U.S. Marine Corps

Concepts & Programs

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The Marine Corps has been America's expeditionary force in readiness since 1775. We are forward deployed to respond swiftly and aggressively in times of crisis. We are soldiers of the sea, providing forces and detachments to naval ships and shore operations. We are global leaders who develop expeditionary doctrine and innovations that set the example and lead other countries' forces and agencies in multinational military operations. These unique capabilities make us "First to Fight," and our nation's first line of defense.

Expeditionary Force 21 is the Marine Corps’ Capstone Concept that establishes our vision and goals for the next 10 years, and provides a plan for guiding the design and development of the future force. Expeditionary Force 21 describes how the Marine Corps—as an integral part of the naval team—will be organized, trained, equipped, and postured to fulfill its responsibilities as assigned in public law and national policy.

Every Marine is a rifleman, trained first as a disciplined warrior regardless of military occupational specialty. This training is key to our philosophy of maneuver warfare. Maneuver warfare combines operational positioning with firepower, demands agile forces capable of quick decision making, and employs the human elements of war—boldness, creativity, intelligence, and the warrior spirit. Our combined arms approach multiplies the Marine Corps' strengths by bringing our land, air, and sea forces together to achieve every mission. This organization creates a scalable force with incomparable warfighting capabilities. It is the key to winning battles..


Maritime Strategy

  • This maritime strategy describes how we will design, organize, and employ the Sea Services in support of our national, defense, and homeland security strategies. It also sets maritime priorities in an era of constrained resources, while emphasizing warfighting capabilities and forward naval presence to advance national interests today and guide preparations for tomorrow’s challenges.

Capstone Operating Concept

  • The MOC embraces our naval character, expeditionary mindset, and professional approach to constantly improve and build on our foundations of maneuver warfare and fighting as a combined arms force. The challenges of the future will impact how we organize our Corps and ultimately fight our Nation’s battles. The MOC describes the steps we will take to design, develop, and field a future force for the 21st century. The success of this concept depends on our Marines and Sailors. Our people have always been the Marine Corps center of gravity and the key to our success as warfighters. Their ability to think critically, innovate smartly, and adapt to complex environments and adaptive enemies has always been the key factor we rely on to win in any clime and place.

Subordinate Operating Concepts

Functional Concepts

Archived Concepts

  • About Concepts and Programs

    The vision of the Concepts and Programs project is to provide political and military leaders with timely, accurate, and relevant information. The Concepts and Programs project is the premier strategic communications vessel the Marine Corps relies on to inform Congress, the Office of Secretary of Defense, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Think Tanks about the Corps’ vision.