This excellent report has been professionally converted for accurate flowing-text e-book format reproduction. Despite evolving doctrine, tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs), and enhanced technology, the theory of warfare is enduring. The nature of war is immutable in that no matter what form it may take, warfare remains a violent clash of wills that is most dependent on the human aspect. The Marine Corps will always require properly trained and equipped warriors who are prepared to meet current and future challenges on the battlefield. In his recently published Commandant's Planning Guidance (CPG), General Conway gave a description of his "Focus Areas", which include "to win the long war" and "to be prepared for future warfare." To meet the challenges of the 21st Century, it is paramount that the Marine Corps enhance its capabilities as a "general purpose, expeditionary force" that is ready for employment in all manners of warfare and contingencies. In order to fight effectively in the contemporary operating environment (COE), the Marine Corps will have to implement an enhanced distributed operations capability amongst its fighting forces.
Despite recent discussion and experimentation involving distributed operations (D.O.), the author does not believe that there is an organizational understanding of the D.O. concept within the Marine Corps. In April 2005, General Hagee gave detailed guidance regarding D.O. in his Mandate - A Concept for Distributed Operations. The Mandate defines the D.O. concept as a complement to maneuver warfare doctrine in that it is "an operating approach that will create an advantage over an adversary through the deliberate use of separation and coordinated, interdependent, tactical actions enabled by increased access to functional support, as well as by enhanced combat capabilities at the small-unit level. The essence of this concept lies in the capacity for coordinated action by dispersed units, throughout the breadth and depth of the battle space, ordered and connected within an operational design focused on a common aim". In some form, the Marine Corps already executes distributed operations with its dispersion of forces and assets in Iraq and Afghanistan.
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