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Space Marines

Opportunities for the Marine Corps
Michael JohnsonAlison VernonMaj Lewis Flinn (USMC)
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“From commerce to meteorology to global communications, society not only relies on space capabilities, it expects the services they provide to always be present. Space enables our national security to preserve our way of life. From protecting the homeland and fighting our nation’s wars alongside allies and partners, to providing humanitarian assistance, space makes the achievements of America’s military possible.” – USSPACECOM 


As the space domain becomes increasingly important to the US and Marine Corps forces, the service has made several changes, but big questions remain to ensure it is prepared for the future operating environment and possible new roles and responsibilities in the space domain. To that end, we examined the following questions: What are the Marine Corps’ space equities? What are the Corps’ organizations and billets to address its equities and develop its strategy for the space domain? And what are the bigger issues (challenges and opportunities) for the Corps at its current stage of space development? We provide a brief discussion of these questions in this information memorandum.

Approach and limitations

We reviewed the development of “Space Marines” through a literature review, discussions with subject matter experts (SMEs), and an examination of Marine Corps space-related billets. Literature included DOD publications, USMC concepts, MARADMINs, NAVMC Orders, Marine Corps Orders, prior CNA research, Army publications, news articles, and US Space Force (USSF) and US Space Command (USSPACECOM) documentation. SMEs included current and recent Space Marines at three Headquarters Marine Corps (HQMC) Deputy Commandants—Information (DC I); Plans, Policy, and Operations (DC PP&O) and Combat Development and Integration (DC CD&I)—and at Marine Corps Forces, US Space Command (MARFORSPACE), the Marine service component to USSPACECOM. For the purposes of this study, we define a Space Marine as any Marine in a billet designated for a holder of a Space MOS, whether located in the Fleet Marine Force (FMF), in the supporting establishment, or at MARFORSPACE. Space MOS designations include 1706, 1786 (currently 0540), and 8866. We considered only officers because there is no enlisted space MOS in the USMC.

Finally, we have several caveats, the biggest being that the space domain, USSF, and USSPACECOM are undergoing many changes and the other services and CCDRs are trying to organize for the moving target that is space. We also note that authorities and policies are still under review and development, and command and control structures are still in flux.

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DISTRIBUTION STATEMENT A. Cleared for Public Release


  • Pages: 12
  • Document Number: DIM-2022-U-033452-Final
  • Publication Date: 9/20/2022
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