Recently, the 35th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General James F. Amos, issued his “Commandant’s Planning Guidance” . In the guidance the Commandant envisions a globalized world, with a youthful demographic, pressured by a lack of education and opportunity. The continued competition for scarce natural resources – fossil fuel, food and water - and the rise of new powers and shifting relationships will create the future security environment. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates described the resulting hybrid warfare as the “lethality of state conflict with the fanatical and protracted fervor of irregular warfare, where Microsoft coexists with machetes, and stealth is met by suicide bombers.”
The Commandant sees this world as requiring the expeditionary capabilities that only the Marines can provide. For the Corps, “Expeditionary” is more about a state of mind than just a capability and one senses that Marines feel they have sacrificed this in 8 years of continuous conflict. The Commandant seeks to re-invigorate this capability, this mindset, so that the Corps can continue to be the inherently agile force that can buy time for the Nation to react. He wants a Marine Corps that is “a multi-capable, combined arms force, comfortable operating at the high and low ends of the threat spectrum, or in the shaded areas where they overlap”. He wants a Marine Corps that can stand at that proverbial door and (in my favorite excerpt) “we possess the finesse, the training and the tools to knock at the door diplomatically, pick the lock skillfully, or kick it in violently”.
- We will continue to provide the best trained and equipped Marine units to Afghanistan. This will not change. This remains our top priority!
- We will rebalance our Corps, posture it for the future and aggressively experiment with and implement new capabilities and organizations.
- We will better educate and train our Marines to succeed in distributed operations and increasingly complex environments.
- We will keep faith with our Marines, our Sailors and our families.
Good on the USMC for this definitive guidance. It has a requirement to resource and a suspense date. Now that is leadership you can believe in. If they make the plan public, we will have comments on the 19th.
Thanks to Mike Aimone for the tip.