The Marine Corps recently announced the its fiscal 2017 officer selection board schedule for active duty and Reserve Marines for the ranks of captains through major generals and chief warrant officers, as well as details of the requirements for selection at each rank.
Boards will convene at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, on the following dates, according to Marine administrative message 199/15, signed April 21.
Who will be eligible, in- or above-zone, for each board will be announced about a month or two pproximately 30 to 60 days prior to a board's convening date via separate messages. Marines will then be able to determine if they are eligible based on their date of rank and seniority. Also considered are tTime-in-grade requirements are also considered.
Officers not eligible for consideration are those with separation or retirement dates within 90 days of the board's convening date. lso, Captains who are not U.S. citizens will not be considered for promotion to major.
Regardless of rank, Marines meeting time-in-grade requirements for selection are consistently forewarned to prepare as if they are eligible for each board, even if they will likely be below-zone. That means ensuring their official military personnel record and master brief sheet are accurate, photos are up to date and professional military education complete.
"If an officer's DOR is such that he or she will meet the minimum TIG by the convening date of the board, then the officer is advised to prepare for consideration and ensure ample time is allows to review his or her record," reads the MARADMIN.
Fixing errors can take weeks or more.
Many times, years many boards select no below-zone Marines for promotion. But in fiscal 2015, for example, 20 below-zone majors were selected. What's more, eEligibility windows determining who is in- and below-zone can be tweaked in the final days leading up to a board, meaning a below-zone Marine with little chance of being selected can find themselves suddenly in-zone. If then passed, they are one step closer to the end of their career in uniform.
A few typical records deficiencies Marines should look for include missing or late fitness reports, date gaps on fitreps fitness reports or photographs that are more than a year old older than 12 months. Any of those is sufficient to scuttle chances at picking up rank.
There is a plethora of resources to help Marines put their best foot forward at boards. Career counselors can are perhaps the most valuable among those resources. They are able to help identify inaccuracies or incomplete elements in a Marine's records and identify deficiencies they may be able to improve before going before the board, to include weak rifle qualification scores. Detailed contact information for counselors can be found in the MARADMIN available online.
Marines can also visit the Manpower website at www.manpower.usmc.mil and navigate to "promotions" through the link on the home page's bottom right rail. From there, under "officer promotions" located in the left-hand menu, Marines can find confirmation of their individual board eligibility, sample cover letters, board status and more.
Marines eligible to be selected to a general officer rank will be pre-screened for adverse marks on their records by Headquarters Marine Corps and will have a chance to comment on past digressions prior to the board
Once boards conclude, some may immediately reconvene as continuation boards, which tap valuable and needed officers to serve past standard service up-or-outr limits that cap the number of years a Marine can serve in uniform — or more specifically in a particular rank without being promoted. In years past continuation boards have been held for ranks including captains through lieutenant colonels. Whether continuation boards are held, however, remains to be seen as they are directly dependent on the Marine Corps' needs which change year-by-year.