(a) Marines who possess a graduate degree or sufficient regional experience may qualify for the RAO MOS without significant further training. Experiences such as study abroad, prior Marine Security Guard, religious missionary work, Peace Corps work and extensive travel abroad may be considered on a case-by-case basis as a factor in determining qualification. The graduate degree requirement may be waived on a case-by-case basis for individuals with 18 months of regional experience, to include significant interaction with foreign populations. The Director, Strategy and Plans Division (PL) is the approving authority. Additionally, any request for graduate degree waiver must be endorsed by the first General Officer in the Marine's chain of command.
(b) Additionally, successful completion in one of the following programs in which Marines do not possess a regionally focused language capability meet the requirements to receive the RAO designation. A skeleton package showing completion of respective program/billet and Master's degree diploma or certificate of completion must be submitted to the IAP office via the IAPMarine@usmc.mil mailbox for verification and award of the respective AMOS:
3. Olmsted Scholarship Program
4. Marine Corps Attaché
(1) The goal of the RAO experience track program is to identify and designate officers whose knowledge and experience meet the requirements for RAO as outlined below. The experience track is well suited for reserve officers who are not eligible for the study track program.
(2) Active and Reserve component officers of all ranks are eligible for RAO based on the following:
(a) Fully qualified in primary MOS.
(b) U.S. citizen.
(c) Possesses a final Secret security clearance.
(d) Possesses regionally focused graduate-level education resulting in a degree that could include, but is not limited to, the historical, political, cultural, military, security, sociological, scientific, technical, economic, and geographic factors of specific foreign countries and regions. Individuals with a graduate degree in another discipline than regional studies or international relations may qualify with 16 or more credit hours of regionally focused graduate study.
(e) Possesses professional experience of not less than one (1) year (waiverable to six (6) months) in the country or region of specialty, involving significant interaction with foreign populations in the regions in which they specialize.
(1) Active and Reserve component officers requesting a RAO AMOS may apply to DC, PP&O (PLU) at any time. Applications will be in letter-type format and will include appropriate command endorsements. International Affairs Branch (DC, PP&O/PLU) will convene a board on a quarterly basis to consider experience track applications, and will provide results to DC, M&RA (MMOA-3) via MARADMIN. MMOA-3 will enter the RAO AMOS in the officers OMPF.
(2) There are no limits to the number of regional designations Marines can qualify for. Marines who meet the requirements for multiple regional designations rate a corresponding number of MOSs.
(3) All officers selected for RAO programs will be notified by MARADMIN.
(4) See RESOURCES for a sample Experience Track application format.
Family Participation in Training. Spouses of students who serve as an employee or staff at NPS (part or full time) may take classes based upon availability and guidance set forth by NPS (spouses must call to verify current policy and availability) without going through the formal application process. Those who decide to pursue a degree through NPS must undergo the application process before they can continue their studies at NPS. Spouses that do not serve on NPS staff are not permitted to attend classes for academic credit, but may audit courses only with instructor permission.
Career Management Considerations
a. It is intended that RAOs perform more than one pol-mil related tour of duty during their careers. To accomplish this, a RAO will follow a dual-track career assignment pattern, alternating between PMOS and pol-mil designated billets. MMOA and PLU will attempt to place RAO officers in a RAO billet whenever the officer is due for a B-billet tour.
b. The RAO designation is not a PMOS. Marines who carry this designation are expected to remain proficient in their PMOS and thereby remain competitive for promotion by serving in operating forces tours at each pay grade.
c. RAOs are expected to retain their LREC competencies between utilization tours.
d. The nature of the dual-track career pattern may preclude PME attendance in residence. Officers selected for IAP should immediately enroll in the non-resident PME course appropriate for grade.
Utilization Assignment Policy
a. By applying for the RAO AMOS, officers are highlighting their availability to serve in international affairs and pol-mil billets when not serving in their PMOS. Officers who subsequently decline to serve in such billets will have their RAO AMOS administratively withdrawn.
b. A RAO will serve in designated RAO billets. The nature and location of these assignments will depend on several factors:
(1) The region of specialization
(2) The grade of the officer
(3) The commands that have billet vacancies during the period the student/officer will graduate or be available for PCS orders
(4) The priority in staffing for the commands with vacancies
(5) The needs of primary occupational field monitors (DC, M&RA/MMOA)
(6) The preferences of the officer
c. PLU will meet with MMOA annually to slate eligible RAOs scheduled to PCS during the following calendar year. Individuals are encouraged to submit billet preferences according to the MARADMIN announcement of available RAO billets.
(1) A RAO designated through the experience track does not incur a direct service obligation but is expected to serve in positions utilizing his or her LREC capabilities.
(2) Experience track RAOs have highlighted their willingness to serve assignments in which they can apply their LREC capabilities and are encouraged to seek billets both in the Marine Corps operating forces and in Joint and combined commands.