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ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPEDITING COMBAT AWARDS FOR VALOR

Date Signed: 9/18/2017
MARADMINS Number: 513/17

R 151411Z SEP 17
MARADMIN 513/17
MSGID/GENADMIN/CMC WASHINGTON DC MRA MM//
SUBJ/ADMINISTRATIVE REQUIREMENTS FOR EXPEDITING COMBAT AWARDS FOR VALOR//
REF/A/MSGID: DOC/SECNAV/22OCT2006//
REF/B/MSGID: MEMO/SECDEF/28FEB2017//
REF/C/MSGID: MEMO/SECNAV/20APR2017//
REF/D/MSGID: CMC WASHINGTON DC MRA MM/231442ZJUL12//
REF/E/MSGID: DOC/DOD/21DEC2016//
REG/G/MSGID: MSG/SECNAV/22AUG17//
NARR/REF A IS SECNAVINST 1650.1h, NAVY AND MARINE CORPS AWARDS MANUAL. REF B IS SECDEF MEMO, RECOGNITION OF ACTS OF VALOR. REF C IS SECNAV MEMO, RECOGNITION OF ACTS OF VALOR. REF D IS MARADMIN 392/12, EXPEDITING COMBAT AWARDS FOR VALOR. REF E IS DODI 1348.33, DOD MILITARY DECORATIONS AND AWARDS PROGRAM. REF G IS ALNAV 055/17, NEW DEVICES AUTHORIZED FOR WEAR ON CERTAIN MILITARY MEDALS AND RIBBONS.//
POC/B.A. FELTY/CAPT/MMMA/HQMC/TEL DSN: 278-9342/COML (703)784-9342/EMAIL: BRIAN.FELTY@USMC.MIL/EMAIL: SMB_HQMC_PERS_AWARDS@USMC.MIL//
GENTEXT/REMARKS/1.  The purpose of this MARADMIN is to announce changes and update timeliness requirements for Expediting Combat Awards for Valor from ref (D) IAW refs (B) and (C).  As stated in ref (A), timely award recommendations are essential to a successful awards program.  For combat awards for valor, commanders must make it a priority to ensure that deserving Marines and Sailors are recognized with the appropriate award in as short a period as possible after their valorous actions.  Marine leaders must balance timely award origination and processing with the requirement to properly investigate and sufficiently document the facts of the valorous action in order to allow proper evaluation and decision by the designated approval authority.  This MARADMIN amplifies the guidance and IAW refs (B) and (C) accelerates the timelines requirements as prescribed in ref (D).
2.  This MARADMIN announces new administrative requirements for Chain of Command endorsement of recommendations for combat awards for valor as authorized IAW refs (E) and (G).  Combat awards for valor include:  Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross w/V, Bronze Star w/V, Air Medal w/V, and Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/V.  The intent is to reduce the overall time between a Marines or Sailors valorous action in combat and the approval of the appropriate award.  These timelines apply to all future recommendations for awards of valor of the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/V and higher awards that are based on heroism in direct combat action with the enemy.
3.  The DoN requirement is to have valor award recommendations entered into official channels within 45 days of the act justifying the award and acted upon within 10 days of receipt by each echelon in the review process to the awarding authority.  For this purpose, entered into official channels means endorsed by the first O5 or higher commander in the chain of command.  This is the first level of command which personnel dedicated to processing awards, and the echelon where most verification of accuracy and completeness occurs.  Effective immediately, originators and endorsing commanders will adhere to the following timelines and reporting requirements for recommendations for combat awards for valor.
3.A.  Origination.  As soon as possible after an officer is made aware of the Marines or Sailors valorous action warranting recognition with a valor award, but no later than 45 days, a complete and properly documented award recommendation must be originated and endorsed by the first Commanding Officer in the reporting chain of command (normally the Battalion/Squadron, O-5 Commander).
3.A.(1).  In cases where circumstances beyond the originators control (e.g., medical evacuation of eyewitnesses) do not allow the originator to meet the 45 day timeline, the originator is required to make a comment in Improved Awards Processing System (iAPS) explaining the circumstances that delayed the origination of the award recommendation.
