Students bring to bear all skills taught throughout ITC – amphibious operations, small unit tactics, direct action, special reconnaissance and special activities – while training, advising and operating with partnered and irregular forces in an Irregular Warfare environment. Students are forced to contend with a myriad of irregular challenges stemming from simultaneously managing multiple instruments of power in a free-play environment, remote from Camp Lejeune, and featuring an array of civilian role-players and support from municipal governments.
How is your schoolhouse, as presently configured, doing at fulfilling MARSOC’s need for new Raiders?
Producing CSOs, SOCS and SOOs is our number one line of effort! Historically, this has been a challenging task, but our current production levels are trending very positively. Our student numbers have never been higher and we are on track to consistently meet requirements with no degradation in student quality. We have made some structural modifications to make inter-organizational processes more efficient, but the vast majority of our success is attributable to the quality of Marines selected by a well-established selection process and the quality of Marines, sailors and civilians selected for Instructor duty within MSOS.
The caliber of people who work to support the Marines and sailors of this command are second to none and move mountains on a daily basis to enable MARSOC to successfully accomplish tremendous amounts relative to our size as SOCOM’s smallest component.
Does your unit provide courses and training in areas other than the Raider syllabus for MARSOC/SOCOM?
Absolutely. MSOS provides an array of advanced specialty courses to meet the requirements of the MRR and MRSG. Those courses are open to our sister SOF components and see regular attendance from within them, especially the 75th Ranger Regiment, who requested two permanent seats in every iteration of our MARSOF Technical Surveillance Course.
Due to the geographic proximity of II Marine Expeditionary Force, the XVIII Airborne Corps and the relationships we maintain within our parent service, we are regularly able to provide critical training to conventional Marine and Army units with intersecting mission requirements. Our SERE school is an excellent example of that, but is not the only course in which we support conventional students.
How do you see your unit and its capabilities growing and improving MARSOC/Raider training over the next five years?
During that time, we will see recognition of the criticality of our instructors via the 0914 Combat Instructor MOS. We will complete the assumption of responsibility for all specialty training and see final TECOM [Training and Education Command] approval of all current programs of instruction. We will see expanded responsibilities for joint interoperability with sister SOF. Our Master Instructor Program will continue to develop incredibly well-qualified, experienced instructors with a passion for passing on their craft to the next generation of MARSOC special operators. We are at a point where we now see return players at the MSOS, a critical aspect of building a truly professional cadre of instructors.
Are you having fun running your school?
I am not sure I would say I am having fun; I would instead say that I find it deeply rewarding to work at the MSOS. We have been fortunate enough to amass an organization of immensely talented servicemen and women. In addition, our civilian staff continues to provide the continuity that enables MARSOC to aggressively move forward. The caliber of people who work to support the Marines and sailors of this command are second to none and move mountains on a daily basis to enable MARSOC to successfully accomplish tremendous amounts relative to our size as SOCOM’s smallest component.
Small has its advantages, however, the most significant being the agility of the organization. We can rapidly implement ideas that bubble up from the instructors or flow down from theater requirements – and watching the team do this has been the most rewarding aspect of my time with the school.
This interview was first published in The Year in Special Operations: 2016-2017 Edition.