The 2010 Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC) Assuring Littoral Access…Winning Small Wars makes the assertion that conventional forces designed, trained, and equipped for major combat operations against a peer competitor would not be equally adept at operations to counter insurgents, guerilla forces, and other irregular threats. The MOC states that the Marine Corps should shift more toward to what Rudyard Kipling called “the
savage wars of peace.” This monograph conducted a chronological review of Marine Corps operations from 1918-1945 and from 1946-1993 in order to test the MOC’s assertions that, (1) Conventional forces designed, trained, and equipped for major combat operations would not be equally adept at operations to counter insurgents, guerilla
forces, and other irregular threats; (2) Since small wars are the more frequent form of warfare, the Marine Corps should focus on their conduct.This monograph has concluded that since the battle at Belleau Wood in 1918, the Marine Corps has organized, trained, and equipped as a combined arms force in preparation for the conduct of
high intensity combined arms battle. This approach, coupled with the creative, flexible, and versatile mindset of Marine leaders, has enabled the Marine Corps to succeed in both traditional and irregular warfare.
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