The Marine Corps has launched a new career field in hopes of producing better specialists in the field of information warfare.
According to a press release, the new career field of the 17XX Information Maneuver will bring Marines from the psychological operations and civil affairs field into the new career field.
The 17XX professional domain was originally created in 2018 and was known as the Cyberspace Operations professional domain.
The new designation as an information maneuvering field is a sign that the Corps sees fighting disinformation and propaganda as existing in the same fight as cyberattack and defense.
In 2017, the Marine Corps created the first Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group, or MIG, as a unit solely focused on the confluence of information and cyber warfare.
However, some of the information-oriented cantonments within the Marine Information Group were held by the Marines as a free military occupational specialty. Essentially, any Marine with the required skills could hold the ticket, regardless of their primary military occupational specialty.
But the nature of a free military occupational specialty made it difficult to keep the right people in the right jobs.
“The Marines gained valuable experience and skills in a Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Information Group (MIG) or combatant commands to return to their previous MOS, which required us to repeat the cycle , never getting Marines with more than three years of experience in information-related cantonments,” said Col. Jordan Walzer, director of the information maneuvers division in the office of the deputy commander for the information, in the press release.
“Professionalizing information-related MOS improves retention and readiness by preventing Marines with valuable skills from having to decide whether to return to their previous MOS or leave the Marine Corps to continue following their passion. “, adds Walzer, the former commander of II MIG.
Along with the change comes the addition of four main military occupational specialties.
Marines between the rank of second lieutenant to lieutenant colonel will be eligible to become “officers of influence,” while captains through lieutenant colonels would be eligible to become “marine space officers,” according to the press release.
Future administrative messages will detail how officers can access these new jobs laterally, according to the statement.
On the enlisted side, Marines ranked from sergeant to gunnery sergeant will be able to hold the new military occupational specialty influence specialist, while master sergeants and gunnery master sergeants will become leaders of influence, according to the communicated.
Marines holding Psychological Operations Specialist MOS 0521, Civil Affairs NCO MOS 0531, and Information Operations MOS 0551 will automatically become Influence Specialists, according to the press release.
To further fill the ranks, the Marine Corps plans to conduct sales tours of the new career field to Marines at their home bases, Maj. Audrey Callanan, the new career field manager, said in the statement.
The Corps hopes the new career field will not only put it in a better position in terms of information warfare, but help it retain better and more experienced Marines in the field.
“The OCCFLD information maneuver provides Marines with the opportunity to continue doing what they are passionate about,” said Lt. Gen. Matthew Glavy, deputy commander for information.
“When you put people first and give them the opportunity to pursue a career they are passionate about, they give ten times more back to the team and our mission,” he added.