Marine Corps moves into the future

GOODFELLOW AIR FORCE BASE, Texas -- General James Conway, United States Marine Corps, is the 34th and current Commandant of the Marine Corps. A primary focus of the Commandant is to "Posture the Marine Corps for the Future."

The Commandant's Planning Guidance states, "History has proven that we cannot narrowly define the conditions for which our military must be ready. With little warning, our Nation has repeatedly called our Corps front and center -- in the southern Pacific after Pearl Harbor, in Korea after the communist invasion in 1950, in the sands of Kuwait during DESERT STORM, in the mountains of Afghanistan after 9/11, and in southern Asia in the wake of the catastrophic tsunami of 2004.

Each of these strategic surprises demonstrates the broad range of possibilities for which our Corps must be prepared. What we do today will ensure success in the decades to come -- but only if we plan and prepare with forethought and prudence."

Marine Corps Vision and Strategy 2025 established the direction of the Corps for the uncertainties ahead. It confirmed our core beliefs as an institution and the warfighting concepts we have validated in the crucible of war, from the sands of Iraq to the mountains of Afghanistan.

The Commandant points out six common themes in the Marine Corps Vision and Strategy 2025.

First, our success has been and will continue to be our dedication to our Core Values and the warrior ethos - "Every Marine a Rifleman" and "Every Marine to the Fight."

Second, we must achieve victory in the Long War and provide relevance well into the 21st century.

Third, by right-sizing the Corps we will sustain forward persistent presence with a one-to-two deploy-to-dwell ratio and improve the quality of life for our Marines, Sailors, and their families.

Fourth, Marines are an integral part of the naval service. The Marine Corps is the Nation's expeditionary force in readiness - organized, trained, and equipped to conduct naval campaigns, operate on and from naval platforms, or to execute sustained operations ashore.

Next, we must reset and modernize the force, exploiting technology in command and control, intelligence surveillance and reconnaissance, training, and unmanned systems to "be the most ready when the nation is the least ready."

Finally, crucial to our expeditionary mindset and posture is the necessity to lighten the load of the individual Marine and our Marine Air Ground Task Forces.

On a personal level, the theme that affects this Marine most is the right-sizing of the Corps. To avoid an adverse toll on our Marines and their families, and prevent a decrease in readiness, the Secretary of Defense established a one-to-two deployment-to-dwell goal for all active component forces.

The application of this policy will do much to posture our forces for the Long War and relieve the strain on those superb Americans who have volunteered to fight the Nation's battles.

Our most precious resource is the individual Marine, and our institution must look after their well-being.

As the Nation's expeditionary force in readiness, the Marine Corps is actively taking steps to improve our capabilities and maintain current and future relevance. The power of the Marine Corps will always center on the individual Marine and the MAGTF.

The Marines and MAGTFs of the future will continue to adapt to meet the future challenges of different environments.

Semper Fidelis.