WASHINGTON, D.C. --
This report describes progress to date on the United States Marine Corps’ Force Design 2030 (FD 2030) modernization effort.
Force Design began in response to known and anticipated changes in the operating environment, many of which were described in the 2018 National Defense Strategy, and affirmed by my predecessor, the 37th Commandant. In his 2019 posture statement to Congress, he described the need to change how the Marine Corps is organized, trained, equipped, and employed in light of the evolving security environment. The changes driving FD 2030, however, originated long before. They are rooted in the 31st Commandant’s Hunter Warrior (1997) and Urban Warrior (1998 – 1999) experiments and the 33rd Commandant’s Concept for Distributed Operations (July 2005). Each of these helped shape the direction I gave in my Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG) of July 2019, when I identified Force Design as my top priority. Building on my CPG, I expanded on the need for change in the articles “The Case for Change: Meeting the Principal Challenges Facing the Corps” (Marine Corps Gazette, June 2020) and “Preparing for the Future: Marine Corps Support to Joint Operations in Contested Littorals” (Military Review Online, April 2021), among others. Today, world events emphasize our need to rapidly adapt in order to help the joint force deter, and if necessary, defeat, a peer competitor.
The newly released 2022 National Defense Strategy establishes the importance of the coming “decisive decade,” and the need for new approaches to the strategic challenges in our future. The tenets of the strategy—integrated deterrence, campaigning, and build enduring advantages—call for fresh thinking with respect to military capabilities. Due to our close collaboration with the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD), Force Design is a modernization effort that, in many ways, anticipated the demands of the strategy. It has been, and will continue to be, characterized by thoughtful balance in addressing the need for rapid change, while understanding and managing the associated risks.
The pacing threat for our Force Design, as directed by the current and two previous presidential administrations, is the Armed Forces of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). We are modernizing the Marine Corps using the PRC as a benchmark. However, the Marine Corps does not have the luxury of focusing on a single threat, to the exclusion of all others, and basing our design on such a narrow point of view. We are building a force capable of executing our concepts, not a force exclusively tailored to them.
The Marine Corps remains an expeditionary crisis response force.
As I wrote in my CPG, a force composed of highly capable tactical units that can perform combined arms operations at all echelons, enabled by organic air and logistics, is a force that can execute the complex missions defined by our emerging concepts in any potential theater. This remains our overall aim point for Force Design. This report reflects our efforts to modernize, as measured against our directed benchmark, but this modernized force must and will fulfill our crisis response mandate as well.