual, and unit issues, requests, and awards.  As this *is* a late report, and there’s been so much going on in the months since August, I’d like to keep it short and sweet – at least relatively so.

Unit Status…

The Corps is continually expanding, and contracting as we activate, and deactivate units across every brigade.  One trend I’ve seen when investigating the situation surrounding the possible deactivation of a unit is a communications vacuum between the unit, and the brigade.  In many instances, when I’ve contacted a Unit Officer in Charge, I’ve found the unit still in an active status, but not reporting due to personal issues being dealt with, loss of several members, or embarrassment from becoming dormant over time.

This is not the time to stop communicating with your brigade leadership, on the contrary, it is a time you should be communicating the most.  Your leadership is here to assist you as a Unit OIC, be it in recruiting, retention or planning events, or you by giving you time to deal with personal issues by recognizing you need to step away from your responsibilities for a while.  They’ll be there for you, and your unit, but it doesn’t mean they won’t hold you to a standard.  Communication, in the form of reports, or less formal check-ins, will still be asked of you.

If you find yourself, and your unit falling into one of the situations above contact your Brigade OIC as soon as possible.  There’s a fix for everything, and there are legions of folks inside, and outside, of the Corps who are willing to help.

History…

Recently, I put out a call to all units to start considering their histories – real, and Trek based.  There is a two-fold reason I am asking.

First being that a Heraldry Officer will be appointed at the end of this month.  His, or her job will be to build a heraldry archive of all unit numbers, logos, mottos, and histories for future generations of the SFMC to reference.

Second reason is that I found out not long ago the Corps doesn’t have a recorded history (that I know of, or can find).  There are still a number of ‘Old Timers’ in the ranks that can tell a story or two about the Corps, but we need to put forth a concerted effort to record this history.  The first step lies with you at the unit level.  If you’re an OIC, contact your next higher, and submit your unit history for inclusion in the archive.  If you’re a member, have a talk with the others, and develop your unit’s story, so that it may be shared in times to come.

Personnel Records…

It’s coming ‘round that time of year again!  Yes, we’re moving toward the holidays, and times of gathering, celebrating and mirth.  But what is the quickest way to kill that joyous buzz?  A database crashing, and pulling all your personal records down with it.  Question:  do you have a copy of your database ‘Member Eligibility’ page?

I ask that each one of you log into the database, go to your eligibility page, scroll to the bottom of the page to the ‘Printable Version’ link, and save the page to your PC, or other safe location.  In the event of a database crash, this downloaded page may be the only way we can reconstruct your record!

So – don’t procrastinate.  Download your record now!!!

Awards…

I am currently constructing an online archive of all SFMC certificates that have been produced since 2015, and will be making it available to the Brigade OICs as a venue to recover lost certificates.  While this will take care of missing certs, it will not solve the problem of awards missing from your personal record.  So, what do you do?

First, look through all your ‘stuff’ for a certificate.  If you do not have one, look for an old report, issue of the ‘Communique’, photos of you receiving the award at the brigade pool party – any evidence that you received the award – and forward the documents to your Brigade OIC for action.  He, or she will contact me, and we’ll examine the evidence, and enter the award into your record if the situation warrants.

I can’t go by word of mouth, or statements from other members.  I need the docs mentioned above to determine your receiving the award before I can enter it into the database.  So, while you’re there downloading a copy of your record – check out your awards, see if anything is missing, and jump into action to rectify the error.

To the Corps!!

B. ‘Tusker’ Allen

BRIAN K. ALLEN

BDR, SFMC

COFORCECOM

State of FORCECOM September 2017

State of FORCECOM September 2017

Fellow Marines!

First – we all here at Forces Command are keeping the members, and families of the Marines who have been directly effected by Hurricanes Harvey, and Irma. Know that all units of the Corps are standing by to assist in the relief efforts put forward by STARFLEET Region Three, and the STARFLEET Office of Emergency Preparedness.

As you know, last month I forewent submitting my ‘State of’ report due to the reporting period being smack dab at the start of the STARFLEET International Conference, and the Marine International Muster. Let me just say it was a blast! We had an awesome turnout of over 50 Marines, spouses and families attend mess and muster this year! If you couldn’t join us, I’m hoping you were able to follow along via the live streaming provided by the IC Committee, and STARFLEET. Believe me, even if you couldn’t attend, or missed the live streaming, all Marines were with us in thought and in esprit for our Corps.