3.A.(2).  CMC (MMMA) previously provided two tools in iAPS to assist originators in drafting complete and effective recommendations for valor awards within the timeline.  Review of these tools, “Recommended Steps for Originating Valor Awards” and “Common Mistakes in Valor Award Recommendations,” will help to ensure originators, as well as endorsers, have thoroughly reviewed the recommendation to avoid common errors and omissions that all too frequently delay timely processing of valor awards.  These tools can be found on the iAPS splash page and on the CMC (MMMA) webpage which can be reached by going to https:(slash)(slash)www.manpower.usmc.mil/webcenter/portal/MMMA and selecting “Tools for Originating Valor Awards.”
3.A.(3).  IAW ref (c), all valorous award recommendations are required to use a standardized recommendation format of key information to ensure all required information and evidence is included.  The intent for this format is to reduce or eliminate rework.  This standard format “Standard Valor Award Key Information” is a list of questions that, when answered, provide endorsers, up to SECNAV, a uniform format for review.  CMC (MMMA) will make administrative adjustments in iAPS to provide this standard format in the SOA for valorous awards.  The completion of the “Standard Valor Award Key Information” does not preclude the originator from providing a full and detailed SOA IAW ref (A).
3.A.(4).  Prior to completing the award origination process in iAPS, the originator must review the award recommendation against the “Common Mistakes in Valor Award Recommendations” mentioned in para 3.A.(2)., and make an entry in iAPS History and Comments stating that the recommendation is administratively complete.
3.B.  Endorsement.  Commanders in the chain of command through which the award recommendation is being routed are required to take action on the award within 10 days after receiving an award recommendation for valor in iAPS from a subordinate endorsing Commander.  Taking action on the recommendation constitutes either approving the award as the appropriate awarding authority or forwarding the recommendation to the next echelon in the chain of command in route to the awarding authority.
3.B.(1).  If Commanders are required to return the recommendation to either the award originator or a subordinate command for correction of discrepancies in the award documentation, the Commander taking such action is required to list the discrepancies in the iAPS History and Comments.
3.B.(2).  If unusual circumstances do not allow the endorsing commander to meet this timeline, the commander must cite the reason for the delay in the iAPS History and Comments.
3.B.(3).  Prior to endorsing and forwarding, or approving, a recommendation for a valor award, the commander must review the award recommendation against the list of Common Mistakes in Valor Award Recommendations and make an entry in iAPS History and Comments stating that the recommendation is administratively complete.
4.  Notification to the Awarding Authority.  Immediately upon endorsing any valor award recommendation, the first O5 or higher commander in the chain of command will make e-mail notification to the official with authority to approve the nominated award, and the intermediate commanders who must endorse the nomination.  Having awareness, the awarding authority and chain of command are expected to monitor the progress of all valor award recommendations.
5.  Direct Communication.  Due to the requirement for 10 processing days at each echelon of command, endorsers, approving officials, and awards boards, when necessary, should communicate directly with the originator of the award to clarify key point(s), and/or reconcile any discrepancies in the evidence.
6.  As of the effective date of this MARADMIN, all force commanders with delegated combat award authority are directed to establish a “Timeliness Tracking Database” for valor awards, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal w/V and higher, IOT ensure the intent of the timeliness requirements announced in this MARADMIN are carried out.  Simply documenting multiple reasons for delays in iAPS will not be good enough.  Measures of effectiveness (MOE) regarding compliance will be tracked by force commanders and the Inspector General Marine Corps (IGMC) will add these timeliness requirements to the IGMC Military Awards (1650) functional area checklist.
7.  CMC (MMMA) is coordinating with CMC Manpower Information Division (MI) to incorporate additional enhancements to iAPS that will better assist the originator and endorsers in complying with the requirements of the refs and this MARADMIN.  These enhancements will adjust current pop-ups and reminders of required actions by originators and endorsers with the new timeliness requirements.
8.  For questions regarding the requirements announced in this MARADMIN and utilization of iAPS, unit awards administrators should contact the personal awards section (MMMA-2) at comm (703) 784-9342/9343 or DSN 278-9342/9343.
9.  This MARADMIN is applicable to the total force Marine Corps.
10.  Release authorized by MajGen Robert F. Castellvi, Director, Manpower Management Division.//