Ever wondered what it's like to be a Marine Corps Ground Intelligence Officer (0203)? Then check out the information below supplied by current Ground Intelligence Officers and the Marine MOS Handbook.
If you are attracted to the infantry occupational field and the intelligence field, the ground intelligence MOS may offer the best of both worlds. Created in 1994 to improve intelligence at the tactical level in the Marine Corps, this field provides intelligence officers with an opportunity to command at the onset of their careers.
2.What is this MOS like?
The ground intelligence officer will serve as a scout sniper platoon commander in an infantry battalion or as an intelligence officer on a battalion, regiment or division staff for the first 12 to 18 months. If you had the opportunity to lead a scout sniper platoon and enjoyed the billet, you may volunteer to command a reconnaissance platoon. If selected, following a rigorous screening process, you will command a reconnaissance platoon for approximately 24 months. However, opportunities to lead scout sniper or reconnaissance platoons are limited and highly dependent upon the current needs of the Marine Corps. Lastly, you must be eligible for top secret clearance with access to special compartmentalized information (TS/SCI) based on a Single Scope Background Investigation (SSBI).
3. What will I do after TBS before I get to my first billet?
Before leaving Quantico, the Ground Intel Officer will attend IOC for ten weeks along with his infantry contemporaries. Upon graduation from IOC, Ground Intelligence Officers will attend the SSPC (Scout Sniper Platoon Commander Course) at the Scout Sniper Instructor School at Weapons Training Battalion for two weeks. Following SSPC, they will attend the six-week Ground Intelligence Officer Course (GIOC) at the Navy/Marine Corps Intelligence Training Center in Dam Neck, Virginia. Here they will learn the requisite skills to perform as an intelligence officer on a battalion, regiment or division staff.
4. What will my first tour be like?
Unlike the career path of a typical Marine Infantry Officer, Ground Intel Officers have a variety of first tour opportunities. All ground intelligence officers will be assigned to one of the three divisions within the Marine Corps. Those assigned to First Marine Division and Second Marine Division may serve on the division intelligence officer’s staff until they can be permanently assigned to one of the infantry battalions as a scout sniper platoon commander, if a position becomes available. The officers assigned to Third Marine Division in Okinawa may serve on the division staff for a longer period of time. In some cases, these officers may be selected to serve as reconnaissance platoon commanders and may receive some of their requisite training prior to departing for Okinawa.
When not performing intelligence related activities, the Ground Intel Officer can expect to conduct other administrative duties similar to those of every Marine Officer MOS. Tasks like ensuring medical/dental readiness of your Marines, writing awards, verifying that personnel security clearances are current, and planning occupy a significant portion of time and may present a challenge for some 2nd Lieutenants early on. Likewise, since the bulk of a new Ground Intel Officers training was Infantry focused, adaptability to a non-Infantry lifestyle will be expected.
Those who have the opportunity to command a scout sniper platoon will soon realize that it is a physically and mentally challenging job. Scout sniper platoons consist of 8 two-man teams and a small headquarters section. The mission of these teams is to support combat operations by providing precision direct fire on selected targets, controlling supporting arms, and collecting and reporting information. The Ground Intel Officer is responsible for training the teams and will work closely with the battalion intelligence officer and battalion operations officer in their employment. However, as the platoon commander, your role in the execution of such missions is limited.
Lastly, deployment opportunities are dependent on the battalion to which you are assigned. Like the infantry officers in your IOC class, you can be assigned to a battalion conducting a six or seven month deployment to Okinawa as part of the Unit Deployment Program (UDP), or to a battalion conducting a Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) (MEU(SOC)) deployment. While deployed, you will perform duties similar to that in garrison. However, you may also do tasks such as reviewing daily/hourly intel fields for information pertinent to your unit, tracking enemy actions in your sector, and attempting to forecast future enemy actions and threats.
5. Where might I go after my first tour?
Upon augmentation and three or more years of intelligence experience, all Marine Corps intelligence officers from the four specialty intelligence MOSs (MOS 0203, 0204, 0206, and 0207) are redesignated as a MAGTF Intelligence Officer, MOS 0202. This MOS is granted upon completion of the MAGTF Intelligence Officer Course (MIOC) at NMITC in Dam Neck, Virginia. MIOC develops officers who can apply intelligence tactics, techniques, and procedures to support the commander across a multi-disciplined spectrum in a MAGTF and joint environment. After qualification for the 0202 MOS, the officer can be assigned to any level of the Marine Corps, external billets (mostly US Navy billets), joint intelligence tours, and national intelligence agencies. There are several opportunities to command intelligence organizations and other units within the Marine Corps. These opportunities range from command of Marine students in other service intelligence schools, through multiple command billets in the three intelligence battalions, to command of a SIGINT company or battalion.
The 0203 MOS is a challenging profession. You will work with some of the most talented and dedicated Marines in the Corps. Regardless of your MOS assignment, you will find that this is the most rewarding aspect of the Marine Corps. Additionally, your 0203 experience will open up command possibilities in the future.