MARINE CORPS SAYS FLEXIBLE, EXPEDITIONARY QUALITIES
ARE ‘ESPECIALLY RELEVANT’ FOR FUTURE OPERATIONS
By OTTO KREISHER, Special Correspondent
Confronted by the prospect of leaner defense budgets and an apparent threat to
what it considers its fundamental
military character, the Marine
Corps has published an extensive
document seeking to show that its
traditional sea-based, flexible force
is exactly what the nation will need
for the complex and uncertain security challenges after Afghanistan.
The 155-page document, called
the “Marine Corps Operating
Concepts” (MOC), tries to address
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates’
challenge to the next commandant to
show what would make the Corps “unique,” and Gates’
strong doubts about the value of amphibious capabilities.
The document, released June 29, claims that while
the Army, Navy and Air Force each dominate a single
geographic “domain,” the Marine Corps is not tied to
one domain. Deploying at sea with its standard com-
bined arms organization, the Marine Air-Ground Task
Force (MAGTF), “it can operate in all, but cannot
dominate any,” the concept said, thus it spans the
seams between the domains “that always confront a
maritime nation with global interests.”
Lt. Gen. George J. Flynn, commander of the Marine
Corps Combat Development Command, which pro-
duced the MOC, said the Marines agree with Gates that
the future security environment “is going to be very
complex and uncertain. That condition requires a
number of tools in the joint tool kit.”
As a “multi-domain force,” the Corps’ contribution
to the joint tool kit primarily is as a “sea-based, crisis-
Argument for Amphibious Operations
The “Marine Corps Operating Concepts” (MOC) document argues
that the nation will need the service’s unique qualities for the complex
security challenges after Afghanistan.
■ The Corps’ contribution to the joint tool kit is primarily as a “
sea-based, crisis-response force.”
■ The MOC argues for amphibious assault capabilities as a tool to
ensure U.S. forces can project power into a crisis area.
■ U.S. naval forces have conducted 107 amphibious operations
response force that is, in many ways, the 9-1-1 force,
that is expeditionary and always ready to respond to
anything from humanitarian assistance and disaster
relief, to the need to evacuate citizens around the
world, to the need, if required, to project power,”
Flynn said in an interview in his Quantico, Va., office.
Without mentioning the secretary, the MOC also
addresses Gates’ questioning of the need to conduct
amphibious operations. It embraces the “soldiers from
the sea” tradition that is central to the Marines’ ethos,
but emphasizes that the Corps is not planning to
repeat its legendary bloody amphibious landings of
World War II.
Only in the 1942-45 era was the Corps “organized,
trained and equipped for that one mission.
Amphibious operations of all types remain a Marine
Corps forte, but not exclusively so,” the MOC says.
The document notes that U.S. naval forces conducted
107 amphibious operations since 1990, including many,
FROM THE SEA’
U.S. Marine 1st Lt. Frederick Monday, attached to Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force 24, rides aboard an
Amphibious Assault Vehicle at Salinas Beach, Peru, July 14 during Amphibious-Southern Partnership Station 2010.
SEAPOWER / SEPTEMBER 2010