Many wonderful things came out of this year’s IC/IM. We were able to gather the Commanders of FORCECOM from across four administrations to talk about where the Corps has been, and the direction the Corps is heading in. Everything from the ‘old school’ to the latest ways of thinking, and doing was discussed. From all indications, I think there may be many momentous changes over the horizon for our Corps.

Some folks have said a new bar has been raised for the conduct of Marine Mess. We had almost every Marine attending IC seated in our mess, and, boy, did we put on a dinner! I want to say thank you to the IC Committee for all their support (and mostly for their understanding <grin>) in helping us present our mess. I would also like to thank those who directly participated in the evening’s entertainment – you all have now passed into legend, and your stories will be told for quite some time!

Muster was okay, and I say that because I talked way too much! But, there were so many things I wanted to get out to the attending members so they could carry the word back to their brigades and units. I know the Corps lines of communication are not the best at times, and the flow of information from the ‘Dant down to the unit is interrupted, and there are Marines left uniformed. This is an issue I am diligently attempting to fix. I would like to thank the COINFOCOM, LGN Mark Anderson, and COFINCOM LGN Barry Jackson for traveling great distance to be at muster. Many members commented on how nice it was to see so many members of the GS in one place. And the response to the new SFMC polo shirts was outstanding!! Stand-by for more information on how to get yours!

Enough about IC/IM.. let’s move forward…So, what has happened since IC/IM? Remarkable things! In the time since returning to the office, the Forces Command has activated ten (that’s 10!) new Strike Groups and Expeditionary Units, as well as two Marine Training Units! My inbox has been inundated with members changing their affiliations to become Marines, or adding the SFMC to their list of affiliations to serve as Reservists! Not just new members either, there are a number of the ‘old hats’ coming back to the Corps after a break in service. The Corps is most definitely on the grow! Welcome!

Soon you will see applications announcements for staff positions within the Forces Command. If you’ve wanted to volunteer time to serve at a higher level within our beloved Corps keep your eyes and ears open on social media, and the listservs as the announcements will be forthcoming. I am looking to fill the following staff positions:

Recruiting and Retention Officer
Heraldry Officer
Awards Officer
Ecerts Officer

I am also looking to fill a few ‘unofficial’ staff positions (Unofficial means the position is not currently authorized under the SFMC Table of Organization)

Forces Command, Command Sergeant Major
Operations Officers

And, as the year is slowly winding down, and we all settle into a glidepath to the holidays, I would like to remind you to conduct a bit of housekeeping on your individual records in the SFI database. Take a look to see if there’s anything missing – awards, or academy courses – that we can fix. Also, either download, or copy and paste a copy of your individual record for safekeeping in the event the database suffers a glitch, or shutdown. Protect your records! It’s the one of the only ways to prove your involvement in the Corps!

Unit OICs!! I believe the online unit, battalion, and brigade reporting forms have been fixed (thank you Mark!) so you should be receiving your return emails during the October reporting period. If not, you need to inform your chain of command immediately! We need precise details for INFOCOM to investigate the problem, and apply a fix.

Awards!! There’s a bit of backlog in awards currently. Please be patient and know that we are working to get our backlogs cleared! So, to understand, and as an example, to date Forces Command Ecerts had created and sent out 1143 certificates to Corps members – that’s 143 certificates a month on average! We’re about a month behind, but catching up quickly.

Ideas!!! If you have ideas on what you would like to see within the Corps, ingeniousicle recruiting techniques, or questions concerning the Corps, or the SFMC in general, push them up the chain of command! I enjoy hearing from the folks on the line, and will make every attempt to get a reply to you, thru the chain, as soon as possible.

To close, it’s been a wonderful eight months serving you as the CO of Forces Command, and I am looking forward to what is just beyond the horizon for the Corps. But, the Corps will only move forward, and capitalize on this new synergy with your help. This is your Corps – our Corps – let’s all work together to move forward, and upward, into 2018, and beyond!!!!

To the Corps!!

BDR Brian “Tusker’ Allen
Forces Command

State of Forces Command July 2017

State of Forces Command July 2017

Fellow Marines!

We are one month from International Muster, and Mess! As many of you know, I was directed by our commandant, Major General Jari James, to plan and coordinate our events, and I think we are going to have a bit of fun! With a month to go, there is still time to make plans to attend – head on over to the IC2017 Facebook page, or to the committee’s website and register. While you are there, have a look at some of the swag that’s available for sale… that pint glass sounds pretty sweet!

