The commandant has begun his search for the next sergeant major of the Marine Corps, releasing specific criteria for prospective candidates.

In an all-Marine message released WednesdayNov. 26, Gen. Joe Dunford said his next senior enlisted adviser must have a minimum of 25 years of service and broad experience, including experience in combat operations. A spokesman for Dunford, Lt. Col. Eric Dent, said this means prospective candidates must have deployed in support of combat.

Qualified candidates must also have been serving as the senior enlisted adviser in a general officer-slated billet for a minimum of 24 months, and must possess strong written and oral communications skills, according to the message. They must have no pending disciplinary action, and they must also indicated their willingness to be considered and to live in the designated quarters at Marine Barracks Washington if selected.

Candidates who meet the qualifications will be considered by a board of general officers over a five-day selection process from Dec. 8-12, according to the message. The names of the five most qualified sergeants major will be presented to Dunford, who will make the final selection.

Dunford's criteria represent a departure from his predecessor, Gen. Jim Amos, who only asked that candidates be currently serving under a general officer, meet height and weight standards, and possess or be able to obtain certain security clearances in order to be considered.

The criteria also appear to take out of consideration one of the most-discussed names for for the post: Sgt. Maj. Bradley Kasal, now serving under Maj. Gen. Paul Brier at 4th Marine Division. Kasal is best known for earning the Navy Crosswho fought to save his Marines during the Battle of Fallujah in 2004 despite severe wounds and blood loss. But Kasal did not leave his previous post at School of Infantry-West until Feb. 2013, leaving him shy of 24 months of service in a general officer-slated billet.

It's not stated in the message when Dunford may make his final decision. The current sergeant major of the Marine Corps, Sgt. Maj. Mike Barrett, has served in his post since June 2011.

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