Coding, a step toward readiness

21 Jul 2021 | II MEF Information Group III MEF Information Group

U.S. MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (July 12, 2021) – Coding and programming has always been a passion for U.S. Marine Corps Chief Warrant Officer 3 James Muldrow. His love for coding goes back to before he became a United States Marine.

Muldrow joined the Marine Corps to become a programmer, but when his desired field was phased out, he was discouraged. However, because he enjoyed computers and programming he became a network administrator.

Muldrow, a defensive cyber weapons officer with 8th Communication Battalion, at Camp Lejeune, N.C., is invested and passionate about coding itself, and seeks to expand the coding community within the Marine Corps. Now he has the ability to share his skills and knowledge to further develop the organization.

Muldrow predicts coding will have a monumental impact on the effectiveness of the Marine Corps at both the individual and logistical level. “I believe that having Marines with this type of ability and knowledge gained from programming will increase the Corps’ efficiency all around,” said Muldrow.

His experience with coding has influenced his outlook on everyday problems. “When I approach problems in life, I look at them programmatically,” said Muldrow. “That's one of my favorite things about programming, it helps you think logically about problems that you incur on a daily basis.”

With all of the advantages that he’s experienced with coding, he dreams of official military instruction being implemented into Marine training.

“In the future, I see us actually creating a training pipeline, that we can push students through, for formalized training that will give them the knowledge they need to be successful,” Muldrow said. “I want to see a training pipeline that allows them to turn an idea into a concept in a matter of minutes.”

One way Muldrow has taken initiative in spreading the benefits of coding is facilitating the Codesmiths, an extracurricular club in which Marines of any occupational specialty and any rank may participate to learn and practice coding.

With the growing number of Marine programmers, Muldrow envisions what the Marine Corps will look like and explains how regularly exercising their critical thinking skills will produce a more competent fighting force.

“The environment we live in now requires the ability to think on your feet, solve problems, and rapidly come to a conclusion without hesitation,” Muldrow said. “That's what learning how to program gives you. It sharpens your mental capacity and your ability to think on your feet.”

Muldrow proposes that coding and programming become a military occupational specialty (MOS) for Marines. To him, having Marines who know how to code and program is invaluable.

“Coding should be an MOS because we’d be able to start leveraging those Marines instead of outsourcing,” said Muldrow. “We can build those products and services ourselves, in-house, if we train those Marines appropriately. The products would be more tailored and geared toward Marines because they’d be for Marines by Marines. The results should be phenomenal.”