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The Corps is mixing up military occupational specialties across a variety of fields — from intel to music — laying on new changes that could affect retention, promotion and bonus opportunities for as many as 30,000 Marines.
Among the most interesting adjustments, which begin in October, recruiting duty now will be limited to sergeants, staff sergeants and career recruiters. Meanwhile, almost any sergeant can now qualify to become a criminal investigator. And motor transport officers will have to find a new MOS because the Corps says it doesn't need them anymore.
The shakeup is unlikely to affect all 30,000 Marines directly — the Corps could not provide an immediate breakout of many details, including estimates of those most impacted — but everyone working in the affected specialties is likely to notice a shift.
Those hit hardest, however, could be looking at a faster track to promotion or getting pushed to another job.
The changes are outlined in the latest update to the MOS Manual, Marine Corps Order 1200.17, which includes job additions for the intel, supply and legal services fields, deletions for motor transport, chem/bio, legal, music and avionics, and changes to many more MOSs that could affect assignments, advancements and grade restructuring.
While the Marine administrative message highlighting the adjustments — 411/08, released July 28 and set to go into full effect Oct. 1 — stresses that the update "contains significant and numerous changes and must be scrutinized carefully," the full impact of the changes is still unclear. Marine officials offered few additional details regarding the manpower effects of the changes.
Tinkering with the system
Changes to the MOS manual occur annually based on current requirements, said Randy Webb, head of Training and Education Command's training and development section in Quantico, Va.
"Promotions are planned around MOSs. Retention is planned around MOSs. So the whole thing, all these systems revolve around MOSs," he said. "The problem is that the requirements change. We'll get a new weapons system that requires a specialist. Or we find inefficiencies, or we'll find we're not able to support a population. All these things can lead to changes because of the environment."
The intelligence field — 02, which includes more than 3,100 Marines — picked up the most new MOSs.
In all, five additional jobs are being created in that field for officers and enlisted Marines — tactical debriefer, advanced foreign counterintelligence specialist, military source operations specialist, strategic debriefing specialist and advanced military source operations specialist.
On the officer side, the tactical debriefer job is open to second lieutenants up to captains. The other new MOSs in the intel field are designated for commissioned officers up to lieutenant colonel and warrant officers up to chief warrant officer 5.
Under the enlisted jobs, tactical debriefer is open from lance corporal to staff sergeant. The other new intelligence occupations are open to sergeants through master sergeants.
These jobs are classified as free MOSs, meaning they can be filled by any Marine, regardless of primary MOS. That's not the case for Marines interested in two new MOSs in supply.
Those jobs — 3046, intermediate contingency contract specialist, and 3048, advanced contingency contract specialist — require Marines with a primary MOS of contract specialist. The intermediate job is for sergeants through gunnery sergeants, while the advanced job is only open to staff sergeants through master gunnery sergeants.
Legal services is gaining MOS 4422, legal services court reporter — a job that requires a legal services specialist primary MOS and is open to E-4s through E-9s.
That field is also losing its legal services reporter specialty, MOS 4429, a job filled by Marines with the rank of sergeant through master gunnery sergeant.
Other discontinued jobs, changes
With more than 12,000 Marines, motor transport is among the top-five largest occupational fields in the Corps.
But the biggest change to that field — deleting MOS 3502, motor transport officer — is not significant because there's no longer a requirement for that job in the Corps' tables of organization.
"There can be no MOS if there's not a requirement for that MOS there," Webb said.
Two MOSs — tactical electronic reconnaissance process/evaluation systems technician and 2M/ATE technician — are being deleted from the data/communications maintenance field. Those jobs are being merged into 2844, ground communications organizational repairer, and 2847, telephone systems/personal computer intermediate repairer, Webb said.
Avionics lost MOS 6464, aircraft inertial navigation system technician, and several changes were made to music specialties — including cutting bandmaster, a position held by master sergeants and master gunnery sergeants.
Several MOSs have been given revised job descriptions and requirement changes.
A prerequisite has been added to 0202, Marine Air Ground Task Force intelligence officer. When the changes are implemented this fall, officers with this MOS will be required to have a Defense Language Aptitude Battery test score on file in their official military personnel file.
Officers who score higher than 100 on the test may be sent to attend formal language training. No minimum score is required.
Also, MAGTF intelligence officers can fill billets as battalion commanders and company commanders in intelligence battalions, radio battalions and reconnaissance battalions, as well as different capacities within Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command, according to TECom.
A prerequisite for warehouse clerks has changed from obtaining a general technical score of 90 or higher to earning a clerical score of 90 or higher.
Revisions to the criminal investigative division agent field now allow sergeants from any MOS. Sergeants applying to make a lateral move into the field can't have more than two years time in grade and must go before a screening board of the investigations officer or chief investigator of a provost marshal's office.
Changes to the MOS manual create a ripple effect within the occupational fields where revisions have been made. While this may not matter to the 70 percent of Marines who do not plan to make the Corps a career, those in for the long haul may find the situation has changed.
"For career Marines, it could affect them," Webb said. "Career paths will change. Or sometimes, it's just the label."
For example, career retention specialists were once designated as 8421. The decision was made to change the four-digit code to 0143, which placed Marines in that job under the personnel and administration occupational field.
"In their case, the only thing it changed was the number," Webb said.
Grade structure changes have been made in the fields where jobs have been deleted, which, in some cases, narrow the pool of career Marines competing for promotion. Cutting scores could also be affected.
"It would affect it only if it changed the bulk numbers," Webb said. "Some MOSs get consolidated. One large MOS is almost always more efficient. When we do that, it could change the general shape of the structure so that there would be more sergeants and fewer staff sergeants."
The Corps has decided to narrow its field of 8411 recruiters, omitting corporals, gunnery sergeants, master sergeants, first sergeants and master gunnery sergeants from being eligible for that MOS. That leaves sergeants and staff sergeants to field those jobs.
"We did that at the request of recruiting command," Webb said. "There's no reason to have the grade range go up that far. They decided they did not want to have new corporals out there recruiting."
Marines in the MOSs that are being cut have a couple of different options. They may get the opportunity to move laterally into another MOS, or Marines whose jobs are being merged with another MOS can apply to merge with their job.
"Many people identify with their MOS," Webb said. "It's even a matter of pride for them. But sometimes, it no longer serves the purpose to keep them. They need to realize that the MOS is supporting the manpower system."