With formal descriptive documents and concepts such as “Expeditionary Force 21” and the Marine Operating Concept, the service is looking to modernize its communication and information systems occupational field.

“This is the first occupational field that’s taken the 21st Century reality and moving out by modernizing our training approach,” Lt. Col. Pete Schiefelbein, the comms officer for Marine Corps Training and Education Command, said during a presentation at the Cyber Pavilion of the Association of the U.S. Army’s annual conference.

The old paradigm harkens back to about World War II when the service had radio Marines, wire Marines and data systems Marines.

Today, by contrast, Schiefelbein said, the Marine Corps has made a clear recognition that those wire Marines, who primarily operated telephone systems, are now operating telephony networks; they’re network Marines just as much as any other handling data systems or transition systems, he added.

With the IP-based nature of networks, that is a big driver of the MOS transition.

Within this new training approach for the new MOS, every Marine goes through a basic communications course to learn electrical theory, electronics and IP networking. From there they branch out into specialties.

“This is just a means of getting after ‘Expeditionary Force [21]‘ and now the Marine Operating Concept, and you can see there defensive cyber operations — formally termed information assurance — is part in parcel of the approach,” he said.

Mark Pomerleau is a reporter for C4ISRNET, covering information warfare and cyberspace.