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Marine Corps Embassy Security Group


Marine Corps Embassy Security Group

"In Every Clime and Place"

Quantico, VA
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Frequently Asked Questions


How do I get orders to MSG School? The first step towards MSG School is through your unit’s Career Planner/Career Retention Specialist (CRS). Inform your CRS that you would like to start your package for MSG School. For specific questions, contact the MSG Recruiting & Screening Team @ 703-432-2701 or MSGInfo@state.gov.


How long do I have to be on station before I can apply to MSG duty? Sergeants and below are required to have 18 months Time on Station (TOS), and SNCOs are required to have 24 months TOS before reporting to MSG School.  BUT, you can submit your application at any time and you will receive orders for after your required TOS.  In addition, your primary MOS monitor may waive the TOS requirement.


What are the rank requirements for MSG duty? Marines with the rank of LCpl – Sgt may apply to be a watchstander. SSgt – MGySgt may apply to be a Detachment Commander. SSgts must have at least one year Time in Grade. MGySgts must be within Time in Service limits.


I have dependents, can I do MSG duty? YES, but there are stipulations. Sergeants and below can have dependents and still do MSG duty; however, the Marine must not be married and cannot have sole custody of their children. Sergeants and below who have a dependent must have a Parental Plan that is notarized by all parties stating that the dependent will not accompany you on your MSG tour and identify who will be the primary and secondary care giver during that time. This must be completed before submitting your MSG application and please contact the MSG Screening Team for the format or any questions or concerns. SNCO’s may have up to four dependents (three children and one spouse) and none of them may be enrolled in EFMP.  If the SNCO has a fifth dependent that is not living with him/her, they must prepare a Parental Plan in the same manner above. 


Do I need a TOP SECRET clearance to apply for MSG duty? NO. You do not need to have a TOP SECRET clearance to apply for MSG. At a minimum, an adjudicated Secret clearance is required before applying for the MSG Program. You will need to have a Clearance Eligibility Certification letter from your unit security manager and include it into your application.


I heard MSG School is a “P.T. Academy,” do I need a 1st class PFT in order to do MSG Duty? No, MSG School is not a “P.T. Academy. You will need to be able to run a 1st Class PFT / CFT in order to attend MSG school.


I'm thinking about getting some sort of law enforcement job after the Marine Corps. Will MSG duty help prepare me for this type of employment? YES. MSG School itself is very highly respected by law enforcement agencies. The skills acquired during MSG school are much the same as those sought after by law enforcement agencies. MSGs will work side by side with numerous federal agencies and the experience they gain while at post will help separate themselves from other applicants.


I want orders to MSG school but my command won't let me go. They say I'm too valuable. Is there anything I can do? YES. Your command should not deny your request to do MSG duty, they simply make a recommendation. They still have to submit your package through your Career Retention Specialist. HQMC has the final say as to whether you will receive orders or not. If someone in your command refuses to let you submit a package, make sure you get it in writing.


When I was younger I got into some trouble with the police. Can I still come to MSG school? That depends on the severity of your charges. Many Marines have had a few lapses in judgment prior to joining the Marine Corps. Some incidents can be waived others may not be serious enough to stop a Marine from coming to MSG school. If you have any doubt, go ahead and start your package. The MSG screening team will determine your eligibility at the time of the Phase II interview. Drug waivers do not disqualify Marines for MSG duty.


What is the toughest part of MSG School? MSG school brings many challenges. Students will be challenged both mentally and physically throughout the duration of the course. Although there is no one piece of MSG school that stands out as the toughest, many Marines have minor problems with managing their time during MSG school. During MSG school you will be expected to learn a large amount of information in a short period of time. That being said, MSG students will be afforded every opportunity to study, retain, and conquer the material covered during school. The instructors here at MSG school are dedicated to giving MSG students ample opportunity to pass the course. However, no one will be dragged or slid through the course. Again, attitude is everything; if you want to pass and commit yourself, you will pass.


What uniforms should I bring to MSG school? MSG Students are required to report with their entire minimum uniform requirement. Your minimum uniform issue is everything that was given to you in boot camp, which includes that all-weather coat, woolie-pullie and track suit. You will be required to stand a JOB uniform inspection during school so ensure all your uniforms serviceable and properly marked. For further information refer to the following references: (A) MCO P1020.34G_ (B) MCO 1326.6D_ (C) MCBUL 10120


Will there be someone at the airport to meet me? How should I get to Quantico? No, there will not be anyone at the airport to meet you. All Marines are advised to take a taxicab to 27276 Garand Road, Marine Corps Base Quantico. Receipts should be kept to be used for travel claims. Transportation costs will be reimbursed upon completion of travel claim. Please review the Reporting In page on this website for detailed instructions and maps.


Do I need to report in Alpha's? NO.  On the designated check-in day, you may arrive in civilian attire.  You will meet with the duty, he/she will give you a room, then you must change into your Service Alphas and attend one of the scheduled check-in times. Please review the Reporting In page on this website for detailed instructions. 


