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Defining The Event Horizon:  The Marine Corps And The
Dialectic Of Maneuver Warfare And Airland Battle
CSC 1992
SUBJECT AREA Warfighting
Title:  Defining the Event Horizon:  The Marine Corps and the
Dialectic of Maneuver Warfare and AirLand Battle
Author:  Major Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., United States Marine Corps
Thesis:  In the Marine Corps, two differing yet complementary
expressions of the same vision of combat have slowly merged through
a dialectic to create a synthesis, based on maneuver warfare, but
employing the analytical precision of AirLand Battle concepts.
Background:  The Marine Corps rejected firepower-attrition as its
doctrinal model in the early eighties. Under the broad rubric of
maneuver warfare, Marines wrestled with the concepts of fire,
maneuver, the Boyd Cycle, and mission tactics. Despite its clear
advantages, maneuver warfare stayed a broad, amorphous concept,
open to local interpretation, and not accepted by all.  In the late
eighties, even as the principles of maneuver warfare were formally
codified by General A. M. Gray as Marine Corps doctrine, there was
a growing awareness that a formal structure was needed to lend
precision to Marine Corps warfighting. The answer was AirLand
Battle, the highly structured and analytically precise body of
ideas that implemented maneuver warfare thinking in the U.S. Army
in the decade of the eighties. By 1992, the Marine Corps had
adopted most of the architectural and conceptual principles of
AirLand Battle doctrine. It was a remarkable Hegelian synthesis
that produced a more sophisticated maneuver warfare model, blending
the broadness  and versatility of maneuver  thinking with  the
precision and meticulousness of AirLand Battle.
Defining the Event Horizon:  The Marine Corps and the Dialectic of
		Maneuver Warfare and AirLand Battle
Thesis:  In the Marine Corps, two differing yet complementary
expressions of the same vision of combat have slowly merged through
a dialectic to create a synthesis, based on maneuver warfare, but
employing the analytical precision of AirLand Battle concepts.
I.    The importance of doctrine
	A.      The definition of doctrine
	B.      What doctrine does
	C.      The concept of the event horizon
II.   The changing face of Marine Corps combat doctrine
	A.      The rejection of firepower-attrition
	B.      The dawn of maneuver warfare
III.  The firepower-attrition model
	A.      Background
	B.      Arguments about the superiority of fire
	C.      Influences on the Marine Corps
IV.   Criticisms of firepower-attrition, and the search for
	A.    The  three areas of criticism
		1.      Intelligence
		2.      Communications
		3.      Ability to concentrate
	B.    Major philosophical criticism: did not provide a
		formula for victory
V.    The Army and AirLand Battle
	A.    The nature of AirLand Battle
	B.    Selling AirLand Battle to the Army
VI.  The Marine Corps and maneuver warfare
	A.    Perceived need for broadness of doctrine
	B.    Rejection of the precision of AirLand Battle
	C.    Importance of W.S. Lind and MajGen A. M. Gray
		1.      1980 Lind article
		2.      "Gray Years" in the 2nd Marine Division
	D.    Criticisms of maneuver warfare
	E.    General Gray and maneuver warfare triumphant
	F.    Recognition that more structure was needed
VII.  The forge of the future: the dialectic of maneuver warfare and
	AirLand Battle
	A.    The Hegelian dialectic
	B.    The requirement for a detailed architecture of maneuver
	C.    The importance of FMFM-2, MEF Doctrine
		1.    Battlefield geometry
		2.    Battlefield operating systems
	D.    Re-assertion of the importance of the MAGTF
	E.    The challenge of the future
			  The Importance of Doctrine
		     And thus the native hue of resolution
		Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
		   And enterprises of great pith and moment
			 . . . lose the name of action.
		   William Shakespeare, Hamlet, III, i., 56
			       Between the idea
				And the reality
			      Between the motion
				  And the act
			       Falls the Shadow.
			 T.S. Eliot, The Hollow Men, V
     Military doctrine  is the systematic attempt to translate
resolution  into directed,  coherent  action.  Since the  chaotic
environment  of  battle  is  both  volatile  and unforgiving,  in
practical terms it is the design and use of structure to minimize
friction and gain advantage. This search for advantage produces
military doctrine. Stated more prosaically in Joint Chiefs of Staff
(JCS) Publication 1-02, doctrine becomes "Fundamental principles by
which military forces. . .guide their actions. It is authoritative
but requires judgement in application."1
     A military organization's doctrine "is what is taught as right
behavior. . . In its stringent sense, doctrine is mandatory behavior;
it must be obeyed."2 Doctrine is the intellectual benchmark by
which military cultures are evaluated, the formal codification of
". . . the collection of ideas, beliefs, prejudices, and perceptions
which constitute and determine the relationship between. . .constituent 
parts."3  A military culture is much more than
doctrine, however. It is the aggregate collection of both formal
and informal ways of doing things, passed down from generation to
generation. It is manifested in promotion policies, social mores,
and, in effect,  the "world view" of the institution. Doctrine
serves as the voice of military culture, its highest expression. It
attempts to smooth the path from idea to action.
