Published in the summer of 2019, the 38th Commandant’s Planning Guidance provides strategic direction for the Marine Corps. It establishes the Commandant’s priorities for aligning the Service with the National Defense Strategy and Defense Planning Guidance; enhancing our warfighting capability through naval integration; achieving the proper balance of resources in our readiness, modernization, and infrastructure sustainment efforts and accounts; and improving the quality of leadership we provide our Marines and Sailors.
The document outlines the Commandant’s five priority focus areas:
Force Design. We will support the naval force – operating in contested maritime spaces, facilitating sea control, or executing distributed maritime operations. To do so, and do so better, we must divest of legacy capabilities and concepts that do not meet the future requirements, regardless of their past operational efficacy. We must invest thought in new concepts, time in training to practice and refine those concepts, and capital in threat-informed capabilities to support the effective employment of those concepts.
Ready for Rockets
Photo by Pfc. Sarah Pysher
U.S. Marines with 1st Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, load a High Mobility Artillery Rocket System with 227mm rockets during Exercise Rolling Thunder 21.2 on Fort Bragg, N.C., April 26, 2021. This is a live-fire artillery exercise where 10th Marines employed distributed fires via simulated Expeditionary Advanced Bases. The training increased 2nd MARDIV’s combat readiness against a peer competitor. HIMARS are an advanced long-range and mobile rocket system that allows 2nd MARDIV to employ precision fires onto a target.
Warfighting. We have been and remain the Nation’s naval expeditionary force-in-readiness. We will maintain our warfighting overmatch through innovation, ingenuity, and our willingness to adapt.
Shots at Sea
Photo by Sgt. Isaiah Campbell
Marines with the 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit participate in a live-fire range aboard the Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Iwo Jima (LHD 7), April 16, 2021. 24th MEU, embarked with the Iwo Jima Amphibious Ready Group, is forward-deployed in the U.S. Sixth Fleet area of operations in support of U.S. national security interests in Europe and Africa.
Education and Training. While different, education and training are inextricably linked. Education denotes study and intellectual development. Training is primarily learning-by-doing. We will not train without the presence of education; we must not educate without the complementary execution of well-conceived training.
Plan for Perfection
Photo by Cpl. Aaron Patterson
U.S. Marine Corps infantry squad leaders assigned to School of Infantry West, Detachment Hawaii, use a terrain model during the Advanced Infantry Course aboard Kahuku Training Area, Hawaii, July 20, 2016. AIC is intermediate training designed to enhance and test the Marine's skills and leadership abilities as squad leaders in a rifle platoon.
Core Values. The Marine Corps developed its warfighting spirit and character in the values of honor, courage, and commitment. The sentiments these concepts evoke are seen and felt in the shared experiences, hardships, and challenges in training and combat and embody what it is to be a Marine – they cannot be mandated, yet live in the collective soul of our Corps.
Leading the Corps
Photo by Chief Warrant Officer Pete Thibo
U.S. Marine Corps Staff Sgt. Jade Nichols, a senior drill instructor with Papa Company, 4th Recruit Training Battalion, discusses reasons for joining the Marine Corps with her recruits during the Crucible at Parris Island, S.C. April 20, 2018. The four phase recruit training model, implemented in November 2017, allows the drill instructors the opportunity to transition to a role of coach and mentor.
Command and Leadership. Those selected for command have earned our special trust and confidence and are accountable for all decisions and actions. Leaders must ensure Marines are well-led and cared for physically, emotionally, and spiritually, both in and out of combat. “Taking care of Marines” means vigorously enforcing our high standards of performance and conduct. “Taking care of Marines” also means ensuring the Marine Corps retains the talent that it needs to support the vision of the future.
March on the Colors
Photo by Lance Cpl. Alison Dostie
U.S. Marines with Headquarters and Support Battalion, Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, march on the colors during a change of command ceremony for Marine Corps Installations West, MCB Camp Pendleton, at the Santa Margarita Ranch House on Camp Pendleton, Calif., June 23, 2021. During the ceremony, U.S. Marine Brig. Gen. Dan Conley relinquished command of MCI-West to Brig. Gen. Jason Woodworth. Woodworth is the first Marine in history to command an MCI-West installation and then return to take command of the region.