Marine Corps Scout Sniper MOS 0317

These highly-trained Marines are key to combat operations

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The U.S. Marines Scout Sniper (0317) is a secondary military occupational specialty (MOS) open to Marines with certain qualifications. As with all secondary MOS, you can't enter directly from boot camp into this job, but the Marine Corps has considered changing scout sniper to a primary MOS due to declining enrollment.

Qualifying as a Marine Corps Scout Sniper

Marines in MOS 0317 must already be qualified in Marine Infantry or Marine RECON units, trained to use precision rifle fire at selected targets from a concealed position. These actions are typically accomplished in any environment and long range with little support from other Marine or military assets.

In support of combat operations, scout snipers are highly regarded in times of war, as they are skilled in enemy surveillance, stealth and concealment, and marksmanship. Snipers can be easily deployed in urban population centers and effectively engage individual targets without collateral damage to civilian lives or property. 

Marine Sniper Platoons

A Marine scout sniper platoon consists of eight to 10 scout sniper teams and reports directly to the battalion commander. This platoon of marines may provide support to maneuver units or may operate independently. Scout snipers are tasked with the main mission of providing surveillance operations in order to gain intelligence on the enemy and the terrain.

Scout Snipers include:

  • Spotters, who detect, observe and confirm sniper targets. They are also tasked with calculating the range and wind conditions on a given target and conducting reconnaissance and surveillance missions.
  • Snipers, who deliver long-range precision fires on selected targets. They also conduct reconnaissance missions and enemy and terrain surveillance.

Secondary Mission of Marine Scout Snipers

Scout snipers also gather information for intelligence purposes. They participate in activities designed to deny the enemy freedom of movement by targeting enemy leaders, weapons operators, radiomen, observers, messengers, and other key personnel.

Scout snipers targets may include command and control equipment, light armored vehicles, air defense radar, and missile launchers that require precision rifle fire to neutralize. These Marines also conduct close reconnaissance and surveillance operations for the infantry battalion in support of the intelligence section.

Training for Marine Scout Snipers

While specific requirements vary by battalion, infantrymen who qualify to be trained as scout snipers may be selected after passing their USMC physical fitness and combat fitness training. These Marines must first serve for a time in the battalion scout-sniper platoon, and a Marine may be sent to the formal scout sniper course to earn the official scout sniper MOS.

To be selected by a battalion to join the scout sniper platoon, a Marine must earn the rank of Lance Corporal and complete the 79-day scout sniper course at Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia. The course includes how to care for gear, field craft, stealth, concealment, and shooting accuracy. 

Job Requirements for Marine Scout Snipers

To qualify for this job, Marines need a score of 100 or higher on the general technical (GT) segment of the Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery (ASVAB) tests and be qualified as an expert rifleman.

In addition, you'll need vision correctable to 20/20 in both eyes to serve as a Marine scout sniper, and be eligible for a secret security clearance from the Department of Defense. The clearance process includes a background check of your character and finances, and a history of drug use or alcohol abuse may be disqualifying. Scout snipers should have no history of mental illness.