United States Marine Corps

The close integration of disparate Marine units stems from an organizational culture centered on the infantry. Every other Marine capability exists to support the infantry. Unlike some Western militaries, the Corps remained conservative against theories proclaiming the ability of new weapons to win wars independently. For example, Marine aviation has always been focused on close air support and has remained largely uninfluenced by air power theories proclaiming that strategic bombing can single-handedly win wars. This focus on the infantry is matched with the doctrine of “Every Marine is a rifleman”, a focus of Commandant Alfred M. Gray, Jr., emphasizing the infantry combat abilities of every Marine. All Marines, regardless of military specialization, receive training as a rifleman; and all officers receive additional training as infantry platoon commanders. For example, at Wake Island, when all of the Marine aircraft were destroyed, pilots continued the fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks in a final defensive effort. Flexibility of execution is implemented via an emphasis on “commander’s intent” as a guiding principle for carrying out orders; specifying the end state but leaving open the method of execution.

United States Marine Corps

United States Marine Corps

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