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"Crossroads of the Marine Corps"

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Corps adds new requirements to Marine Security Guard Program

By Ameesha Felton | | January 30, 2014


The Marine Corps Embassy Security Group is looking for Marines who are smarter, faster, stronger and more mobile. The program announced changes this month to admission requirements for Marines who want to serve oversees as internal security at U.S. diplomatic and consular facilities. The new perquisites address the military’s entrance exam, fitness levels, height, security clearances and family members.

According to Marine administrative message 010/14, Marines now need a first-class score on their Physical Fitness Test to be eligible, where previously a third-class was sufficient.

“Numerous studies demonstrated that there is a high correlation between having at least a first-class PFT score and success at Marine Security Group School,” said Frank Baker, executive director at MCESG. “These Marines also tended to have successful tours as Marine security guards on post.”

Additionally, staff noncommissioned officers must earn 100 on the General Technical portion of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery exam, instead of 90.

Similar to PFT outcomes, Baker said a Marine’s GT score, which is the sum of a word knowledge, paragraph comprehension and arithmetic reasoning test, is strongly related to occupational success in the field.

“SNCOs in the program are detachment commanders who have a great deal of responsibility and must have the ability to engage with senior officials in the interagency environment of an embassy,” Baker said.

To ensure Marines can observe and operate equipment at the entrance of the building that houses diplomatic missions, often referred to as a chancery, the program changed height requirements to at least 5 feet 4 inches.

“Post 1 is the entry control point for the chancery and it is constructed to specific standards that accommodate the controls, alarms and other equipment that assists the Marine in controlling access,” Baker said.

“Sixty-four inches was determined to be the minimum height that will afford a Marine the ability to observe the lobby, entrance doors and other surroundings without having his or her vision obstructed by the equipment.”

Under the new rules, all Marines must have an adjudicated secret clearance prior to applying. Baker said since guards are required to have a top secret clearance before deploying overseas, “having an adjudicated secret security clearance in advance quickens the process of obtaining a top secret.”

Increased safety is another concern that prompted amendments. According to the MARADMIN, SNCO’s dependents must be at least nine-months-old prior to reporting to MSG School and cannot be assigned to the Exceptional Family Member Program. Also, their spouses must have U.S. citizenship before applying.

Although restrictions on who can accompany military members vary with an individual embassy or consulate, Baker concluded that health and safety concerns were a chief determining factor.

“Healthcare for dependents under the age of 12 months cannot be managed at some austere locations, especially immunizations that must be administered for certain postings,” Baker said. “Additionally, most of these same austere locations cannot provide the required healthcare needs for those dependents assigned to the Exceptional Family Member Program.”

Lastly, all annual training must be completed before reporting to the program, unless a waiver is approved by Headquarters Marine Corps.

While the Corps plans to beef up their Marine Security Guard force by 1,000, according to the 2013 Defense Authorization Act, Baker said the changes should not adversely impact the program.

“Most applicants already meet these new requirements, [so] it will not negatively affect the program’s growth,” Baker said.

— Writer: afelton@quanticosentryonline.com

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