Opportunity for officer promotions look favorable in 2017, with most ranks likely to see a bump in the total number of Marines selected to pick up rank.
Manpower officials have released details of upcoming fiscal year 2017 officer selection boards for captains, majors, lieutenant colonels and colonels, through colonels which are set to convene this summer and fall.
Overall, officers can expect a modest increase in the number tapped for promotion based on wider in-zone windows, which determine how many Marines are considered ripe for promotion at the upcoming 2017 officer selection boards.
A Maine Corps Times analysis of in-zone windows announced in Marine administrative message 327/15, released signed July 7, shows in-zone windows were expanded by three months for colonels and six months for lieutenant colonels, while holding about steady for majors and captains. Those windows can, however, be tweaked up until the selection boards convene.
In-zone windows are set by manpower planners, and any Marine who falls inside them who designate one Marine as the senior Marine in-zone and another as the junior Marine in-zone based on their dates of rank and linear control numbers. Anyone between them, and including them, inside those parameters is considered by the board — as well as some who are above zone and a few below zone. To control the number of how many Marines who are ultimately promoted based on the service's needs, manpower planners can widen and narrow the windows from year to year.
This far ahead of the board, without a precise figure for how many Marines will be considered in-zone, it is difficult to predict exactly how many more officers will pick up rank this year. That said, for those who do go before the board their chances of picking up rank — known as promotion opportunity — should hold steady. While in-zone, above-zone and below-zone windows are tweaked each year, the percentage of in-zone Marines tapped for a promotion remains relatively consistent, with only slight fluctuations. For captains, selection opportunity has hovered in the mid to upper 90s for a couple of years. For majors it has been near 75 percent. For lieutenant colonels and colonels, about 63 and 46 respectively.
At the 2016 boards, that promotion opportunity translated into 1,271 Marines selected for captain, 633 for major, 202 for lieutenant colonel, and 63 for colonel.
Those likely to be in-zone for promotion based on details in the MARADMIN, available online, should ensure their records are accurate and current. That includes official military personnel files, master brief sheets and portraits taken within the past year. Those below zone have been routinely cautioned to also ensure their records are in order since a last minute tweak to the in-zone window could put some suddenly in-zone. An incomplete record — even just an out of date photograph — can scuttle their chances, leaving them with a pass for promotion and one step closer to up-or-out service limits.
Revisions to records should be made in time for the boards which are set to convene at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, as follows: Aug. 18 for lieutenant colonels; Aug. 25 for majors; Sept. 9 for colonels; and Feb. 9 for captains.
Once selection boards conclude, continuation boards will be held to retain some captains, majors and lieutenant colonels not tapped for a promotion. Those considered for continuation through 20 years of service will include twice-passed captains who have more than 15 years of service and twice-passed majors who have fewer than 18 years of service. Both boards can continue up to 95 percent and no less than 70 percent of those considered.
Also, lLieutenant colonels with who serve in certain in-demand military occupational specialties whose retirement dates fall between Aug. 1, 2016, and July 1, 2017, will also be considered for continuation for three years, 31 years of active-duty service or until 62 years of age — whichever is earliest. In-demand specialties eligible for continuation include 3404 Ffinancial management officers, 4302 Ppublic affairs officers, 7315 UAV mission commanders, 7543 Ppilots who are VMAQ/VMFP EA-6B qualified, electronic warfare officers who are EA-6B qualified, 8059 Aaviation acquisition management professionals, or 8061 Aacquisition management professionals.