I have a few tattoos can I still go to MSG School? YES. Having a tattoo, or several, does not immediately disqualify one for MSG duty. However, they must be within Marine Corps regulations, tattoos must be in good taste and non-offensive in nature. The RAST will screen EVERY tattoo for content. Some tattoos may not be deemed offensive in nature per Marine Corps regulations, but could be seen as offensive in a foreign diplomatic setting. All tattoos will be approved on a case-by-case basis by the MSG School. (A) MCO P1020.34G (B) MARADMIN 198-07 (C) McBul 1020


I received NJP when during this enlistment; can I still receive orders to MSG School? YES. As long as it has been at least one year since your last NJP or 6105, you are eligible to submit a package for MSG duty. SNCO’s who have received an NJP while in their current grade will be forwarded to the MCESG command for review on a case-by-case basis.


My GT is an 85; can I still get orders to MSG School? NO. The minimum requirement for the MSG program is 90 for Sgt’s and below and 100 for SNCO’s. Marines with scores lower than 90 or 100, respectfully, are required to re-take the ASVAB and earn a higher GT score. This requirement cannot be waived.


Do I have to be a US Citizen before receiving orders to MSG school? YES. In order to obtain a TOP SECRET Clearance, one must be a U.S. citizen. Marines may be screened for MSG Duty after they have obtained US citizenship, no sooner.


Can I have a dual citizenship? NO. In order to obtain a TOP SECRET clearance, one cannot hold dual citizenship, but must be a citizen of the U.S. only. Marines holding dual citizenship may be screened by a member of RAST and found qualified for MSG, but will be required to renounce their citizenship to their country of origin while at MSG School.


My spouse is not a US Citizen, can I receive orders? NO. All spouses must be U.S. Citizens. Dependents may hold dual citizenship.


I am only 62 inches tall do I need a waiver? YES.  The waiver is handled by MMEA-25.  You must submit your application before any waiver can be reviewed.  If you are highly recommended and meet the other prerequisites, your waiver will requested by MMEA-25.


Do MSGs go to two or three posts? How many posts do Detachment Commanders go to? All MSGs will serve three twelve month posts. Detachment Commanders serve two eighteen month posts.


I bounced a check when I was younger does this disqualify me? NO. Although all MSG students will have their personal and financial backgrounds thoroughly screened to ensure each student is financially responsible and mature, the bouncing of one check will not disqualify one from receiving orders to MSG School.


What should I do about TMO before coming to MSG School? All single SNCO's and E-5's and below report to MSG School on PCS orders and should therefore process TMO prior to departing their present permanent duty stations. TMO will place the house hold goods/unaccompanied baggage (HHG/UAB) into non-temporary storage (NTS) or long term storage at or near the location the Marine is relocating from. In the event a Marine will be departing an overseas location the shipment will be stored in California. MSG is weight restricted; therefore Marines are not allowed to ship their full JFTR weight allowance. Upon completion of MSG School E-5's and below will go directly to post and not be forwarded the opportunity to return to previous duty station for any administrative purposes. Furthermore it is advised that Marines keep an accurate inventory of all items that are put into non-temp storage. You must bring your inventory sheets to the MSG School.  After graduation the Marines will be allowed to use their inventory sheet to request a partial release of their personal belongings to be shipped to their Post.


SNCOs report to MSG School on TAD orders, and WILL have time to return to their command after graduation and handle TMO at that time.


I already have PCS orders to another unit, change them to MSG School? Depending on several factors, including your primary MOS, there is a possibility that your orders can be changed. For specific information regarding existing orders, contact the MSG Monitor via your command Career Retention Specialist.


Information and Frequently Asked Questions about the Marine Security Guard Security Augmentation Unit (MSAU)


MSAU came into existence after the attacks upon US diplomatic facilities in Benghazi, Libya. It was decided that a quick reaction force was needed to augment embassies around the world at a moment’s notice. This happened when President Obama authorized an additional 1,000 MSGs at embassies around the world with the 2013 Defense Authorization Act.


MSAU’s Primary Mission: Provide random/periodic augmentation to MSG Detachments (pre-crises) and during periods of increased threat. Be prepared to temporarily provide internal security at overseas U.S. diplomatic facilities that are without MSG detachments.

MSAU’s Secondary Mission:   Provide security of classified material during  POTUS, VPOTUS, and SECSTATE overseas visits at locations other than the chancery when the situation calls for more MSGs than the on-site detachment can provide.



MSAU is stationed on MCB Quantico, VA.



Deployment length all depends on why the squad is being deployed, but the average length is 45-60 days.



MSAU focuses on pre-crises response to situations and threats, while FAST focuses on post-crises response to threats and attacks. MSAU can deploy faster to possible threats/attacks in cities where our diplomatic facilities are located.




Unfortunately, this was cancelled. This is still under review and may come back in the future. 


CAN I SUBMIT FOR MSAU? No, however, you can come on the program as a watchstander and request to be put on MSAU.


If you have any more questions or inquiries about MSAU or the MSG program, feel free to email us at MSGInfo@state.gov