Lateral Move Program Overview
The Marine Corps has historically suffered from MOS imbalances.
Over the years, many different programs, such as the Forced Lateral
Move Program, have been initiated to help balance officer MOSs.
These programs were discontinued because they proved ineffective.
The Forced Lateral Move Program has been replaced with the initiation
of the SMOS Program. SMOS is an additional MOS that is assigned
to an officer upon completion of the required training for that
specific MOS and/or successful completion of a SMOS tour.
The SMOS Program is designed to help meet the officer skill needs
of the Marine Corps. The program allows officers to receive training
and serve a tour in a short MOS during the same time that other
officers are serving in B-billets. Officers retain their PMOS and
return to PMOS tour assignments in a similar career pattern as other
officers in that PMOS.
The Voluntary Lateral Move Program is also designed to help meet
the officer needs in short MOSs (Any MOS with an onboard inventory
less than 85% of the total manpower requirement. CMC (MPP) will
publishes this in conjunction with the SMOS Board convening MARADMIN).
The Voluntary Lateral Move Program is a permanent change of PMOS
from an over MOS (Any MOS with an onboard inventory greater than
105% of total manpower requirement. CMC (MPP) publishes this list
in conjunction with the SMOS Board convening MARADMIN) to a short
The Marine Corps SMOS Policy
Eligibility for SMOS: Initial participation is limited to
unrestricted company grade officers with at least one year on station
during their initial PMOS tour and who are not in receipt of orders.
Judge Advocates (MOS 4402), naval aviators (MOS 75XX), and naval
flight officers (MOS 75XX) are excluded from this program. MOS 4402
and OccFld 75XX MOSs are also excluded from SMOS selection choices.
Note: Officers who desire to become naval aviators or naval
flight officers should refer to references (MCO
1542.1H) and (MCO 1040.22F) respectively. Officers who desire
to become judge advocates should refer to reference (MCO 1050.14C).
Volunteers can be officers with a regular or reserve commission.
Officers must have at least three years remaining on their initial
contract or agree to accept an Extension on Active Duty (EAD) allowing
for the completion of an SMOS tour.
Non-volunteers may be selected by the CMC (MMOA) as part of the
annual Officer Retention Board (ORB) to meet inventory shortfalls
not satisfied by volunteers. If non-volunteers are required, the
ORB MARADMIN will explain the requirements and details. Nonvolunteers
must meet similar criteria as volunteers.
Training: Training in the SMOS will be included in the three
year SMOS tour, unless waived by the officer participating in the
PMOS Experience: The intent of the SMOS program is to ensure
participating officers in the program will not receive any more
or less time in their PMOS than a non-SMOS counterpart. Consequently,
officers participating in the SMOS program will leave the operating
forces and return to the operating forces in their PMOS at approximately
the same career time frames as their non-SMOS counterparts. Officers
participating in the SMOS program will be considered for assignment
to career level school in the same manner as non-SMOS officers.
However, SMOS officers selected for CLS will draw their CLS quotas
from their PMOS school seat allocation.
Additional SMOS Tours: While not an absolute, there is likelihood
that some officers will complete a second SMOS tour later in their
career. This second tour would occur after promotion to major and
again substitute for a B-billet assignment.
Application Process: A voluntary SMOS board will be held
at HQMC annually or semiannually, depending upon need. A MARADMIN
will be published prior to each SMOS board listing eligible MOSs.
The eligible MOSs will be determined by MMOA in close coordination
with Occupational Field Sponsors and HQMC(MPP- 30). Qualified individuals
who desire to apply for the SMOS program should submit an AA Form
Voluntary Lateral Move Policy
Eligibility for Voluntary Lateral Move: Any unrestricted
officer in the grades of Major or below who desire to move from
an over MOS to a short MOS and is deemed qualified, may apply for
a voluntary lateral move. Officers may not apply to be moved into
primary MOSs 4402 or 75XX under this order.
Officers must possess a regular commission or be willing to accept
an EAD to ensure a minimum of three years of service obligation.
Officers in short MOSs and balanced MOS's will not be considered
for the Voluntary Lateral Move Program.
Majors will not be considered qualified for a lateral move unless
they have had appropriate previous experience in the SMOS they are
requesting. MOS qualification will be determined by the CMC (MMOA)
on a case by case basis.
Restricted officers (Limited Duty Officers (LDOs) and Warrant Officers
(WOs)) are appointed to serve in specific technical/specialist MOSs
that require extensive experience and training. Consequently, restricted
officers will not normally be allowed to lateral move except under
unusual circumstances, and then, only to meet the specific grade
requirements of that MOS.
Restricted officers requesting lateral move must be in an over MOS
requesting lateral move to a short MOS. MOS qualification will be
determined by CMC (MMOA) based on review of the officer's experience
and training, and the recommendation from CMC (MPP-35) regarding
the potential losing and gaining MOSs.
Restricted officers requesting lateral move must have completed
at least 2 years of service as a WO or LDO. WOs must have completed
at least 1 year of service subsequent to successful completion of
their MOS qualifying school.
Requesting a Lateral Move
Officers desiring to apply for a voluntary lateral move should submit
an AA Form (NAVMC 10274). Officers are highly encouraged to discuss
the Voluntary Lateral Move Program and their suitability for the
program with Career Counselors at CMC (MMOA-4). Additionally, restricted
officers considering a lateral move should contact CMC (MPP-35),
(DSN 278-9366/65/64) to determine over/short MOSs.