October 25, 2012

Station Operations Director: Lt. Col. John Hicks

5 Questions

 As a seminar instructor for the Expeditionary Warfare School Distance Learning Program, what are the benefits of studying non-MOS specific Marine Corps concepts, doctrine and tactics?

It makes leaders more well rounded by introducing them to concepts of planning and employment for Marine Air-Ground Task Forces that will serve them well in future billets and operations. It also teaches them the capabilities and limitation of other members of the MAGTF, joint services, and coalition forces that they may be able to leverage in future assignments. In the Expeditionary Warfare School Distance Education Program, we are preparing company grade officers and select senior staff non-commissioned officers for success as a contributing member of a staff at the Regiment or Group level and below, including conducting the Marine Corps Planning Process as part of an operational planning team. They will begin to think and function not only at the tactical level of warfare that they have been perfecting during their MOS training, but they will also start to see the picture at the operational level and how that affects their day to day operations.

If a Marine was contemplating completing his or her professional military education, what guidance would you give them?

Get started. The Expeditionary Warfare School Distance Education Program takes two academic years to complete. There is no “box of books” that you can check out and do in your spare time anymore. Successful completion of EWS is all but mandatory for selection to major, and is a crucial area of distinction for other boards such as Career Designation, Marine Officer Instructor, or other academic programs. Considering the length and frequency of deployments over the last decade, it is extremely difficult to find two consecutive years to dedicate to PME. 

What other professional military education opportunities are available?

There are always professional courses available through MarineNet and books to study off of the Commandant’s reading list, but many Marines overlook other venues of PME such as foreign language training, Marine Corps Martial Arts, and dedicated MOS related courses taught by MAWTS-1, including their Weapons and Tactics Instructor’s Course.

Can professional military education benefit Marines getting out who are either going to college or preparing their civilian resume?

Yes. Not only can professional military education benefit Marines while they’re still active, it can help bolster their resume and show potential employers and educational institutions that the applicant has a strong motive for continued education and self improvement. It will also improve  study habits and time management skills at work.

What advice would you give Marines in the area of military and MOS-specific proficiency training?

Get your PME complete for grade, and immediately start working on the next level. Being done early only opens door for you. If you later decide to leave active duty, those academic habits will follow you. If you decide to try and attend resident PME, having the non-resident seminar completed makes you more competitive. Delaying getting your PME complete will only limit your options in the future. Every year captains come up to me asking how they can get EWS completed in the next few months before the promotion board meets. The answer is simple; you can’t.

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