The Marine Corps has launched a new occupational field in the hopes of producing better specialists in the information warfare field.
The new 17XX information maneuver occupational field will bring in Marines from psychological operations, civil affairs field into the new occupational field, according to a press release.
The 17XX occupational field originally was created in 2018 and was known as the cyberspace operations occupational field.
The redesignation as the information maneuver field is a sign that the Corps views fights over misinformation and propaganda as existing within the same fight as cyber attacks and defense.
In 2017 the Marine Corps created the first Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, or MIG, as a unit solely focused on the confluence of information and cyberwarfare.
However, some of the information-focused billets within the Marine information group were held by Marines as a free military occupational specialty. Essentially any Marine with the requisite skills could hold the billet regardless of their primary military occupational specialty.
But the nature of a free military occupational specialty made keeping the right people in the right job difficult.
“Marines gained valuable experience and skills at a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group (MIG) or at combatant commands only to go back to their previous MOS causing us to repeat the cycle again, never getting Marines with more than three years of experience across information related billets,” Col. Jordan Walzer, the director for information maneuver division within the office of the deputy commandant for information, said in the press release.
“The professionalization of information related MOSs improves retention and readiness by avoiding Marines with valuable skills forced into deciding either to return to their prior MOS or exit the Marine Corps to continue following their passion,” add Walzer, the former II MIG commander.
The change comes with the addition of four primary military occupational specialties.
Marines between the rank of second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel will be eligible to become “influence officers,” while captains through lieutenant colonels would be eligible to become “maritime space officers,” according to the release.
Future administrative messages will detail how officers laterally can move into these new jobs, the release said.
On the enlisted end, Marines ranked sergeant through gunnery sergeant will be able to hold the new influence specialist military occupational specialty, while master sergeants and master gunnery sergeants will become influence chiefs, according to the release.
Marines holding the 0521 psychological operations specialists MOS, the 0531 civil affairs noncommissioned officer MOS and the 0551 information operations MOS automatically will become influence specialists, according to the press release.
To further fill in the ranks, the Marine Corps is planning to conduct roadshows selling the new occupational field to Marines at their home bases, Maj. Audrey Callanan, the new occupational fields manger, said in the release.
The Corps hopes the new occupational field not only will put it in a better standing in terms of information warfare, but help it retain better and more experienced Marines in the field.
“The Information Maneuver OCCFLD provides Marines the opportunity to continue doing what they are passionate about,” said Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, deputy commandant for information.
“When you put people first and provide them the opportunity to pursue a career they are passionate about, they give back tenfold to the team and our mission,” he added.