Classic Case - Mess and Maintenance at Marine Boot Camp

Mess and Maintenance at Marine Boot Camp


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  • Product Description

    For the US Marine Corps and the other military services, the mid-to-late 1970s was a time of serious budgetary constraints. Anti-military sentiment was running high in the wake of the Vietnam War and President Carter had been swept into office vowing to slash defense spending. Administration officials pin-pointed military training as an area of large potential savings. Marine recruit training -- which lasted significantly longer than the training provided by the other services -- seemed a natural target. Faced with the prospect of reductions in training time, Marine Corps Headquarters in Washington was eager to come up with a way of placating the cost-cutters while preserving the integrity of "boot camp," a deeply cherished Marine institution. One option for reducing training time was to contract out "mess and maintenance" week, a period in the boot camp program when recruits worked in mess halls and did maintenance jobs. For some Marines, the question was simply one of economics -- contracting out, they said, was cheaper. But others in the Corps saw contracting out as a threat to fundamental Marine values and traditions.

    Learning Objective:
    The case, which includes detailed cost data and an epilogue, is designed to illustrate the idea that contracting out has strategic as well as financial implications for an organization.

  • Other Details

    Publication Date: January 01, 1987
    HKS Case Number: 792.0
    Case Author: William Rosenau
    Faculty Lead: Robert A . Leone
    Pages (incl. exhibits): 14
    Setting: United States
    Language: English
    Funding Source: Office of the Secretary of Defense
    _year: Older than 2000
    _pages: 1-15
    _geography: US & Canada
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