MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. — More infantry leaders will have a shot at a spot in the Marine Corps' new Squad Leader Development Program next year.
Marine leaders npower officials plan look to expand the program Squad Leader Development Program from 72 to 100 spots — a 39 -percent increase, according to manpower officials. Marines in eight commands will be eligible to recommend Marines will be and distribute those allocations among eight commands in the coming fiscal year.
Selection means a guaranteed seat in advanced courses such as Infantry Small Unit Leader Course, Sergeants Course and Combat Instructor School. It also provides its own military occupational specialty, a chance at faster promotions and better far greater re-upenlistment bonuses, with . Infantry corporals in the program eligible for a will get $23,000 bonus 4,750 to re-enlist in 2017 and the coming fiscal year, while sergeants up for pocketing will get $5,250. The 0365 corporal, on the other hand, will get $23,000, and sergeant squad leaders will get $25,000. That's about four or five times more than the bonuses noncommissioned officers in other infantry jobs can expect to pocket.
Sgt. Grant Young, a squad leader with Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, shouts an order during Exercise Ssang Yong in South Korea.
Photo Credit: Lance Cpl. Sean Evans/Marine Corps
The decision to add more spots to the program was driven by ground combat commanders, who felt having more openings would allow them to nominate the best Marines for the job, said Col. Rudy Janiczek, head of Enlisted Assignments here.
The new goal of will be outlined in an upcoming Marine administrative message, and will be divided among eight commands in the operating forces and supporting establishment with emphasis on the Marine divisions, said Col. Rudy Janiczek, head of Enlisted Assignments. The change was driven by Ground Combat Element commanders who felt this approach would allow them to nominate the appropriate Marines while monitoring and balancing this with retention efforts in other infantry MOSs.
"These allocations are not a cap and commands can submit all qualified applicants," Janiczek said.
The SLDP had a cap of 100 Marines when it launched in 2015; 78 Marines were selected for the program. Officials assigned 120 boat spaces in fiscal 2016, but later dropped adjusted that to number to 72. The Corps ended up accepting 49 first-termers and 28 career Marines, according to personnel data provided to Marine Corps Times.
Corporals and sergeants in five MOSs — rifleman, machine gunner, mortarman, infantry assault Marine, and anti-tank missile gunner — are eligible to apply throughout the year. Marines accepted into the program choose between a tour in the operating forces or a 30-month run as a combat instructor. The latter will attend Combat Instructor School, then attend Infantry Small Unit Leader Course and Sergeants Course before they return to an infantry battalion.
Sgt. Gregory Peppers II, a combat instructor at School of Infantry-East, encourages Marines to keep moving during a 15 kilometer conditioning hike.
Photo Credit: Cpl. Andrew Kuppers/Marine Corps
The program is the brainchild of former Commandant Gen. Joseph Dunford, who recognized the need to provide infantry squad leaders more professional military education and advanced training. When the program kicked off, less fewer than 100 of roughly 1,400 infantry sergeants in the operating forces had completed the Infantry Small Unit Leader Course and the Sergeants course.
Personnel officials have not ruled out further adjustments, and are even looking to expand the concept in other MOSs — though they declined to discuss specifics military occupational specialties.
"The Marine Corps is constantly reviewing and evaluating its manpower programs with the intent of improving the impact these programs have on our warfighting capability," said Col. Gaines Ward, head of Plans, Programs and Budget. "The SLDP is a relatively young program, which will be reviewed during fiscal year '17 for improvements or alterations in fiscal year '18 and beyond."