Future policies will shift from “preparedness for the
next deployment” to emphasize “consistency of lead-
ership, personnel stability and sustained readiness in
The commandant also notes “many of our units are
experiencing significant gaps” in the numbers and qual-
ifications of unit leaders, noting specifically that the
availability of noncommissioned officers [NCOs] and
staff NCOs “is not meeting our force structure require-
ments and this shortfall must be addressed.”
That will be done by “revamping our current man-
power management and readiness reporting models,
systems and processes,” he says.
The commandant acknowledges that closing the
NCO gaps and enhancing cohesion “will require making tough choices. … We will make the hard calls and
embrace change to our long-standing manpower and
force structure policies and practices.
“In this, and in all other areas, we will emphasize
quality and capability, where necessary, accept risk in
capacity,” by only manning force structure for which
they can provide “proper leadership,” he writes.
That will enable the Corps to “develop true cohe-
sion, enhance esprit de corps and better balance readi-
ness between deployed, next-to-deploy and non-
Dunford stresses in his guidance the abiding princi-
ple that the Corps’ combat capability is based on its
Marines, rather than on weapons and equipment.
“Marines are the foundation of the Marine Corps
and the MAGTF,” he says. “The term Marine is synony-
mous with young men and women who are disci-
plined, smart, physically and mentally tough and who
remain always faithful to each other and our Corps.”
Achieving that begins with recruiting young men
and women “who possess the character, mental apti-
tude, physical and psychological fitness and desire to
earn the title Marine,” he said. Although recruiters
have been meeting all expectations, “there is always
room for improvement in our screening processes.”
He proposes enhanced psychological screening of
potential recruits and those in training, using practices fol-
lowed by law enforcement and Special Operations Forces,
“to better predict the resiliency of recruits and their prob-
ability of successfully completing an enlistment.”
Dunford’s guidance repeatedly refers to the Corps’
naval expeditionary character and its partnership with the
Navy, which “provides unique capabilities to the Joint
Force. The inherent flexibility, scalabilities and combined
arms capability of MAGTFs joined with the mobility and
sustainability provided by amphibious ships gives us an
asymmetric advantage over adversaries” by exploiting the
sea as maneuver space and conducting forcible entry.
In the current “violent and complex” global security
environment, the combatant commanders’ demands
for Marines is growing and “there are no indications
that the future will be any less challenging or that the
demand for Marines will decrease,” he said.
To help meet that demand, the commandant proposes
providing each combatant commander a “properly tailored and effective” Marine Corps component headquarters that will set the conditions for the employment and
WWW.SEAPOWERMAGAZINE.ORG 26 SEAPOWER / APRIL 2015
Cpl Joseph Howell, a tactical switching operator with Combat Logistics Regiment 4, 4th Marine Logistics Group, takes
account of his surroundings on a patrol during the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) Exercise in Kansas City Feb. 22.
Howell was part of the acting guard force during the exercise with I MEF. Marine Corps Commandant Gen Joseph F.
Dunford Jr. is proposing to reverse a recent shift of emphasis from the MEF to the smaller Marine Expeditionary Brigade.