     Doctrine defines the event horizon, conceptually that location
in time and space where a force interacts with the enemy's will.4
It is the task of doctrine to extend the event horizon as far away
as possible from the commander.  An extended event horizon gives the
commander more time to plan and execute; it protects his decision-
making cycle, while chipping away at the enemy's. The distance to
the event  horizon  is not  measured  in conventional  units  of
distance, but instead is expressed as a result of tempo.
	The changing face of Marine Corps combat doctrine
     The United States Marine Corps  fundamentally changed  its
combat doctrine over the past 12 years, by adopting maneuver
warfare as its principle style of combat. The change has been
little less than revolutionary in breadth and scope. The adoption
of maneuver warfare reflected an epochal shift in military culture,
from the attrition-based firepower model the Corps used in the
early seventies, to the maneuver model developed concurrently by
the U.S. Army and known as AirLand Battle (ALB). Unlike the Army,
the Marine Corps did not take maneuver thinking to the next stage:
distillation  into  a  detailed,  integrated  blueprint  of  the
battlefield.  In  the Marine  Corps,  maneuver warfare  thinking
remained  amorphous,  open  to  local  interpretation,  defying
     In  the  Marine  Corps  two  differing  yet  complementary
expressions of the same vision of combat have slowly merged through
a dialectic to create a synthesis, based on maneuver warfare, but
employing the analytical precision of AirLand Battle concepts. This
dialectic  progression  has  not  been without  tension,  and  to
understand the result, which will be the shape of Marine Corps
doctrine into the next century, it is necessary to comprehend the
nature of this dynamic friction.
     By examining the bankruptcy of firepower-attrition, and the
maneuver-based responses to it, it is possible to understand how
current doctrine evolved.  Such a historical reference clearly
points out  the dialectic  tension between the philosophies of
maneuver warfare and the mechanical interpretations of ALB, and how
they have slowly yet ineluctably converged in the Marine Corps.
Today, the two have merged under the aegis of Marine Air Ground
Task Force (MAGTF) doctrine, which is a Hegelian synthesis of the
best points of both.
			 The firepower-attrition model
		    Fire has become the decisive argument.
		       Ferdinand Foch, Principles of War
     Army and Marine Corps thinking reflected an attrition based
outlook on war in the early seventies, exhibiting the effects of
the 1973 Arab-Israeli War, which had showcased a lethal, high
intensity battlefield. Dramatic improvements in weapons technology
seemed to offer vast increases in firepower. There were three
dominant characteristics of this doctrine, all articulated in the
1976 edition of FM 100-5, Operations.
     The first characteristic was an obsession with creating a
favorable "rate of exchange" in battle, by developing and applying
overwhelming combat power at the decisive place and time. The
efficacious application of  firepower was the supreme goal  of
combat. To attain this, a significant material and technological
edge was critical. The focus of operations was the combat potential
of enemy fighting units; success was measured in terms of enemy
units attrited or destroyed.  Such an approach was  implicitly
quantitative in outlook, and could not accommodate less tangible
questions of cohesion, command and control, or other qualitative
     The second  characteristic  of  this  view of war  was  the
presumption of the primacy of defense. It was not necessarily the
preferred, or decisive form of war, but defense was thought to
bring such significant advantages to the battlefield that  it
dominated all planning. An attacker was required to assemble a huge
superiority of men and material to reduce the advantage of the
defense. The defender could afford to fight against large odds
because of the inherent strength of the defense. The attacker
sought to balance the scales by using force multipliers, in the
form of combat support systems.6 Last, there was
     an emphasis on the dangers of movement, rather than on
     the opportunities that movement relative to the enemy -
     i.e., manoeuvre - can bring. The relationship between the
     attritional  culture  and  movement  was  distinctive:
     movement was a means by which a more favorable fire
     position was reached and resources deployed.
Centralized control was more important than the possible positive
effects of decentralized execution and decision-making. Fear of
maneuver was expressed  in restrictive control measures,  rigid
reporting requirements, and an obsession with linear deployment and
"dressing right" to obtain continuous fronts.
     The 1976 edition of FM 100-5 was written to the resounding
shocks of the October War, and in summary "apparently concluded
that firepower improvements fundamentally affected maneuver on the
battlefield."8 Maneuver was important only in how it supported the
delivery of decisive firepower against the enemy. The concept of a
large reserve was rejected in favor of maximizing all firepower
well forward. Concurrently, counterattacks in the defense were de-
emphasized,  unless  "decisively  greater  enemy  losses"  were
attainable, and the results of the counterattack were "crucial to
the outcome of the larger battle."9 Throughout, the advantages of
the defense were extolled.
