OCS Prep

Program Overview


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Program Objectives

Based on a background of designing and developing entry through advanced level programs and curriculum, I developed this program with objectives as the goal for Marine option midshipmen to master. The basis for mastery is the current TM’s, FM’s, FMFM’s and MCI’s that are published and used throughout the Marine Corps. These are the same ones used for the development of programs within the Marine Corps today.

It is not the intent of this program to only prepare an OCS candidate but to educate and prepare a future Marine officer who must complete OCS, as well as obtain their baccalaureate degree from their respective school.


Design Assumptions

There were some assumptions when this program was developed and to ensure a consistency of understanding I have included them here. These assumptions are based on the input of many MOI's, AMOI's and OSO's and are not unique to any specific organization or geographic location.

·   Each NROTC program and OSO location has assets and limitations unique to themselves but some applicable to all.   

·  Each MOI, AMOI and OSO has varying backgrounds and beliefs of how to train.   

·  Our common goal as MOI's, AMOI's and OSO's is the student’s completion of OCS.   

·  The atmosphere of a NROTC program/OSS can vary noticeably every few years.   

·  Initiative of the potential officer is a vital key to success of any OCS prep program.   

·  As part of their training, the upperclassmen are involved with training the underclassmen.



Material Selection

The basis for the subjects contained within has been information published on the official OCS web site and the Bulldog NROTC field training manual dated 1999. From this information, the subjects were selected, scrutinized and broken down into the objectives presented based on their ability to be presented and trained at most NROTC units and OSS locations, given the previously made assumptions. Several subjects are so broad, such as history and first aid, that the objectives are intended to provide both useful and motivating but not all encompassing information, thus creating a desire to fill a minor void of knowledge when they get to OCS . This is believed to assist the OCS instructors, both temporary and permanent, by not “stealing their thunder" but giving the midshipmen/candidates a strong base of knowledge to be expanded upon at OCS.


Intended Instructors

This information is intended to be used by the upperclassmen who have completed OCS and even MECEP’s or college programmer's to train the lower classmen. Their instruction should be guided, reviewed and supplemented as needed by the MOI, AMOI or OSO to ensure the objectives are met. This still requires involvement by the AMOI or OSO assistant but it does assist him or her with their task at hand.


 Testing Process

Determination of ‘mastery’ of each objective should not be limited to quantitative measures, such as written testing, but also should not be executed in any manner imitating OCS (Small Unit Leadership Evaluation). In other words, do not train candidates on how to pass a test.  Testing should be used to determine if the knowledge presented has been received and understood by the candidates. As a warning though, throughout my 20 year career in the Marine Corps and at MCRD, I saw many instructors, and I was one of them initially, that taught a ‘test’ because it was the current educational trend to follow. It has been proven time and again that teaching knowledge improves the success of testing but teaching tests does not improve knowledge. The paradigm of "passing scores equal success" is still present in many trainers today and will remain for some time. But considering that we are preparing our candidates for futures as Marine Corps Officers, via the OCS evaluation and screening process, this program presents a solid base of knowledge which will allow OCS to take the candidates training to the next level.



Once all assets and limitations of your unit have been considered, you can formulate and standardize your unit’s training to best meet the objectives. This is an intentional key element of the program. While the MOI, AMOI and OSO inevitably rotate to new duty assignments, the basic objectives for the candidates remain consistent. As the oncoming MOI, AMOI or OSO, you may and will bring new approaches to reaching the objectives based on your experience. However, if training in the ROTC manner, with it’s unique limitations, is new and unusual to you, then this standardization will be an asset to provide support as you ‘learn the ropes’ as well as providing an objective method of evaluating the abilities of the candidates and the likelihood of their future success.


Progressive Training Approach

The tasks increase incrementally in difficulty and each mastery level builds upon the training and experience that the student was previously exposed to. The individual experience and abilities of each MECEP and college program Marine must be reviewed on a case by case basis. Not all Marines have an infantry based background and on the same note, not all 0311’s have been exposed to daily infantry training and operations and as such, it would not be prudent to assume they are the duty experts. Some students will advance faster or even slower than others and each unit must determine how to best handle this situation. It is believed that the level of each individual mastery level is slightly below the ability of the average student in that specific grade level. However when all tasks are combined for a specific grade level, the level of effort to master all the tasks within that level will challenge every student.


Task Numbering

The task numbering used herein is consistent in theory with the current Marine Corps ITS system principles.

·  The first number is the subject identifier.

10.xx or 11.xx     (10 = Land Navigation, 11= M-16, etc.)

·  The second number is the grade mastery level. (the year they must master it NLT)

 x.1x or x.2x   (1 = freshmen 2 = sophomore 3 = junior 4 = senior)

·  The letter is the task identifier. (not in any specific order)

 x.xA or x.xB  (‘A’ is a different task then ‘B’).

Example: 10.1A is: subject Land Navigation (10), it must be mastered by the end of freshmen year (.1) and the task (A) is "Identify the parts of a compass" 


 Task Codes

Each subject has a matrix which further identifies the three following areas:

·  ‘P’ means the Marine option midshipmen must demonstrate "Preliminary" knowledge or limited proficiency of this task within this school year but does not have to show mastery yet.

·  ‘M’ means the Marine option midshipmen must "Master" this task and be proficient within this school year.

·  ‘AT’ means the Marine option midshipmen will assist teaching and demonstrate to the underclassmen this subject during this year.

This example is a ‘snap shot’ of the subject "Land Navigation."

Task #







ID the parts of a compass






Explain the use for each part on a compass






During daylight, shoot a mag. azimuth w/ cheek hold tech.






During darkness, shoot an azimuth w/ center hold method.






Method, Means, and Mode

The program can be taught in any order (map reading and land navigation together then patrolling, etc.), through any means (classroom w/ lecture, computer slide show, practical application, etc.) or with any materials available (actual items, scale model-sand box, textbook, TM’s, MCI’s, etc.) The key element is that it does not matter where or how they learn the correct and current information, as long as they learn it and can perform the task. It is necessary that the most current source documents (TM’s, FM’s, etc.) are available and used as the basis of all instruction. Standardized lesson outlines would be useful within the unit however, the standardization of lessons between units is limited and difficult due to the unique assets and limitations of each unit. 


Performance Based Outcome

All tasks are performance based, meaning that the results of their learning can be observed in some form. They should be able to shoot, follow, orient, describe, or perform something. This leaves the evaluation methods open to an endless variety; written, practical application, verbal, mission oriented, etc. Again I must stress not to mirror the testing procedures used at OCS. To do that will reduce the effectiveness of the evaluation and screening process necessary to select only the best officers


Contact Info

For more information concerning this program, contact GySgt Gregg White (Ret.) at Whitegm@hotmail.com



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 GySgt Gregg White (Ret.)    Contact E-Mail