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Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory

The mission of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory is to conduct concept-based experimentation for the identification, development, and integration of operational concepts with tactics, techniques, procedures, and technologies in order to improve the naval expeditionary warfighting capabilities across the spectrum of conflict for current and future operating forces.

Experimentation is conducted both to meet Service Title X responsibilities and as a Marine Corps contribution to Joint concept development and experimentation. Service experimentation is conducted in support of the Warfighting Advocates - Command Element, Ground Combat Element, Air Combat Element, and Combat Service Support Element - with the results supporting the Marine Corps CDS. Joint experimentation is supported through Marine Forces Atlantic as the assigned lead for Marine Corps participation in Joint Forces Command's joint experimentation program.

In October 1995, General Charles C. Krulak chartered the Commandant's Warfighting Laboratory as the engine for change and the center of innovation within the Marine Corps as it entered the 21st Century. Within 18 months, the Lab had developed a means for looking at change - called the Sea Dragon Process - and completed several of its initial assigned tasks as stated in the Commandant's Planning Guidance.

The Lab developed a concept for the Chemical and Biological Incident Response Force and then oversaw implementation of both a Marine operational force established in Norfolk and a reachback capability resident in a group of nationally recognized experts - led by Nobel laureate Dr. Josh Lederberg -- for scientific expertise. It also planned and conducted a Limited Objective Experiment with Non-Lethal Weapons conducted at Camp Pendleton, CA. In addition, the Lab developed a five-year experimentation plan - the Warrior Experimentation Series - and executed Hunter Warrior as an initial major Advanced Warfighting Experiment involving West Coast Navy and Marine operational forces.

In 1997, in recognition that innovation within the Marine Corps must be an integral part of the Combat Development System (CDS), the Lab was renamed as the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. In 1998, the Commanding General of the Lab was assigned the additional responsibility as Vice Chief of Naval Research and assumed a major role in oversight of Marine Corps-related Naval Science and Technology programs.

MCWL is organized into divisions, each with specific functions and tasks. The divisions are: Experiment Plans Division. Responsible for the planning of service experiments, this division also works with Marine Forces Atlantic in joint experiment planning. Experiment Operations Division. This division coordinates and conducts experiments and assessments. Technology Division. Responsible for conducting assessments of experimental technologies. Also tasked with integrating technologies into tactical experiments. Support Division. Responsible for the administration, logistics and supply, and all other functions necessary for the day-to-day operation of the Lab. The division also supports experimental events. Command Division. Made up primarily of special staff such as business and financial management, visitor control and graphics. Wargaming, the Center for Emerging Threats and Opportunities (CETO) and the Office of Science, Technology and Innovation (OSTI) are also Lab divisions.

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