High demand for tactical air controllers is outpacing the Corps’ fixed wing capacity to support training requirements, according to the Corps’ recent aviation plan.
To plug the gap, the Corps is looking at a couple of options to include expanding contracted air services and professionalizing the joint terminal attack controller, or JTAC, by creating a primary military occupational specialty, or MOS, according to Capt. Karoline Foote, a Marine spokeswoman.
The 8002 JTAC field is currently an exception MOS, meaning it’s an additional skill set that may require a Marine to hail from a particular job field before earning the occupation. Turning the JTAC field into a primary occupation could expand the pool of potential candidates, and increase incentives and funding for the occupation.
In April, the Defense Department announced it may award contracts worth more than $124 million through 2024 to several contract aviation companies to provide adversarial and offensive close air support for the Navy and Marines, which will sharpen pilot skills and help certify tactical air controllers.