Communication Strategy and Operations Officer 4502
U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Quince Bisard
In addition to the Communication Strategy and Operations (CommStrat) Officer, the Visual Information Officer, the CommStrat Planner, and the CommStrat Chief, the 45XX occupational field is comprised of the following specialties: Combat Photographer, Combat Videographer, Combat Mass Communicator, and Combat Graphics Specialist. Regardless of specialty, 45XX occupational field Marines are employed in both the operating forces and supporting establishment. The occupational field’s mission is to advise commanders and staffs on communication strategy matters; develop and integrate communication plans; communicate with internal, domestic, and international audiences; and produce written and visual information products in order to build understanding, credibility, and trust with audiences critical to mission success. The CommStrat occupational field conducts a variety of tasks in support of operational and institutional objectives, to include: acquiring, editing, and producing written, photo, video, graphic and illustration products in electronic and print formats; and communicating with internal, domestic, and international (i.e., host-nation, coalition, adversary) audiences through a variety of means, such as the traditional news media, social media, community relations, and local population/key leader engagement. Through the official release of truthful and timely information, the 45XX occupational field puts Marine Corps operations, policies, programs, and activities in context, and counters misinformation and adversary propaganda.
What is an 4502?
The CommStrat Officer develops communication plans; communicates with internal, domestic, and international audiences; and oversees the execution of plans and activities by 45XX occupational field Marines in support of operational and Service communication objectives. Typical duties to support the occupational field’s mission to build understanding, credibility, and trust with audiences critical to mission success include, but are not limited to: advising commanders and staffs on communication strategy matters; conducting research to develop an understanding of the information environment, key audiences, and problems and opportunities; incorporating research findings into planning and decision-making; participating in operational and Service planning; leading communication planning, integration and synchronization; developing annexes and appendices to operations orders; engaging with internal, domestic and international audiences via traditional news media, social media, and face-to-face communication; overseeing the development and official release of written and visual information products; identifying and developing approaches to mitigate potential or emerging risks to the Marine Corps’ reputation or mission accomplishment; conducting crisis communication; and assessing and evaluating communication plans, products and engagement activities. CommStrat Officers also provide training to all levels of command and build communication strategy and operations capacity among partner nations.
Are there any prerequisites to becoming a Communication Strategy and
(1) Must possess a secret clearance and be eligible for a top secret clearance.
Where do I go after TBS?
After TBS, officers must complete the _ day Public Affairs Officer Qualification Course at the Defense Information School (DINFOS) at Fort Meade, MD. Course Length is 65 training days. The purpose of the course is to provide entry-level public affairs training for commissioned and senior noncommissioned officers from all U.S. military services, selected foreign nations, and U.S. government agency civilians selected for public affairs assignments at all levels of command. This course will ensure those officers, NCOs, and civilians are capable of performing the basic duties of Department of Defense military public affairs practitioners. he course material is organized into the following eight Functional Areas: Theory and Doctrine; Community Relations; Internal Information; Multimedia; Media Relations; Communication Skills; Public Affairs Operations and a capstone Operations Support Exercise. The material presented within each functional area builds a progressive format, which exposes students to essential foundational knowledge, and builds upon that knowledge through a series of case studies, assigned readings, guided discussions, and practical applications.
What is it like being a Communication Strategy and Operations Officer?
The support provided by CommStrat Officers is required aboard every major Marine Corps installation and in units across the MAGTF. A typical first tour assignment for CommStrat Officers may be as a Media Relations Officer, Plans Officer, or Community Relations Officer within a MIG as part of the CE of the MAGTF. There is one MIG subordinate to each MEF: I MIG aboard MCB Camp Pendleton, CA (I MEF); II MIG aboard MCB Camp Lejeune, NC (II MEF); and III MIG aboard MCB Camp Hansen, Okinawa, Japan (III MEF). CommStrat Officers may serve as a staff officer within the Supporting Establishment or at a MAW, MARDIV, or MLG or at a MEF-level command in support of a Major or Lieutenant Colonel on a General Officer staff. Additionally, CommStrat Officers may serve as a District Staff Officer within Marine Corps Recruiting Commands (MCRCs).
Recommended reading for Communication Strategy and Operations Officers
Inappropriate Conduct: Mystery of a Disgraced War Correspondent. Don Nort
D-Day through German Eyes: The hidden Story of June 6th, 1944. Holger Eckhertz
Trust Me, I’m Lying: Confessions of a Media Manipulator. Ryan Holiday
The Revenge of Geography: What the Map Tells us about Coming Conflicts and the Battle Against Fate. Richard D. Kaplan
Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary of State. Robert M. Gates
- 4503, Visual Information Officer (III) (CWO5 to WO) PMOS
- 4505, Communication Strategy and Operations Planner (LtCol to Capt) NMOS (4502)
- 4511, Recruiting Station Marketing & Communication Marine (Sgt) NMOS (4512, 4531, 4541, 4571)
- 4512, Combat Graphics Specialist (Sgt to Pvt) PMOS
- 4531, Combat Mass Communicator (Sgt to Pvt) PMOS
- 4541, Combat Photographer (Sgt to Pvt) PMOS
- 4571, Combat Videographer (Sgt to Pvt) PMOS
- 4591, Communication Strategy and Operations Chief (MGySgt to SSgt) PMOS
Sources/Credits: Please note that the information above was derived from and in most cases taken directly from the "Marine Officer MOS Assignment Handbook". The Basic School. Camp Barrett. March 3, 2019. All credit goes to the great staff at TBS for putting this together.
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