Marines march toward paperless environment

9 Jan 2004 | Sgt. Christopher D. Reed

During the recent holiday period, hundreds of Marines assigned to Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base, submitted their leave requests via a new Marine Online option being tested here.

The new MOL option is designed to eliminate the paper-based request and replace it with an electronic submission, recommendation and approval process using the Internet-based system. This is one of several modules scheduled to transform paper submissions of information to electronic, using the MOL system.

According to Staff Sgt. Sean R. Riley, operations chief, Manpower Information System Support office, the initiative, currently being tested only with Marine Corps Base, gives the individual Marine the opportunity to be more involved in the administrative process. 

"If a Marine has an MOL account, he can submit his request from any personal computer or resource center," said Riley.  "Once the request is submitted, the Marine is afforded the opportunity to forward the request to appropriate personnel."

Once logged onto MOL and after selecting the "Leave" tab, Marines are prompted to provide the routine information like leave address, phone number and requested dates.  However, the Marines must also identify those who provide recommendation for approval and the approving officer appropriately.  This posed some challenges.

According to Chief Warrant Officer Dean A. Roberts, personnel officer, Headquarters and Support Battalion, all requests should be forwarded via the chain of command.

"(Marines) should not be forwarding leave requests directly to the company commanding officer.  (Submission goes) only to their immediate supervisor or the supervisor who has been given permission to make a recommendation for the Marine," said Roberts.  "Section heads or the officer-in-charge should forward requests to the company representative who has approval authority."

Despite minor issues with the new leave management process, there are a number of benefits according to Riley.

"By moving the administrative functions to online services, it gives Marines at all levels visibility on the administrative process," said the Austin, Texas, native.  "Also, you don't have to worry about (leave requests) getting lost."

The move toward a paperless environment also includes MOL use in reporting promotion recommendations, morning reports and eventually incorporating the reporting of proficiency and conduct marks, according to Roberts.

"MOL is an administrative tool that will provide Marines and their leaders more power and visibility over administrative processes and will eventually serve as the main link between Marines and their personal records," said Roberts.