Pentagon & Congress

MARSOC officers get their own career path

MARSOC is creating a new career path for officers by converting the 0370 Special Operation Officer free military occupational specialty into a primary MOS.

Officers with Marine Corps Special Operations Command will be able to spend their careers in the special operations community rather than returning to another command after a five-year tour.

A selection panel for this new MOS will convene in November to generate the service's first population of permanent special operations officers.

To apply, fleet Marines must complete a web-based 0370 questionnaire, which is open from Oct. 8 through 27. The board will then convene Nov. 3 through 14 and release a Marine administrative message with results in December.

Enlisted Marines were similarly given their own primary MOS — 0372 Critical Skills Operator — in 2011 after concerns from the command that they were unable to develop a professional special operations cadre because Marines could only spend a few years at a time in MARSOC before returning to their PMOS to remain competitive for promotion.

MARSOC officials first announced creation of the new officer MOS on July 28, calling it a chance for the command to develop talented officers over the course of a career "as both fully proficient special operations professionals and well-rounded Marine Corps Air-Ground Task Force officers." During confirmation hearings in July, Gen. Joseph Dunford, who will take over later this month as the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps, identified the creation of an officer PMOS within MARSOC as an important facet of the command's efforts to grow.

Officers who hold the 0370 FMOS, especially those who have completed the MARSOC Individual Training Course or MARSOF Team Commanders Course, are encouraged to apply and likely to receive favorable consideration, according to MARADMIN 491/14, signed Sept. 29. However, application to the board for the new MOS is not restricted to those officers.

"To assist in establishing the initial PMOS population, majors and lieutenant colonels with special operations experience outside of MARSOC or significant equivalent experience within the [special operation forces] core activities of direct action, special reconnaissance, preparation of the environment, and/or security force assistance may submit for panel consideration," the MARADMIN reads.

Officers who apply and who have not yet attended the MARSOC Assessment and Selection course will have to complete selection and follow on ITC or MTCC training in order to earn the now-primary MOS designation.

Those officers who already hold the 0370 MOS are not obligated to convert, but must communicate their intent to either remain in their current PMOS, or make the move. Officers already in the MARSOC training pipeline, but who do not have the MOS yet, can elect to serve out their tour with the command and then return to their specialty, or apply to the board and remain with the command.

After the initial board, eligibility requirements to earn the new MOS will include being a captain with not more than 30 months time in grade. Captains can attend Assessment and Selection prior to receiving career designation, but cannot move on to ITC until they have been career designated.

"Time-in-grade requirements are subject to change based upon inventory," the message reads, indicating some basic eligibility requirements could evolve over time.

Serving in the newly created MOS doesn't mean that officers will be pigeonholed by MARSOC, however. While the new MOS does create a career path with standardized training, retention and promotion standards, a professional military education curriculum and career progression markers, Marines will still have the opportunity to serve in b-billets on recruiting duty, as instructors at school houses, or in other slices of the broader U.S. special operations community.

Hope Hodge Seck contributed to this report.

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