If you are unable to attend, all functions will be available to the general membership via live streaming. Details on the ‘how’ will be released as we get closer to the start of conference. For those already registered, you should have received a Dress Mess read-ahead that details what happens from the first rap of the gavel, to the last. If you haven’t received your read-ahead, or you would just like a copy, please contact me directly at COFORCECOM, and I will send one out immediately.

There was a bit of discussion about uniform guidance that was put out earlier, and I would like to clarify. The Class C, black Battle Dress Uniform, is a field uniform to be worn when on official SFMC events, away teams, landing parties and exercises. The International Muster is a formalized event, and the wear of the Class C BDU is strongly discouraged, but that doesn’t mean you cannot wear it. If all you have is your BDUs… wear them Marine, and be proud.

The Class A uniform, or formal civilian attire are to be worn while attending the Dress Mess. I know there are some who do not have a fancy Class A uniform, so what does formal civilian attire mean? Well, it means anything from a suit and tie, to a nice collared shirt, and trousers to a summer dress. Even a black polo and nice pants counts as formal! Bottom line up front is we don’t want anyone to think they cannot attend mess or muster because they do not have a uniform!

Last word on Mess and Muster – I hope to see you there!

What’s been going on around our offices?

SFMC Physical Challenge – due to a very lukewarm response, I will be delaying my SFMC PC proposal to the ‘Dant. But, that doesn’t mean the challenge is dead and adrift. You may see an incarnation of the program pop up in the near future, as we work to define and refine the proposal… stay tuned!

Ecerts Officer – the application window is open until the end of the month! Look for the requirements posted on the Corps list, the SFMC Facebook page, or email me!

Heraldry Office – We’ve begun to collect all MSG/MEU logos and are building an image repository! We’ve also begun to collect all unit information such as nicknames, and mottos so that we may save it for our future posterity. WE WILL NEED A HERALDRY OFFICER come post-IC timeframe! If you have an interest in graphic arts, design, and can work with trademark, copyright and fair use law we will be needing you!!!

My next ‘State of’ will be posted later in August, as I will be a busy having a great time at IC. I’ll be sure to post pics, give a blow by blow commentary on the foolishness. In closing, I would like to impress upon you there are great things just over the horizon for the Corps, and I want to see every Marine, boots on ground, moving forward as we strive to complete our mission!!

Charlie Mike, Marines!

 

COL Brian “Tusker’ Allen

COFORCECOM

 

BRIAN K. ALLEN

COL, SFMC

COFORCECOM

State of FORCECOM June 2017

State of FORCECOM June 2017

Fellow Marines!

Brigade Muster season is drawing to a close.  With only one or two musters left on the schedule, all eyes are now turning to the International Conference, and Marine Muster.  With the Awards Office issuing out over 700 awards, and streamers since the beginning of the year, it might behoove every Marine with a swagger to log into the SFI Database, and check to ensure your record is up to date!  If there is something missing, or incorrectly documented, contact your Brigade OIC at the soonest.  We all want to make sure we’re looking our best at mess this year!!

Of course, I’m talking primarily about awards, and while on that topic, let’s talk about nominations.  There are reports about occasional problems using the online award nomination forms found on the SFMC Website.  Occasionally the nominations are not being processed properly by the website’s addon program.  If you are submitting a recommendation for an award, you will receive a copy of your recommendation via the email you provided with the recommendation.  If you do not receive this email, your recommendation was not processed.  If the award was a brigade level award, contact your OIC immediately so the problem can be forwarded to the appropriate personnel.

If you experience this issue, and after reporting it to your chain of command, you can always fill out a manual awards recommendation form, and email it to your Brigade OIC.  The forms are available from your OIC, or you may contact me directly at forcecom@sfi-sfmc.org, and I will forward you the proper forms.

Let it be known, Marines, time is running out to get those nominations in.  Your OICs have been given a directive to have STARFLEET Cross nominations to the Dant, and all Honor awards to the DepDant by June 26.  All lesser awards need to be forwarded to me not later than 30 June.  Remember, anyone can recommend another Marine for an award.  If you feel there is a Marine deserving, refer to the Marine Forces Manual for the proper award, and get a recommendation turned in!!

There are a number of projects on the table here at Forces Command.  I would like to make mention of just a couple.  Our 50-meter target project is the annual SFMC Dress Mess and Muster, that is to take place during the International Conference.  I, along with a few Project Officers, have been tapped to bring to you a high-quality mess dinner, and equally entertaining muster brief.  We’re busy thinking outside the box, bringing into play what will be a memorable, and enjoyable weekend for our Marines.

