News: Major changes for enlisted to officer commissioning programs
Story by Lance Cpl. David Flynn
QUANTICO, Va. - The Marine Corps Recruiting Command announced July 22 changes to the active duty enlisted to officer commissioning programs.
The announcement message, MARADMIN 415/11, lays out a new process for enlisted Marines applying to become officers and includes the elimination of one of the enlisted commissioning programs.
According to Capt. Adam Scott, head of regular officer programs, MCRC, the Meritorious Commissioning Program for active duty Marines will no longer be an option.
“[The Meritorious Commissioning Program] was inefficient because we weren’t getting enough people submitting packages for it,” said Scott. “We realized that someone applying for MCP would most likely be qualified for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program as well, so they can continue to pursue a commission that way.”
Another big change detailed in the MARADMIN is the applicant board selection process. Previously, each individual enlisted commissioning program had a board to select from the pool of candidates. Beginning in fiscal year 2012, all applicants for MECEP, ECP, ECP-Reserve, and MCP-Reserve will be selected on the same board, which will be held three times annually.
“We combined the boards to improve efficiency,” said Scott. “Aside from the individual program requirements, the applications for the different enlisted commissioning programs are almost identical.”
By conducting three boards a year for all the programs, prospective Marine officers will have more chances at earning the opportunity to go to Officer Candidate School.
According to Scott, a surprise to some of the Marines selected will be the new requirement regarding attendance at OCS.
Previously, Marines accepted for the MECEP program would attend college and participate in a Naval Reserve Officers Training Corps program for a year before going to OCS. Under the new policy, Marines accepted for MECEP must successfully complete OCS and have an acceptance letter to their college of choice before receiving orders to go to school.
“There is no sense in sending Marines to school through the MECEP program if they can’t make it through OCS when the time comes,” said Scott. “Officer Candidate School is usually the biggest hurdle for Marines. By getting it out of the way right off the bat we’re making sure that the Marine Corps isn’t wasting time and money sending someone to school who will eventually fail to make it through OCS.”
In addition to saving the Corps time and money, OCS-trained Marines will have an easier time in school and be even more valuable to their NROTC unit.
“Once a Marine has gone through OCS all they will have to focus on then is school,” said Scott. “They will also show up to their NROTC unit ready to assist in training Midshipmen for OCS.”
Although there are several significant changes to enlisted commissioning programs, some things will not change.
According to Scott, the requirements for submitting packages for the various programs are not changing and Marines should not expect selection boards to be any more or less competitive.
Further guidance on the changes to enlisted commissioning programs will be published in a follow on MARADMIN message and will be incorporated into an updated version of Marine Corps Order 1040.43A Enlisted to Officer Commissioning Programs.
For more information on the various commissioning programs available for enlisted Marines, to include the NROTC scholarship and Naval Academy applicant process, check MCO 1040.43A or contact MCRC officer programs at 703-784-9448.