Three interview teams of two committee members each scheduled interviews with two small unit leaders per session, for a total of 24 interviews.1 Each interview lasted approximately 90 minutes.
Each session began with interviewees being asked to give oral consent with respect to the following points of procedure:
• Individuals were welcome to participate in the interview at their own choice.
• Whether an individual participated was to have no effect on that person’s status or performance evaluation.
• Participants could choose to withdraw from the interview at any time.
• No identifying information was recorded.
• No risks were anticipated.
For background information, the interviewees were asked to provide a brief description of their assignments in the Marine Corps so far, their deployments over the past couple of years, and their role during their most recent deployment. Each Marine was also asked to describe his or her recent experience in distributed operations, including the major tasks for which the interviewee was responsible and that person’s experiences with intelligence, logistics, and command and control. Then, each Marine was asked to share a particularly challenging event that he or she had experienced as a key participant when deployed. The interviewee was also asked to describe what he or she thought would be the most challenging event or situation that he or she could face on a combat assignment. Each Marine was also given the chance to discuss anything that he or she wanted to share before concluding the interview.
After the interviews were complete, the subgroup performed iterative qualitative coding on the interview responses to identify key themes in the interviewees’ accounts. No evaluation of the individuals was undertaken.
1 One of the Marines was unable to participate, and so in the end, 23 Marines were interviewed.