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  • USMC releases new Operating Concepts

    Here's the new Marine Corps Operating Concepts - Assuring Littoral Access ... Winning Small Wars.

    Lots of very interesting information in the 165 page document. Here's a bit from the Overview:

    USMC’s Role in Implementing Our National Security Policy

    The Marine Corps has long provided the Nation with a force adept at rapidly and effectively solving complex, multifaceted, and seemingly intractable security challenges—so much so that “Send in the Marines” connotes both a demand for action and a presumption of success. While the general public may not be conversant with what exactly the Marine Corps is or does, our fellow citizens display an intuitive understanding that in times of trouble the Marines stand ready to do whatever has to be done. In recent years, their confidence has been reinforced by the performance of Marines in toppling the regime in Iraq, eradicating the ensuing endemic violence within that country’s al Anbar Province, and in numerous humanitarian assistance operations worldwide. This flexibility and dependability has been captured in the expression, “No better friend, no worse enemy.” While Marine Corps forces may perform a variety of missions across the range of military operations, two stand at the forefront of what we do.

    First, as part of the naval team we assure littoral access by bridging the difficult seam between operations at sea and on land. This is accomplished through a combination of activities ranging from military engagement, crisis response, and power projection (both soft and hard). This capability contributes to overcoming diplomatic, geographic and military challenges to access and assists the Nation in it strategic objectives of preventing conflict, protecting national interests, assuring access to engage partners and to defeat aggression when necessary.

    Second, we fight what have historically been called "small wars," operations that require a high degree of adaptability along with versatile, comprehensive skills. We have a long track record of success in solving; spanning recently from Al Anbar province, to the Barbary Wars and suppression of the slave trade in the early 19th century. These are complex problems in which purely military solutions will not suffice—because the fundamental causes of the conflict are often a complicated combination of security, economic, political and social issues.

    What assured littoral access and “small wars” have in common is that they require forces that are strategically mobile, operationally flexible, and tactically proficient. These three defining traits allow the Marine Corps to meet this standard: our naval character, our high state of mental and material readiness, and an exceptional degree of military professionalism. These capabilities and traits ensure that the Marine Corps can effectively support joint force actions to “prevail in today’s wars; … prevent and deter threats against the United States, its interests, and our allies and partners; and prepare to defend the United States in a wide range of contingencies against state and non-state actors.”1
    and from Chapter 2:

    Defining Mission Command

    MCDP-1 Warfighting describes the Marine Corps philosophy of command. Key ideas include: decentralized decision making to accelerate tempo and gain initiative, mission tactics, a human approach centered on exploiting “human traits such as boldness, initiative, personality, strength of will and imagination,” implicit communications through mutual understanding, shared philosophy and experience, commanders forward—especially at the point of decision, shared danger and privation, professional trust, familiar relationships and the ability to thrive in an environment of chaos, uncertainty and friction. The term Mission Command is meant to encompass this broad description, but ultimately we will be pressed for a definition that succinctly captures the essential purpose of mission command, even if in being concise it omits a more holistic description.

    Incorporating new ideas from the emerging field of operational design, the evolving Army definition of Mission Command reflects the emphasis the Army Capstone Concept places on decentralized operations and adaptability. “The art and science of integrating the warfighting functions and synchronizing forces to understand, visualize, design, describe, lead, assess, and adapt decentralized operations to accomplish the mission within the broad purpose of higher commanders’ intent. Mission Command includes empowering the lowest possible echelon with the combined arms capabilities, competency, and authority to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative.”

    Attempting to more closely integrate Mission Command philosophy into service ethos, stress the predatory nature of entrepreneurship in combat and identify the importance of cohesion, the evolving Marine Corps definition of Mission Command is crafted in accord with maneuverist thought.

    Mission Command is the leadership philosophy that compliments and supports the maneuver warfare philosophy of the Marine Corps. Rooted in service culture and fundamental to our warrior spirit, Mission Command is a cultivated leadership ethos that empowers decentralized leaders with decision authority and guides the character development of Marines in garrison and combat. Mission Command promotes an entrepreneurial mindset and enables the strong relationships of trust and mutual understanding necessary for decentralized decision making and the tempo of operations required to seize the initiative, degrade enemy cohesion and strengthen our own cohesive relationships in the crucible of combat.


    These definitions all illuminate the evolving idea of Mission Command and contribute to a growing joint understanding of how command philosophy influences decision makers to achieve advantage and accomplish mission objectives.
    And from the Conclusion:

    Conclusion

    The security of the United States is intrinsically linked to that of the broader international community. NDS 2008 states “the best way to achieve security is to prevent war when possible and to encourage peaceful change within the international system” emphasizing “building the capacities of a broad spectrum of partners for long-term security.” As the Nation’s naval expeditionary, force-in-readiness, the Marine Corps has throughout its history routinely innovated to protect and promote our national interests. In an era of increasing global interconnectedness the Marine Corps is once again building upon its legacy of adaptability to enhance its operational utility. Furthermore, increased security cooperation may also provide opportunity to enhance access. Such operations build relations with partners and may help shape the operating area by alleviating the sources of discontent that may breed extremism. This is especially beneficial when forward postured naval forces are tasked to respond to crisis as discussed in the following chapter. To that end, Marines will remain general purpose forces that fight and win our Nation’s battles while increasing its means to work with foreign civil authorities and militaries to improve interoperability and build partner capability and capacity.

  • #2
    Thanks Ibis. I will read this at liesure.

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