The Marine Corps OperatingConcept (MOC) was spurred by a critical self-assessment that revealed theMarine Corps is not organized, trained, equipped, or postured to meet thedemands of the rapidly evolving future operating environment (Neller, 2017).
This conclusion was based on an examination of the current and future impactsof complex terrain, technology proliferation, information warfare, the battleof electro-magnetic signatures, and an increasingly non-permissive maritimedomain on the Marine Corps (Neller, 2017). Using thisconcept as a guide, the Marine Corps is currently in the midst of determiningwhat the Marine Corps of 2025 should look like in terms of organization andcapability (Flynn, 2017). In addition to retaining the ability to conductintegrated fire and maneuver across the ROMO, the Marine Corps will need to addand enhance its ability to conduct information operations; cyber operations;electronic warfare; military deception; and intelligence, surveillance, andreconnaissance operations within the force structure levels provided by theCongress (Flynn, 2017). Furthermore, General Neller stated that in preparation for “that” futureenemy and future fight, the concept calls for a MAGTF optimized to executemaneuver warfare through a combined arms approach that embraces informationwarfare as indispensable for achieving complementary effects across five domains– air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.
In other words, the MOC states that the Marine Corps should shift moretoward to what Rudyard Kipling called “the savage wars of peace.” Callingfor a break in the focus on combined arms maneuver of mechanized forces thathad predominated since the Vietnam War and provides guidance for thepreparation of what it believes will be the most likely form of combat -irregular warfare (McCarthy III, 2013). To adequately meet Gen.
Neller’s vision, the MOC lays out five followingcritical tasks for the Marine Corps to address to be successful in the futurefight (Eckstein, 2016): First, the Marine Corps and Navy must integrate the naval force tofight at and from the sea, which includes integrating command and controlstructures and finding a role for the MAGTF in the Navy’s sea control and powerprojection missions. Next, the service must evolve the MAGTF, maintaining its powerfulMarine Expeditionary Force construct but also setting up smaller units forsuccess in distributed operations. Third, the Marine Corps must master network-hardening andsignature emissions management, with mission success and Marine safety on theline in an information and electromagnetic spectrum warfare environment. Next, the service must enhance its ability to maneuver small andlarge forces, infantry and support forces, through all manner of terrains, andwith the logistics in place to sustain those operations. And lastly, the MOC recommends a closer look at the individualMarine – seeking high-quality recruits, investing in training and education tosupport the MOC’s goals, developing quality leaders at all echelons, andre-prioritizing cultural and language education. ANALYSIS: The MOC states “The 21st centuryMAGTF conducts maneuver warfare in the physical and cognitive dimensions ofconflict to generate and exploit psychological, technological, temporal, andspatial advantages over the adversary” (Filipoff, 2016). It also emphasizes that the Marine Corps needsto continuously make every effort to be at once Naval, expeditionary, agile,and lethal. All four characteristics are essential, particularly in the contextof the 21st century (Cuomo, Cummings, Garard & Spataro,2017).
The21st century MAGTF should be prepared to conducts maneuverwarfare in the physical and cognitive dimensions of conflict to generate andexploit psychological, technological, temporal,and spatial advantages over the adversary. The 21st centuryMAGTF should also be prepared to execute maneuver warfare through a combinedarms approach that embraces information warfare as indispensable for achievingcomplementary effects across six five domains – land, sea, air, space, andcyberspace — with the addition of the electromagneticspectrum. General Neller stated that, “Marines mustwage “four-block war (in) six domains,” areference to the 31st Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Charles Commandant Krulak’s “three-block war”in which humanitarian relief, peacekeeping, and open violence occursimultaneously just streets apart, with the 21st century addition ofinformation as the fourth, virtual block (Freedberg Jr.
, 2016) Implementing the MOC will not only requireacquisition of new systems for the warfighter, but revised training andeducation for Marines, as well as exercises and wargames that reflect thechallenges highlighted in the MOC. Additional challenges with the MOC will be applyingtraditional Marine Corps principles in new ways with new tools ((Freedberg Jr.,2016)In aninterview regarding Mini-Drones and the MOCc, Deputy Commandant for CombatDevelopment and Integration (CD&I), Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh stated said, “Technology is just a means to an end: “It allows us to operate in our normaltraditional constructs of maneuver and combined arms, in a 21st century waythat we weren’t able to do before.”