Another pocket project that we’ve been keeping close to our armored vests is the upcoming Physical Challenge.  I know there are many questions, but we are still working diligently to work out the fine details in a proposal to the Dant, which we hope will be the keystone of our presentation at Marine Muster.  The late-night oil is being requisitioned thru the Quartermaster, and will be burned until the proposal is complete and sitting front and center on the Dant’s desk.

I know there’s a bunch more projects written 3×5 cards, and strung together on a grenade ring around here somewhere, but I will leave you with these two ‘cause, honestly, they’re the big ones right now.  I would really like to see as many Marines as we can, well.. muster at IC this year.  Perhaps talk a bunch of bull stuffing, toss down a challenge coin or two, and make IC17 an event every Marine, and particularly every Fleeter, will remember. Oorah!?

 

Rock Steady, Marines!

 

COL Brian “Tusker’ Allen
COFORCECOM

State of FORCECOM March 2017

State of FORCECOM March 2017

Fellow Marines!

It’s March – time for madness, ides, St. Paddy’s, and snow from Stella. As I glance over the situation board, I see our Nor’western Marines are mired in up to five feet of the white stuff, and from the look of it might see more this weekend. Brigade and unit Leaders, let’s make sure we are checking on our Marines’ welfare to ensure they’re okay.

As for me, as I sit in my field office in the desert southwest, I’m basking in sunny 80° weather. Thought I’d rub that in. <grin>

Muster Season – Regardless of what it’s doing outside, it’s muster time across the Corps. MSG/MEU Leaders, if your brigade is currently planning muster, get off your tuft and submit your awards ASAP. If you’re behind the 8-ball, and muster is a week away, then you’ve let your Marines down. Nothing squashes motivation and feeds apathy quicker than busting your butt for what seems nothing. Get those awards in!

Commandant’s Campaign Award – Leaders, I’ve received and forwarded not less than ten (10) recommendations for the CCA to the ‘Dant for approval. I know, deep down in my SFMC issue blood pumping mechanism, there are a boot-full more eligible folks out there in our brigades! Where are those recommendations?

I’m currently going back thru February’s reports to identify those folks that might be eligible but were not formally recommended. This take a lot of time. Please, look at what your folks have done and submit your recommendations thru your Brigade OIC not later than the end of March. Here are the criteria:

– Minimum four (4) hours supporting USMC/(R) Toys for Tots, the Special Olympics, the March for the Disabled, and newly added for the 2017 nomination year, the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.

Recruiting and Retention – I’m not sure if anyone noticed but we have started a campaign for R&R called ‘To the Corps!’. This is a push to bring to the forefront the stories and histories of our MSGs/MEU for all in STARFLEET to see, read and hear. To bridge the distance between the Fleet and the Corps, and foster an understanding of who and what the members of the Corps are and represent. These histories and stories will be posted on all our Facebook pages for the entire Fleet to see.

There’s also a call out to all those graphic artists I know you’re hiding in your units to create SFMC recruiting posters to post online in the several Facebook pages we all maintain. There’s even a competition, in which the best posters will be printed and displayed at IC2017 in Louisiana.

So, support the Corps and forward your works thru your Brigade OIC, and get the word out to all of Fleet about the great things you and the Corps has been doing!

In closing – I’m coming to the end of my first 90-days in position as the CO of Forces Command. In that time, I have noticed a lot of great folks, great units and great Leaders in our ranks. The level of activity of some of our units is amazing, and noteworthy. Keep up the momentum, keep moving forward, and press the fight!!

I’ve also found a few areas in which we can do better, and in working with the brigades, will fix. One such area is communications up and down the chain of command. Information should flow freely from the ‘Dant down to the individual Marine in our smallest unit, and back up the chain just as easily. This happens when we all get involved, and ensure communication happens. For my part, I will make sure at a minimum all brigade Leaders are kept up to date on the latest information, and I’m assured they’ll do the same for you – the small unit Leader. It is then up to you to ensure our Marines are consistently communicated with and never left uniformed. And, lastly, my door is always open, to everyone and every member. Have a question, please ask.

In Service to the Corps!

COL Brian “Tusker’ Allen

COFORCECOM

 

—  BRIAN K. ALLENCOL, SFMCCOFORCECOM “Old School Solutions to Modern World Problems”