Marine Corps Base Quantico -- The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert Neller, introduced the brand-new Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC) Sept. 28 during the Modern Day Marine Military Expo (MDMME) aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico.
The MOC outlines how the Marine Corps will operate and fight in 2025. It builds on proven concepts such as Operational Maneuver from the Sea, Ship-to-Objective Maneuver, Seabasing, and Expeditionary Force 21 (EF 21).
“We wanted to take EF 21 and focus more on how to operate,” Neller said to an audience of enlisted Marines, general officers, and industry representatives exhibiting at MDMME. “We needed to identify the capabilities, capacities, and skill sets we will need to fight our future opponent.”
Neller said one of the strengths of the Marine Corps is pride in itself as a superior warfighting force, but this strength can also be a weakness.
“Often, when we’re asked to change, the first words out of our mouths are ‘What’s wrong with us?’” he said. But a re-examination of operating concepts is crucial because the enemy of the future won’t be the same as the counterinsurgents Marines have been fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan since 2004.
“The environment we’ll face will be different,” Neller said. “It won’t be open desert where we have clear sight-lines; it will be complex terrain, urban sprawl along the coastline. We won’t have guaranteed air supremacy or technological supremacy. The fight will not be linear or sequential.”
Neller said the conflict of the future will build on former Commandant Gen. Charles Krulak’s concept of the three-block war, in which Marines may be required to conduct full-scale military action, peacekeeping operations, and humanitarian aid within the space of three city blocks. Future conflicts add a fourth block which will deal with the psychological or information operations aspects. Instead of just on land, sea, and air, wars will be fought in cyberspace.
“We have to be able to protect our network,” Neller said.
Information operations and electronic warfare will also be another way to defeat the enemy, possibly without the human toll of fighting.
At the same time, as Neller writes in the forward to the MOC, “Even in a world of ever-increasing technology, we must continue to provide combat formations capable of closing with and destroying the enemy. This imperative drives us to demand physical toughness and resilience in our Marines and sailors, and expect their brilliance in the fundamentals of warfighting. While the means and methods we use to wage war will evolve, we must always be prepared for the violence of combat.”
“My job is to ensure that Lance Cpl. Jones doesn’t have a fair fight against the enemy—that he always has the advantage,” Neller said to the audience at the MDMME. “I don’t want it to be a fair fight. When we fight, we must win.”
The commandant added that the latest report from Marine Corps Recruiting Command shows 99.9 percent of new Marines are high school graduates and that attrition is low.
“We’re getting good people and we need to challenge them,” he said.
Neller said that the MOC is not meant to solve every problem, but to generate discussion. He asked all Marines to read the document, think about it, and challenge its ideas.
“If you’re nervous about it, join the club,” Neller said. “If it works, you’ll get the credit. If it stinks, it’s on me.”
Find out more about the MOC and read it here: http://www.mccdc.marines.mil/MOC/.