Military Occupational Specialty

A Military Occupational Specialty (MOS) is a job classification in use in the United States Army and Marine Corps. The occupational specialty system uses a system of letters and numbers to identify general and specific jobs of military personnel. Different branches of the military use different alphanumeric systems, but all differentiate between comparative military ranks (enlisted personnel), warrant officers, and commissioned officers.

In the U.S. Air Force, a system of Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSC) is used. In the Navy, a system of naval ratings and designators is used along with Navy Enlisted Classification (NEC) system.

U.S. Army MOS

Main article: List of United States Army MOS

Army enlisted personnel

The MOS code (MOSC), consisting of nine characters, provides more defined information than a soldier's MOS. It is used in automated management systems and reports. The MOSC is used in active and reserve records, reports, authorization documents, and other personnel management systems.

The elements of the MOSC are as follows:

  • First three characters: The MOS. The first two characters are always a number, the third character is always a letter. The two-digit number is usually (but not always) synonymous with the Career Management Field (CMF). For example, CMF 11 covers infantry, so MOS 11B is "Rifle Infantryman". Among the letters, "Z" is reserved for "Senior Sergeant" (E-8), such that 11Z is "Infantry Senior Sergeant".
  • The fourth character of the MOSC represents skill level (commensurate with rank and grade):
  • Fifth character: A letter or number and a special qualification identifier (SQI). It may be associated with any MOS unless otherwise specified. Soldiers without any special SQI are assigned the SQI "O" (oscar), often confused as a zero.
  • Sixth and seventh characters: An additional skill identifier (ASI). They are an alphanumeric combination and may only be associated with specified MOSs, although in practice some ASIs are available to every MOS (i.e. ASI P5 for "master fitness trainer"). Soldiers without any ASIs are assigned the default ASI "YY" (yankee-yankee).
  • Eighth and ninth characters: Two-letter requirements and qualifications which are a language skill identifier (LSI). Soldiers without a language skill are assigned the default LSI "ZZ" (zulu-zulu). LSI codes can be found in AR 611-6.

For Example, 87SSDG would belong to the 87th Space Expeditionary Force.

MOSC for E-8 and above

When an enlisted soldier is promoted from Sergeant First Class to Master Sergeant in most career fields, that soldier will be administratively reclassified to the "Senior Sergeant" of their Career Management Field. For example, a combat engineer (MOS 21B, part of CMF 21) is promoted from Sergeant First Class to Master Sergeant. That soldier is administratively reclassified from MOS 21B to MOS 21Z "Engineer Senior Sergeant"). An example of when this conversion occurs at the MSG to SGM level is the 68 (formerly the 91) CMF. In this case, the Soldier becomes a 68Z at the SGM level, not the MSG level.
When promoted from Master Sergeant or First Sergeant or Sergeant Major to Command Sergeant Major, that soldier will be administratively reclassified from their previous "Senior Sergeant" MOS to the MOS 00Z (zero-zero-zulu), "Sergeant Major". This reclassification occurs irrespective of the soldier's original MOS.

Army Warrant Officers

Warrant officers are sometimes specialized technicians and systems managers, and were originally not assigned to traditional arms or services of the Army. Approximately 50% of warrant officers are rotary wing aviators (helicopter pilots), and can be appointed directly from civilian applicants or within the service, regardless of previous enlisted MOS. The remaining 50% are technicians appointed from experienced enlisted soldiers and NCOs in a "feeder" MOS directly related to the warrant officer MOS.

In 2004, all Army warrant officers began wearing the insignia of their specialty's proponent branch rather than the 83-year old "Eagle Rising" distinctive warrant officer insignia. The following year a revision of DA Pam 600-3 Commissioned Officer Professional Development And Career Management integrated Warrant Officer Career Development with the Officer Career Development model. In practice, warrant officer MOSC are very similar to enlisted codes except they begin with ''three'' digits instead of two before the first letter, and do not have a "skill level" identifier. They are then followed by the SQI, ASI, and SLI as an enlisted MOS would.

