Small Wars Journal

Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-0

Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1-0, Marine Corps Operations, has been revised and is now posted at the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Combat Development and Integration Division’s webpage.  The original edition, developed just prior to 9/11, reflected language and constructs prevalent within joint doctrine at that time. The revision discusses the use of smaller MAGTFs and other nonstandard formations that are increasingly employed across the range of military operations. It provides concise descriptions of the various operations Marines may conduct and it records changes to Marine Corps as determined by the 2010 Force Structure Review.


Dave Maxwell

Tue, 08/23/2011 - 10:41pm

I also look forward to (hopefully soon) the publication of USSOCOM's Doctrinal Publication 1.

I really like this excerpt (from page 6-2):

"Joint doctrine delineates two basic forms of warfare—traditional and irregular—
but acknowledges this naming convention is not ideal. It describes traditional
warfare as a violent struggle for domination between nation-states or coalitions
and alliances of nation-states. Irregular warfare is described as a violent struggle
among state and nonstate actors for legitimacy and influence over the relevant
population(s). It must be recognized, however, that “traditional” and “irregular”
conflict in pure form are rare. World War II is generally considered a traditional
conflict because it largely involved conventional combat among the forces of
nation-states, yet it also had irregular aspects that included partisans in the
Philippines, France, and Yugoslavia as well as nonstate entities, such as the
Chinese Communists, fielding major forces to oppose both their nationalist
countrymen and the Japanese. Conversely, the war in Vietnam is generally
viewed as irregular, yet Marines were often heavily engaged in conventional
combat against large formations of North Vietnamese Army regulars. As these
examples illustrate, naming conventions may help inform understanding of a
conflict, but they cannot fully define it. As noted in MCDP 1, “War is both
timeless and ever changing. While the basic nature of war is constant, the means
and methods we use evolve continuously.”

I think Frank Hoffman might say the above is Hybrid Warfare. The term hybrid is used 4 times in the publication. Once in the opening comment by GEN Amos and then 3 other times including this excerpt from page 6-2 (which I also like!):

"Campaign plans rooted in national strategic goals establish the necessary context
for tactical actions. Failure to understand the basic strategic approach
(annihilation or erosion) and the form(s) of warfare (traditional, irregular, or a
hybrid of the two) will prevent the development of a coherent campaign plan and
may cause military and diplomatic leaders to work at cross-purposes. While these
factors drive campaign planning, which drives tactical actions, the reverse is also
true. Tactical results generate modifications to the campaign plan, which may
have strategic implications."

For those interested in the Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC), here is the description from page 2-16 and 2-17:


Established February 2006, MARSOC is the Marine Corps component of
USSOCOM and is headquartered at Camp Lejeune, NC. The MARSOC recruits,
organizes, trains, equips, educates, sustains, and, when directed by the
Commander, USSOCOM, deploys task-organized, scalable expeditionary Marine
Corps special operations forces in support of combatant commanders and
other agencies.

The Commander, MARSOC is responsible for identifying Marine special
operations-unique requirements; developing Marine special operations forces
doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures; and executing assigned missions in
accordance with designated conditions and standards. A Marine Corps major
general commands MARSOC with a supporting staff compatible in all functional
areas with USSOCOM and Headquarters, Marine Corps. The subordinate units of