Through the Congressional Fellowship Program, a Department of Defense program managed by the Office of the Secretary of Defense for Legislative Affairs, active component staff-non-commissioned officers and active reserve officers can sharpen their political skills as they serve on the administrative team of a congressional member.
Gunnery Sgt. Edward Tagle, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron S-1 chief, said the program provides a unique opportunity for military members to work alongside senators, representatives and congressional committees.
Fellows will advise and assist development of legislation, assist with hearing preparation and floor debate, represent members at various meetings, assist with coordination of congressional and staff actions and research and draft introductions to bills.
Because of the responsibilities the fellows will have, the process goes up the chain of command via an administrative action package as opposed to the usual visit to the career planner.
“The process is the way it is to ensure Marines are good to go,” said Tagle. “After it is looked at by the unit’s commanding officer, the package is sent to the base commander then to the Marine Corps Installations East commander before it goes up to Headquarters of Marine Corps, where the board will convene.”
Tagle mentioned there are not many spots available, and the program is competitive to get into, which means Marines need to ensure their package is in order.
In 2011, there were only 10 House fellowships and five Senate fellowships.
Once accepted, Marines will assume an additional three-year commitment to the Marine Corps upon completion of their congressional duty, and Gunnery Sgt. Orion Murray, Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron career planner, said, “participants return to the fleet well-rounded with political connections and insight.”
Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron had one package submitted for the program, Master Sgt. Kathryn Denham, but Murray believes if more Marines knew about the program, there would have been
For more information or to apply, review MARADMIN 572/11 and visit your unit’s S-1 office to fill out an AA form.