December 01, 2021

Gunnery Sergeants Who Never Went to Boot Camp? It May Be Coming in the Marine Corps

Featuring Katherine L. Kuzminski

Source: Marine Corps Times

Journalist Philip Athey

Enlisted Marines are made in boot camp. Marine officers, The Basic School.

Long days and harsh instructors give sharp lessons in what it means to be a Marine and forge a bond shared by all Marines, regardless of when they joined. Marines past and present remember the day they were handed the coveted eagle, globe and anchor emblem and welcomed into the fold.

But the Corps is now considering forgoing that historic initiation for potential Marines with highly sought-after skills.

The idea for lateral entry, laid out in Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger’s new Talent Management 2030 document, could see those “exceptionally talented Americans” forgo entry level training and join the Marine Corps as lieutenant colonels or gunnery sergeants.


Keeping lateral entry Marines out of leadership positions may help prevent cultural pushback or outright insubordination, Kate Kuzminski, the director of the military, veterans and society program at the Center for a New American Security told Marine Corps Times on Tuesday.

“You certain wouldn’t want a Marine coming in leading other Marines,” Kuzminski said. “They’re coming in for their technical expertise and they’re solving a specific problem.”

But that may be easier on the cybersecurity side of the house than the aviation side, she added.

“Aviation mechanics are more integrated with the more traditional model right. So yeah, I think for the sake of credibility of that individual within our unit, (normal entry training) does matter,” she said.

Read the full story and more from The Marine Corps Times.


  • Katherine L. Kuzminski

    Senior Fellow and Director, Military, Veterans, and Society Program

    Katherine L. Kuzminski (formerly Kidder) is a Senior Fellow and Director of the Military, Veterans, and Society (MVS) Program at CNAS. Her research specializations include Dep...