Army commissioned officers

Commissioned officer's occupational codes are structured a bit differently. A newly commissioned Army officer first receives his or her "career branch". This is similar to the career management field of the enlisted personnel. Career branch numbers range from 11 to 92. For example: 11 for Infantry, 19 for Armor/Armored Cavalry and 92 for Quartermaster. Within each occupational field, there are usually several codes available. Within Armor (Branch 19) there are 3 specialties available: 19A (Armor, General), 19B (Armor), and 19C (Cavalry). After an officer's fifth or sixth year of service, he or she may receive a "functional area" designation. More broad than a career branch, this is a general skill set that the officer is proficient in. For example, an artillery officer who has had schooling in communications and public speaking could end up with a functional area in public affairs (FA46).

Marine Corps MOS

The U.S. Marine Corps begins by separating all jobs into "occupational fields" (OccFld), in which no distinction is made between officers and enlisted Marines. The fields are numbered from 01 to 99 and include general categories (Infantry, Logistics, Public Affairs, Ordnance, etc.) that specific jobs fall under.

Each field contains multiple MOS's, each designated by a four-digit numerical indicator and a job title. For example, the infantry field (03) has seven enlisted classifications: Rifleman (MOS 0311), Light Armored Vehicle Crewman (MOS 0313), Reconnaissance Man (MOS 0321), Machine Gunner (MOS 0331), Mortarman (MOS 0341), Assaultman (MOS 0351), Antitank Assault Guided Missileman (MOS 0352), and Infantry Unit Leader (MOS 0369).

Each of the jobs have authorized ranks associated with them. For example, anyone ranking from Private to Sergeant can be a Rifleman (0311), but only Marines ranking from Staff Sergeant to Master Gunnery Sergeant can be an Infantry Unit Leader (0369).

Duties and tasks are identified by rank because the Marine Corps MOS system is designed around the belief that increased duties and tasks accompany promotions. The first two digits designate the field and, the last two digits identify the promotional channel and specialty. For example, the MOS 0311 indicates that it is in Occupational Field 03 (Infantry) and designates the "Rifleman" (11) MOS. For warrant officers, the MOS 2305 indicates that it is in Occupational Field 23 (Ammunition and Explosive Ordnance Disposal) and designates the "Explosive Ordnance Disposal Officer" (05) MOS. For officers, the MOS 0802 indicates that it is in Occupational Field 08 (Field Artillery) and designates the "Field Artillery Officer" (02) MOS.

Navy Occupational Specialties

The U.S. Navy divides their occupational specialties into ''ratings'' for enlisted personnel and ''designators'' for officers.

Enlisted Personnel Ratings

The U.S. Navy indicates its "Ratings" by a two or three character code based on the actual name of the rating. These range from ABE (Aviation Boatswain's Mate - Equipment) to YN (Yeoman). Each Sailor and Chief Petty Officer wears a rating badge indicating their rating as part of their rate (rank) insignia on full dress and service dress uniforms. The U.S. Coast Guard uses an enlisted rating system nearly identical to the Navy's. For additional information, please see the List of United States Navy ratings.

Commissioned Officer Designators

Officers in the Navy have a designator. It is similar to an MOS but is less complicated and has fewer categories. For example a Surface Warfare Officer with a regular commission has a designator of 1110; a reserve officer would have an 1115 designator. A reserve surface warfare officer specializing in Nuclear training (i.e.: Engineer on a carrier) would have a designator of 1165N. Navy officers also have one or more 3-character Additional Qualification Designators (AQD) that reflect completion of requirements qualifying them in a specific warfare area or other specialization; in some senses this functions more like the MOS in other services. An officer with the Naval Aviator designator of 1310 might have an AQD of DV3, SH-60F carrier anti-submarine warfare helicopter pilot, or DB4, F-14 fighter pilot. An officer designated 2100, Medical Corps Officer (physician) may hold an AQD of 6CM, Trauma Surgeon, or 6AE, Flight Surgeon who is also a Naval Aviator. Some AQDs may be held by officers in any designator, such as BT2, Freefall Parachutist, or BS1, Shipboard Tomahawk Strike Officer. Navy officer designators and AQD codes may be found in NAVPERS 15839I, The Manual of Navy Officer Manpower and Personnel Classification.

See also

External links

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