The Marine Corps Command screening boards  in July​will consider hundreds of officers for a handful of coveted command billets this summer during two competitive screening boards.

The lieutenant colonel board is set for July 7 at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia; the colonel board will convene the following day.

The boards will be tasked with filling to fill ​60 command billets for colonels and 140 for lieutenant colonels that will come available between June 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018, said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for Manpower and Reserve Affairs. Marine Corps officials did not immediately provide the target numbers for each board, but ​That means prospects will see better chances than previous years.

While the number of commands remain relatively steady — in recent years, 56 to 61 colonels and 137 to 171 lieutenant colonels were selected — the number of Marines competing for those spots have dropped significantly as the drawdown rebalanced the force. For example, 906 lieutenant colonels competed for 171 command billets in 2011, while 546 battled for 154 slots last year. The boards will also select a sufficient number of alternates to cover the gaps when officers decline or otherwise cannot take command. 

Details about the boards can be found are contained ​in Marine administrative message 267/16, signed on May 26 by Maj. Gen. Craig Timberlake, director of the Manpower Management Division.

Nearly all unrestricted ​colonels, lieutenant colonels and officers selected for those ranks are eligible. Those with established separation and retirement dates, or a mandatory retirement date prior to June 1, 2019, will not be considered.

31st MEU Liberty Brief

Col. Romin Dasmalchi, the commanding officer of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, speaks to Marines aboard the amphibious assault ship Bonhomme Richard. The Marine Corps will hold its next command screening boards this summer.
Photo Credit: Gunnery Sgt. Ismael Pena/Marine Corps
The same is true for lieutenant colonels in or above the primary zone for the fiscal 2018 colonel selection board and officers whose primary military occupational specialty is aviation or ground acquisition management professional, and those with the acquisition PMOS, though non-PMOS 8059/8061 officers in designated Critical Acquisition Positions are eligible​. Other disqualifiers include having fewer than 12 months served by July 31 on a current joint duty assignment, or having been relieved for cause from a designated lieutenant colonel or colonel command screened billet regardless of length of time in command. Officers in the Special Education Program can slate to commands after their graduation.

Manpower officials stressed the need for communication between officers and the board. An online command screening questionnaire is the primary tool, and can be used to bring to the board’s attention any matter the officer considers important. This can include preferences for command and geographic location, as well as family or personal situations that the board should consider.

Command availability will be posted on the

command

​screening questionnaire, which can be accessed on the Manpower websiteat https://www.manpower.usmc.mil

​.  A common access card is not required.

From the homepage select the link "M and RA Applications," then select the link, "Boards and Surveys" under the "Top Applications" tab.  CAC card certification is not required to access the site. Command availability is also posted at https://www.manpower.usmc.mil/commandscreeningprogram.

Eligible officers who don’t want to be screened for command must note this on the questionnaire

and/

​or send an email to their monitor requesting to be removed from consideration. This correspondence will not be placed in the officer’s official military personnel file

, or OMPF

​. Officers who are slated and do not accept command must decline in writing through their appropriate chain of command with general officer endorsement

, and will have a letter placed in their OMPF documenting the command declination

​.

The typical colonel’s command screening board consists of nine or 10 general officers, while two to four generals and 16 colonels comprise the lieutenant colonel board. Each board has representatives of the ground, aviation, and logistics combat elements, as well as supporting establishment.

Lance M. Bacon is senior reporter for Marine Corps Times. He covers Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Marine Corps Forces Command, personnel / career issues, Marine Corps Logistics Command, II MEF, and Marine Forces North. He can be reached at lbacon@marinecorpstimes.com.