The Marine Corps is again pushing leathernecks to consider a career in the intelligence field – and for those in slow-to-promote fields, it's a move that could lead to instant advancement and big bucks down the road.

The Marine Corps is encouraging qualified first-term corporals, sergeants and staff sergeants to consider making a lateral move into the counterintelligence/human intelligence specialist military occupational specialty. Corporals who make the move could be approved for the move up to sergeant regardless of cutting score as part of the Corps' Intended MOS Promotions program for fiscal 2017.

Once in the field, 0211 CI/human intel specialists are eligible for some of the highest selective retention bonuses the Corps has to offer.

This year, second-term Marines can nab a $47,750 bonus while those who've been in uniform for 10-14 years can pocket $21,750. Gunnery sergeants in that MOS can take home $24,000. Additionally, billets with foreign language proficiency get additional payouts ranging from $100 to $1,000 each month.

Marine Corps officials declined to specify the number of billets they're hoping to fill, citing operational security concerns. Those who make the lateral move will receive the sizable retention bonuses once their training is complete, said Yvonne Carlock, a spokeswoman for Manpower and Reserve Affairs.

Only the most qualified Marines will be approved to make the switch. Details about who's eligible to apply are listed in Marine administrative message 459/16, released Aug. 31.

Marines must be U.S. citizens and at least 21 years old. A General Technical score of 110 or higher is required, and Marines must be eligible to receive a top-secret security clearance, so their immediate family members must be U.S. citizens though an exception package can be requested. Volunteers can expect a counterintelligence scope polygraph exam and interview by an assessment and selection board.

"Specialists must be able to operate both independently and as part of an organized team made up of intelligence professionals with different backgrounds and experiences," the administrative message states. "They are required to have strong interpersonal skills that enable them to interact with a wide variety of people. Intellect, flexibility, creativity, and cultural knowledge all contribute to success in this."

Those interested in making the lat move should meet with their career planner and contact the nearest CI/human intelligence element to begin the assessment and selection process.

Marines approved for the switch will be assigned to a Marine expeditionary force and a pre-resident training course in Dam Neck, Virginia, that covers the required knowledge, skills, abilities, and attitude needed for successful completion of the MOS school. If a Marine fails to complete the 140-day performance-based course, he or she will be administratively reduced back to his or her previous rank, if the extra stripe had been given. Those who complete the school must commit to 60 months of service after graduation.

Counterintelligence isn’t the only option for Marines stuck in a job with few promotions and reenlistment opportunities. The IMOS program also looks to fill shortfalls in the nine other jobs: Imagery analysis specialist; Marine squad leader; critical skills operator; cyber security technician; explosive ordnance disposal technician; contingency contract specialist; Marine Corps community services; career planner; and criminal investigator Criminal Investigation Division agent.

Details for this program can be found in Marine administrative message 376/16, dated July 20.

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

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