In 2021 the Corps will launch a new pilot program to extend the time new Marines spend at the School of Infantry to 14 weeks.
The pilot program comes as the Corps looks to develop a new way to fight as the threat of a near-peer enemy like China or Russia takes precedent over the Middle East wars of the past two decades.
“We have at least one adversary that we haven’t had in decades,” Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger said, talking about the strengthening Chinese military.
To fight the new adversary, “We need to get to that higher level because they are going to be more distributed, we are going to rely on them to make higher level decisions,” Berger said at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing in December.
The new 14-week infantry course will start by covering basic infantry concepts, then, as the course progresses, Marines will be tested on those concepts in increasingly complex contexts and environments, said Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for Marine Corps Training and Education Command.
“These proof of concept courses will be revised over the next calendar year based upon Fleet Marine Force feedback to produce Infantry Marines with the requisite skills necessary to succeed in the future Marine Infantry Battalion,” Stephenson added.
The Corps has said the pilot program may ultimately lead to even longer SOI time and could even lead the Corps to consolidate all infantry military occupational specialties into one.