MCAS Miramar hosts Marine Corps University PME seminars

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Story by Sgt Brytani Wheeler on 08/25/2017
Education plays an important role in promotion, ensuring Marines are prepared for the next rank with leadership skills and increased Marine Corps knowledge.

According to Marine Administrative Message 521/14, effective October 1, 2015, promotion requires the completion of both an online MarineNet course and a resident course; however, the burden of losing personnel and funding a course for several weeks can be hard on a unit. Another benefit for the individual Marine is that they can now attend their Professional Military Education course even if on light or limited duty, and Marines can now attend a non-resident seminar during off-duty hours to meet PME requirements.

The College of Distance Education and Training is an organization within Marine Corps Training and Education Command whose mission is to design, develop and deliver distance learning programs across the Marine Corps. The college is a total force educational institution serving all U.S. military forces and DoD government agencies, as well as international military forces throughout the globe.

"The content of the PME seminar programs is derived from courses delivered in the formal resident schools such as the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy Career Course and the Expeditionary Warfare School," said Gary Dahl, the Marine Corps Air Station Miramar Regional Director for Marine Corps College of Distance Education. "All learning outcomes are parallel to the resident schools. Graduation from these programs ensures a Marine is PME complete for grade."

The seminar program was established in 1998 while most recently, the Career Course Seminar program was added in 2016. A pilot version of the Sergeant's Seminar Course is currently underway with the intent to begin scheduled seminars in early 2018.

The seminar is structured like a college course with the flexibility of either one class per week or one weekend per month at on-site locations or fully online. Regardless, students will have discussions and interaction periods with peers and homework assignments. Online courses are better suited for students not geographically located near a base with the on-site availability.

"Online seminars are designed for deployed and remote duty station students while the weekend program is designed to support reserve Marines," said Dahl. "Evening sessions generally run 2-3 hours each week while the online format has active participation through online discussion boards 4-5 times each week."

These on-site classes take place at one of eight campuses across the globe, including: Kailua, Hawaii; Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, California; Camp Pendleton, California; Fort Worth, Texas; Pensacola, Florida; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; Quantico, Virginia; and Camp Foster, Okinawa, Japan, for OCONUS students.

In the case of the Miramar Campus, support is provided across eight western states, from Arizona to Alaska, with the exception of Camp Pendleton and 29 Palms, which are supported by the Pendleton Campus.

The steps to enroll in a Distance Education Program (DEP) are simple, says retired Sgt. Maj. Sylvester Daniels, Miramar Career Course Regional Chief Instructor.
1. The Marine should contact their S-3 training section to let them know they are interested in the seminar.
2. Fill out a command screening checklist and have their command sign it.
3. Provide a copy of their non-resident PME certificate from MarineNet.
4. Contact the Regional Chief Instructor to ensure a seat is reserved for them in the next seminar.

"The benefit of the seminars for the students is they get the opportunity to apply what they learn in the seminar the next day at work and become PME complete," said Daniels. "For the units and leadership, they get to help make sure their Marines are PME complete without the Marines going away for seven weeks."

Within the Miramar Region, evening seminars are offered at MCAS Miramar, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego, MCAS Yuma and at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS) in Monterey, California. Weekend courses are offered at MCRD San Diego, MCAS Miramar and NPS.

Sergeants Course Seminar DEP is 15 weeks long and will be offered from on two occasions in 2018:
- Mid-February to late May
- Mid-June to late September

Career Course Seminar DEP for staff sergeants, including staff sergeant selects, is 15 weeks long which will be offered on three occasions in fiscal year 2018:
- Early October to late January
- Mid-February to late May
- Mid-June to late September

Expeditionary Warfare School, for captains and chief warrant officer 3s, and Command and Staff College, for majors and chief warrant officer 4s, are two-year programs which run September 2017 to May 2018.

The courses are run simultaneously at all locations so if a Marine temporarily leaves their unit, participates in the Unit Deployment Program overseas, or even permanently changes duty stations, they can transfer seamlessly to another location and finish the course.

"The seminar program develops critical thinkers, innovative problem solvers, and ethical leaders who understand the changing conditions of warfare," said Dahl.

Upon completion of a PME course, Marines are better equipped to lead and make sound decisions. Improved communication skills and comprehension of warfighting functions helps Marines meet mission requirements and win battles.

For more information contact your local training section or visit the following link:

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