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  • Captain Harper

OCC and PLC Selection Boards

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

I am often asked about selection boards and how to become competitive for selection. In this post I'll take you inside the board room, share some key background info, and get you one step closer to accomplishing your goal of getting selected on either an OCC or PLC selection board.

First and foremost, you need to understand some background: Each military service has a Fiscal Year (FY) mission for how many Officer accessions they need to attain for their Service. In other words, the Marine Corps determines a goal of how many 2ndLts they need to make for each service agreement type: air, judge advocate, active duty ground, and reserve ground. Making a 2ndLt is known as an "accession." OCC generates quick accessions because the Candidates already have their 4-yr undergrad degree. Therefore, once the Candidate graduates Marine Corps OCS, they can immediately become a 2ndLt. In the case of PLC, once a Candidate completes all of their training and is considered "fully trained," they cannot actually be eligible to be counted as an accession until they complete their college degree and earn their commission. In short, OCC can be viewed as a quick reactive solution to current FY accessions while PLC is a proactive solution to future FY mission.

I address the above first because the Marine Corps Manpower and Reserve affairs (M&RA) comes up with specific end-state goals, based on mathematical modeling, that the Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) is tasked with attaining for each FY. Therefore, the output from that modeling, coupled with local market propensity to serve, determines whether OCC or PLC will be more competitive in a given FY. Talk to your OSO about these factors and they can help game-plan your route.

Last word on background: your OSO works at the Recruiting Station level. Above that is the District level. Above that is the Region level. Above the region is the top of the chain of command: the Marine Corps Recruiting Command (MCRC) level. PLC boards are held at the District level with a handful of OSOs as voting members and an O-5 Marine Officer as a board president. OCC boards are held at the Region level with O-4 Assistant Officer Procurement* (AOPs) as voting members and an O-6 Marine Officer as the board president.

Now that you understand some of the background information, let's talk about how the selection board works. At both PLC and OCC selection board, voting members are look at a screen that has the applicant's: (1) academic information (SAT/ACT/AFQT/ASTB/School(s) attended/ GPA) ; (2) Physical Fitness Test (PFT) history; and (3) leadership potential based on the OSO's observations. The voting members can click on links that show your photo, 100 statement, Personal References (PIQs), and the OSO's recommendation/comments. The voting member will give 1-10 points for academic, 1-10 points for PFT, and 1-20 points for leadership. They then provide a yes or no vote. The AOP will then select up to their "selection cap," which is the maximum number of candidates they can select. For example, the District may have a mission of 20 active duty ground, but have a selection cap of 30 for active duty ground. Therefore, the District will want to selection 30 so they can accept a loss of10 ground to attrition and still make their mission of inducting 20 Candidates into training at OCS.

We all want Candidates to induct at OCS. This refers to passing the in-processing medical screening and the initial PFT at OCS. If you do not pass medical and the PFT, you will be sent home and the District will take a hit to their induction goal. Therefore, one of the most scrutinized aspects of your application will be the PFT. You can get a 4.0 for Harvard University in Bio-Mechanical Engineering, but if you cannot pass a PFT at OCS you will be sent home before training event begins.

While the PFT is the most important aspect of your application, we will still take the whole-person approach to the selection of candidates. In other words, subjective material will be briefed from notes your OSO prepares to bolster a candidate's likelihood of selection. To that end, it is very important that you have a conversation within 2 weeks to a selection board to discuss things you believe make you stand-out candidate. Bottom line, we're looking for physically fit and mentally tough Americans to lead Marines. If you think you have what it takes to lead Marines or would like to learn more about the Platoon Leaders Class or Officer Candidate Course application process, fill out an initial screening questionnaire and I'll promptly reach out to you.

*: AOPs are at each level excluding MCRC. AOPs were OSOs as Captains and manage the Officer mission for their Commander at the District and Region. MCRC has an Officer Procurement Officer (OP).


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