A new proof of concept sniper course might create a new job title in the shooting community.
Originally, the course was set to begin February but has since been moved to May, as directed by Training and Education Command officials, said 1st Lt. Samuel Stephenson, TECOM spokesman. That was to provide sufficient staffing and when resources would be available.
It will be held at SOI-West.
Currently, Marine scout snipers, 0317 MOS, train through the full gamut of skills before qualifying to hold the title and then get assigned to units. That course is nearly three months.
The proposed 0315 Marine scout primary MOS would have a skillset primarily focused on advanced scouting and patrolling, with a progressive career track similar to other 03XX PMOS, Stephenson wrote in an email.
The new proof of concept would divide the course, providing a shortened version for the initial 0315 MOS before that individual would then be shipped back to a unit to perform scout duties and guidance from unit 0317 snipers.
The Corps has faced sniper shortages in recent years as the intense school as a high failure rate. In 2017, Marine Corps Times reported a “critical gap” due to those failure rates. From 2013 to mid-2018 the Marine Corps produced only 226 snipers. The Corps usually has 300 snipers on hand across the force.
Headquarters Marine Corps personnel have been working on refinements to sniper training progression to address gaps since at least 2016, Stephenson wrote.
But in 2018, only 150 sergeants and below held the 0317 scout sniper MOS.
Past classes averaged about 100 attendees but in 2017 only 42 students attended and that number rose to only 77 by mid-2018, the most recent period Marine Corps Times had data available.
Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.