WASHINGTON — The Marine Corps officially announced implementation of the the Squad Leader Development Program and the new 0365 squad leader primary military occupational specialty in Marine administrative message 101/15 March 3.
The program was introduced to better develop infantry squad leaders by synchronizing the professional military education and advanced infantry training associated with a Marine sergeant serving as an infantry squad leader.
“Many of our units are experiencing significant gaps in the numbers of unit leaders with the right grade, experience, technical and leadership qualifications associated with their billets,” said Gen. Joseph F. Dunford, Jr., Commandant of the Marine Corps, in his 2015 Planning Guidance.
Marines accepted into the program will receive a reenlistment bonus ($18,500 for corporals and $20,500 for sergeants), may be eligible for promotion, and can choose two career paths — back to the operating forces or to a shortened, 30 month, combat instructor specialty duty assignment – a decision they must make prior to being accepted. Marines who choose the combat instructor route will first attend Combat Instructor School. Upon completion of their tour as a combat instructor, the Marines will attend Infantry Small Unit Leader Course and Sergeants Course, prior to returning to their infantry battalion.
The majority of current Marine infantry squad leaders are not sergeants and have not received the professional military education or the advanced infantry training associated with the duties of an infantry squad leader according to Plans, Policies and Operations, Headquarters Marine Corps. Only 72 out of 1,416 infantry sergeants in the operating forces have completed ISULC and Sergeants Course.
“In order to address these challenges,” Dunford said. “We will fully implement programs like the Squad Leader Development Program and consider other innovative ways to enhance the quantity and maturity of leadership at the small unit level.”
For full eligibility and details, see MARADMIN 101/15.
By Lance Cpl. Remington Hall, Headquarters Marine Corps