     The recurring credo was concentration. Mobility was a means to
serve  the  end  of  concentration,  which  combined with  combat
multipliers to produce the superiority of firepower needed to
overcome a numerically superior foe. It was a doctrine with its
roots in the defense of Western Europe, facing the juggernaut of
the Warsaw Pact. It embraced the apparent overwhelming lethality of
the new generations of both direct  and indirect fire weapons
systems appearing on the battlefield. For the Army, it offered a
way to apply new technologies efficiently against a powerful and
numerous opponent, and it seemed to account for the many new
factors complicating the conduct of war.
     This doctrine became the foundation of FMFM 6-1, The Marine
Division, both in its 1974 and 1978 editions, and of FMFM 6-2, The
Marine Infantry Regiment. If anything, the doctrine fit the Marine
Corps better than the Army. The Marine Division faced significant
problems in attempting to maneuver on the battlefield, because its
table of organization did not provide adequate organic lift for
sustained  land  combat.  One-third  of  the  division  could  be
mechanized, one-third was heliborne capable, and the remaining
third could be partially motorized.
     A doctrine of maneuver was simply beyond the ken of such a
force. What the division could do - or so it seemed - was use the
inherent advantages of the defense to ameliorate egregious mobility
disadvantages. The Marine Corps had always prized the dogged
tenacity and esprit of its infantry, and the attrition model seemed
to offer a doctrine that showed how an infantry based force could
fight and win against tanks and methods cut from the Soviet mold.
Firepower, both organic to the division and particularly that
supplied by Marine aviation, would be used to defeat mobility. If
overcontrol and a certain stifling of tactical creativity were
necessary to achieve the requisite concentration and control, it
seemed a small price to pay. Irwin Rommel, writing of the British
in the Western Desert, described an army that fought from a similar
     I wanted to prevent the war from becoming static with a
     fixed front line. The British troops, both officers and
     men, have been trained for such a war. The stubbornness
     of the Tommy bears fruit in such a position where his
     rigidity works for him.10
	     Criticisms of firepower-attrition, and the search for
			 Wandering between two worlds,
				   one dead,
			The other powerless to be born.
	Matthew Arnold, Stanzas From the Grand Chartreuse
     By the late seventies, criticism of the firepower-attrition
paradigm centered on three areas: intelligence, communications, and
the ability to concentrate.11 Marine and Army critics argued that
success required flawless intelligence,  since fires were to be
maximized on identified enemy thrust lines forward in the Main
Battle Area (MBA). The concomitant de-emphasis on the reserve, and
on maneuver in general, tended to rob the commander of operational
flexibility if he guessed wrong. Communications could be a weak
link, because it was vital  to ensure the lateral coordination
necessary  to  concentrate,  fight,  disperse,  and  reconcentrate
successively. Communications and the ability to achieve successive
concentrations promised to be difficult in the face of a determined
     Criticisms  of  the  attrition model  reached  a  crescendo,
coalescing around what seemed an inescapable fact: the doctrine did
not  contain  within  itself  a  formula  for  decisive  victory.
Initiative was largely ceded to the enemy, and combat under this
model was an end unto itself. The event horizon was quite close to
the commander. There was little flexibility, and tempo was a tool
of the attacker, not the defender. Since attrition was the goal, it
was difficult to accommodate a combinatorial approach: one that
shaped battles to a larger purpose, the decisive defeat of the
enemy. Last, and perhaps most significantly, the Soviet model for
employment of massed forces in echelon and with great speed seemed
able eventually to crumble the defense.
     The Army and the Marine Corps realized the essential sterility
of the attrition-model approach, which had been an over-reaction to
the effects of fire relative to maneuver. Both services developed
maneuver-based responses, moving away from firepower-attrition. The
Army, focused on NATO, oriented their new doctrine squarely on the
echeloned Soviet model.  The Marine Corps,  true to its global
outlook and maritime heritage, chose not to focus on a regional
			  The Army and AirLand Battle
	     The instruments of war are valuable only if one knows
			       how to use them.
