The few. The proud. The influencers.

On Tuesday, the Marine Corps announced the creation of a new operational field focused on information operations, redesignating the 17XX operational field from cyberspace operations to information maneuver. 

The new career field will combine numerous existing specialities, including cyber warfare, civil affairs, psychological operations, electromagnetic spectrum operations and space operations. 

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“Prior to the establishment of the Information Maneuver [occupational field], Marines gained valuable experience and skills at a Marine Expeditionary Force Information Group or at combatant commands only to go back to their previous MOS causing us to repeat the cycle again, never getting Marines with more than three years of experience across information related billets,” said Col. Jordan Walzer, director of the Information Maneuver Division.

The new field is part of an emerging focus across the service branches on information warfare, combining elements of cyberspace, space operations, electronic warfare, psychological operations and intelligence under one warfighting function. Or, in Marine Corps parlance, “operations in the information environment.”

The 17XX cyberspace operations field was itself a fairly recent addition to the Marine Corps, having been established in September 2018. Just last August, four additional military occupational specialties were added as well.

In addition to the Marine Corps’ existing cyber, civil affairs and psychological operations military occupational specialties, the 17XX field will create four new ones: 1751 Influence Specialist; 1795 Influence Chief; 1706 Maritime Space Officer; and 1707 Influence Officer.

In 2017, the Marine Corps established a three-star billet to oversee all aspects of information operations called the deputy commandant for information, as well as the Marine Expeditionary Force Information Groups, to help shape the information environment for commanders. 

As then-deputy commandant for information Lt. Gen. Lori Reynolds told in 2020, “Someone has got to be able to think broadly about what’s happening in cyber, how is space going to impact your ability to go do what you want to do over there in that [Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations], what is that messaging component, how do we want to use deception? Somebody has to bring all this together in a comprehensive way.”

So while the Marine Corps’ tanks might be going the way of the floppy disk, there’s a new operational field that will presumably also provide ample opportunities for sitting down. 

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