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Starting in 2015, 100 Marines will get a guaranteed shot at an assignment as an infantry squad leader.

The Squad Leader Development Program, will be the Marine Corps’ pipeline for a new military occupational speciality for infantry squad leaders. Part of the Marine’s “Expeditionary Force 21” concept, the new program will allow qualified noncommissioned infantry Marines to select a path to becoming a combat instructor or squad leader.

While limited to 100 slots in 2015, the Marine Corps plans to expand the program; the official announcement of the program emphasized that “small unit leaders are the backbone of the Corps.”

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