Marine Corps Publishes New Document Titled “A Concept for Stand-in Forces”
1 Dec 2021

The Marine Corps published A Concept for Stand-in Forces today, which describes what the Corps can provide the Nation in strategic competition below the threshold of violence. The document describes how forward-postured, steady-state forces operating in contested areas—capable of transitioning rapidly from competition to crisis to conflict and back again—can create a strategic advantage. A Concept for Stand-in Forces explains how Marines can operate effectively with allies and partners from within a contested area.

Stand-in Forces are defined as small but lethal, low signature, mobile, relatively simple to maintain and sustain forces designed to operate across the competition continuum within a contested area as the leading edge of a maritime defense-in-depth in order to intentionally disrupt the plans of a potential or actual adversary. Depending on the situation, stand-in forces are composed of elements from the Marine Corps, Navy, Coast Guard, special operations forces, interagency, and allies and partners.

As part of Force Design 2030 and intentionally aligned with the Joint Warfighting Concept,

A Concept for Stand-in Forces is intended to provide options in support of integrated deterrence. Marines acting as stand-in forces will be positioned forward, shoulder-to-shoulder with our allies and partners, leveraging all-domain tools as the eyes and ears of the fleet and joint force.

As the concept describes, Stand-in forces will be employed to:

• Improve fleet, joint force, and coalition situational awareness in contested areas to support friendly decision-making across the competition continuum.

• Maintain U.S. security guarantees through a persistent, forward-deployed posture that helps defend allies and partners.

• Deter and disrupt the plans of potential adversaries.  

• Gain and maintain custody of potential targets, such as a potential adversary’s capabilities and assets.

• Develop understanding of a potential adversary’s operating methods and establish a pattern of life.

• Deny an adversary or potential adversary the ability to gain advantage in any domain through passive and active counter-reconnaissance.

• Help the fleet and joint force complete kill webs.

• Deny adversary freedom of movement, especially in and around maritime chokepoints.

• Secure, seize, and control contested key maritime terrain in support of sea denial operations.


A Concept for Stand-in Forces can be found here:

Read here for more on Stand-in Forces:

Maj. Eric Flanagan

The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website