Although the Marines' Pentagon spokesman, Capt. Gregory Wolff, said the service anticipates it will be able to train 1,000 additional embassy security guards requested by Congress to protect diplomatic facilities around the world, retired Master Sgt. Andrew Rufalo, author of a book about the Embassy Security Group, said filling manpower quotas has been a challenge even when the U.S. State Department capped the number of Marine security guards at lower levels.
"When you look at the quality of troops you need.... usually they're the better Marines, so commanders don't want to let them go to that duty," Rufalo said.
He said 25 percent of those enrolled in the seven-week Marine Security Guard School training program at Quantico, Va., fail to complete the program.
"You have a high attrition rate because the standards are high," he said.
The Marine Corps Security Force Regiment, which trains anti-terrorism teams in Norfolk, Va., has only a 3 percent non-completion rate, a Marine official said.
Approximately 1,200 Marine security guards are posted in 130 countries, the Marine Corps Times reported Tuesday.