The U.S. Marine Corps will open its Infantry Officer Course to more female officers starting in October.
The IOC will no longer be limited to entry-level officers, as “company-grade officers — lieutenants and captains — who have already served in another primary occupation” will also have the opportunity to partake, according to the Marine Corps Times.
The move, announced Thursday in a Marine administrative message, is designed to pull more volunteers through the course as part of the Corps’ ongoing study of the possibility of opening more ground combat jobs to women. Marine officials said one goal of the three-year experiment was to have nearly 100 female officers attempt IOC after the nine-month entry-level officer training at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va.; but with a little more than a year to go until the study’s conclusion, only 20 female second lieutenants have attempted the course, and none have passed.
“We started having a couple of female Marines coming to us and saying, ‘Hey, I want an opportunity to participate in that research. I want to be part of history as well,'” Col. Anne Weinberg, deputy director of the Marine Corps Force Innovation Office, told the Marine Corps Times. “We conferred with the commandant and Training and Education Command and they agreed that it would be appropriate and also be a great opportunity to get more data points.”