U.S. Marine Corps officers who once attended the Fort Leonard Wood U.S. Army Military Police basic officer leader course now attend a branch-specific training course.

Marine officers, regardless of what job they ultimately perform, attend a separate officer training known as The Basic Course, a six-month course that trains them on how to be Marine officers.

U.S. Marine Capt. Daniel Burton, officer in charge for the military police officer basic course, said the Fort Leonard Wood course prepares new Marine officers for duty as company-grade officers within the operating forces and has a particular emphasis on the duties, responsibilities and war fighting skills. The officers complete TBC prior to attending MPOBC.

The first Marine MPOBC began at the end of August.

"Annually, there will be about 35 to 40 per year who will come through the course. We're much smaller than the Army," Burton said. "We'll do three classes a year to the Army's MP BOLC of about 12 classes a year."

Burton said "the stars have kind of aligned now with the personnel we have in place" who were able to support the required manpower for the development of this course.

"The senior MPs at Headquarters Marine Corps had desired to have a better solution for Marine MP officers," said Marine Maj. Mark Bailey, director U.S. Marine Corps MP School. "So a thorough analysis was conducted, which showed the gaps, and we worked to close those gaps with our curriculum development."

The Marines were committed to this change, even in a time of fiscal limits.

"This is something the Marines have wanted to do forever, and it really came down to manpower. Surprisingly, during downsizing, we were able to plan, and that goes back to the people in the higher positions," Burton acknowledged. "We couldn't create structure or increase manpower, so we had to take it from the operating forces. We took from the garrison commands who were willing to give up the personnel, so we could have instructors for MPOBC."

Newly trained Marine lieutenants are expected to be "on the job day one," Bailey said.

"U.S. Army MP School has been very supportive and understands that Marine lieutenants routinely will immediately be assigned after military occupational specialty school to garrison law enforcement duties," Bailey said. "They will essentially be supervising Marine and civilian police in the daily conduct of their duties. Army lieutenants don't typically go right from MOS school to law enforcement. We designed a course that meets our requirements."

In the new curriculum, MPOBC officers get to interact with enlisted Marines during their MP MOS training.

"The lieutenants are not conducting the same training as the enlisted Marines are conducting, but where their leadership and managerial roles cross with the training they have the opportunity, in a controlled environment, to lead Marines in practical exercises," Bailey said. "This allows us to test the officers on the things we have taught them in the course."

Bailey explained that "effectively they are leading Marines before they get to their duty station," and he thinks that is really important.

"In Army BOLC we trained with our peers," said Bailey, who attended the joint service course earlier in his career. "Then you were leading your peers. That's great, but the human factor is much different with young Marines than it is with your officer peers."

This class is slated to graduate early next year.

"We do surveys for each portion of class, so we can improve the next one," Burton said.