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Attendees and participants stand at attention during the playing of the National Anthem at the change of command ceremony for MCIOC at the National Museum of the Marine Corps on June 30, 2016.

Photo by Adele Uphaus-Conner

Incomming MCIOC commander raises bar higher for Marines

15 Jul 2016 | Adele Uphaus-Conner Marine Corps Base Quantico

Marine Corps Information Operations Center (MCIOC) held the third change of command ceremony in its history at the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Triangle, Virginia, June 29. Col. Drew Cukor relinquished command of MCIOC to Col. William (Beau) McClane.

“I say, with a name like Beau, let’s go!” said Lt. Gen. Ronald Bailey, deputy commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations.

McClane enlisted in the Marine Corps in 1984. In 1989, he was accepted to the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program and attended The Citadel, graduating in 1991. He has been an intelligence officer since his commissioning. His most recent post was as director of the Intelligence Integration Division for Combat Development and Integration.

Cukor’s next assignment will be at the office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Intelligence. Bailey credited him with turning MCIOC into a “professional organization recognized worldwide” during his two years at Walt Hall (MCIOC’s headquarters).

“I just stood on their shoulders,” Cukor said, referring to MCIOC’s previous two commanding officers, Col. James Gfrerer and Col. Christopher Naler.

“We took all this amazing thinking that’s been done for years and asked ‘How can we address the moral and mental aspect of warfare?’” he said. “Because we’re Marines, we’ve got the physical aspect, but these others outweigh that three-to-one.”

Cukor said that information operations (IO) “is now the campaign itself, it’s not just in the corner.”

“It’s not just about destroying targets anymore,” he continued. “It’s ‘What is the enemy thinking right now? I need him to think this for the next hour.’ It’s a complete change.”

He said that he is optimistic about the future and “looks forward to IO becoming the fifth element of the MAGTF [Marine Air Ground Task Force].”

Cukor concluded his remarks by thanking the Marines and civilian Marines of MCIOC and saying that when he learned McClane was to be replacing him, he was so excited that he jumped out of his seat.

McClane said that under his tenure, MCIOC would continue to improve its support for the operational forces by providing IO subject matter expertise.

“We cannot afford to go back,” he said. “It’s in their thinking; they expect it now.”

He told MCIOC Marines that they will have a hard two years ahead of them “because the bar has been raised very high.”

“The nature of the Future Force will be decided upon very shortly,” McClane said, describing the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory’s Force Development 25 project, which is attempting to conceptualize the Marine Corps of 2025. “This will be our charge and challenge: how does IO conduct capability development for that future force?”

“I’m really excited about the next 10 to 15 years,” he concluded.

Writer: auphausconner@quanticosentryonline.com

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