		       Ardant du Picq, Etudes sur Combat
     AirLand Battle was born in the late seventies, when the Field
Artillery School at Fort Sill conducted an exhaustive series of
computer-based Corps  level  wargames,  under the aegis of Fire
Support Mission Area Analyses. The results indicated that the
attrition model, called the "active defense" in the Army, would not
be able to defeat a Soviet-model  force.  Some alternatives  to
firepower-attrition were suggested by the gaming process. Analysis
of the results showed that if Soviet forces were attacked in depth
continually, by fires and aggressive maneuver, it was possible to
achieve victory. The key was to prevent the Soviets from using
their echeloned reserves to "pile on" the defender at the Forward
Edge of  the Battle Area  (FEBA),  while creating  "windows"  of
opportunity for friendly forces to maneuver, fighting and winning
the close, or immediate battle.12
     These ideas were developed and refined by the Army Training
and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), under the guidance of TRADOC's
brilliant Commanding General, Don A. Starry, who took a personal
interest in what he saw as an opportunity to define how the Army
would operate throughout the eighties and beyond. TRADOC published
Pamphlet 525-5, The AirLand Battle and Corps 86, in March 1981. It
set out, in detail, a vision of an offensively oriented extended
battlefield, one on which the focus of effort would be the cohesion
of the enemy, instead of his combat units. Integrated maneuver and
fires would be employed in great depth. TRADOC Pamphlet 525-5
returned operational maneuver to the NATO battlefield.
     General Starry took to the hustings with a series of articles
outlining ALB, the most important of which appeared in the March
1981 issue of Military Review, titled "Extending the Battlefield."
Starry reiterated the central focus of ALB - a maneuver-based
doctrine shaped on the coping-stone of the eternal NATO problem.
The  Army  proved  enthusiastically  receptive,  perceiving  that
"AirLand    Battle    was    an    offensively    oriented
doctrine . . . intellectually and analytically convincing."13
     The 1982 edition of FM 100-5 Operations embodied the tenets of
ALB,  and  stressed  that  "maneuver  is  the dynamic  element  of
combat."14 By May of 1986, when the next edition of FM 100-5 was
published,  ALB was  firmly  ensconced  at  all  levels  of  Army
hierarchical doctrinal publications, and formed the basis of Army
tactics. The adoption of ALB in the Army was a classic example of
a top-down dissemination of doctrine, where the "doctrine writers"
(TRADOC)  solved the problem and furnished a solution to the
operating forces.
		     The Marine Corps and Maneuver Warfare
		       Though all the winds of doctrine
		    were let loose to play upon the earth.
			   John Milton, Areopagitica
     A single fundamental principle colored Marine Corps thinking
on maneuver warfare. The global outlook and spectrum of potential
adversaries an expeditionary force might be required to face seemed
to dictate a certain broadness in the cast of its doctrine. While
recognizing the inadequacies of firepower-attrition, and admiring
the precision of Starry's cool, elegant logic, Marines fretted
because it seemed inextricably linked to the great central battle
in Europe. Consequently, they shied away from its meticulousness,
equating  it  with  an  overly  continental  mindset.  To  retain
flexibility, a certain diffusiveness and imprecision found its way
into Marine doctrine. The Corps was particularly resistant to the
architectural structure that accompanied AirLand Battle.
     The figures of General A.M. Gray and civilian William S. Lind
stand squarely astride any study of the birth of maneuver warfare
in the Marine Corps. In a March 1980 article in the Marine Corps
Gazette, "Defining Maneuver Warfare for the Marine Corps," Lind
outlined  the  basis  of  maneuver warfare.  In  castigating  the
attrition model, he argued for
     . . . warfare on the model of Genghis Khan,  the German
     Blitzkrieg and almost all Israeli campaigns. The goal is
     destruction of the enemy's vital cohesion - disruption -
     not by physical set-piece destruction. The objective is
     the enemy's mind, not his body. The principal tool is
     moving forces into unexpected places at surprisingly high
     speeds. Firepower is a servant of maneuver. . . Maneuver
     warfare is more psychological than physical.15
     Presciently, Lind's 1980 article used as an example a future
war in which Marines were employed to assist Saudi Arabian forces
in thwarting an Iraqi invasion. Lind's maneuver warfare thinking
was based on the "Boyd Theory," the work of Colonel John Boyd, USAF
(Ret). The Boyd theory proposed the reiterative cycle of "Observe,
Orient, Decide, Act," or the "OODA Loop," as a practical model of
military decisionmaking in battle. It followed that the side that
could execute its "OODA loop" faster eventually could paralyze
enemy decisionmaking (thus the vernacular: "to get inside his OODA
loop"). As Lind wrote,
	  The real  defeat  is  the  nervous/mental/systemic
	  breakdown caused when he becomes aware that the
	  situation is beyond his control, which is in turn a
	  product of our ability consistently to cut inside
	  the  time   of  his   observation-decision-action
     The publication of this seminal article provoked a virtual
explosion of writing and thinking on the subject. Undoubtedly, the
concurrent and parallel dissemination of ALB theory in the Army
piqued Marine interest in maneuver warfare to even greater heights.
In the pages of the Gazette generals and captains argued the
utility and merits of maneuver warfare,  sometimes with skill,
always with energy.
     0ne man, however, had the opportunity and the will to test
some of its concepts. That man was Major General Al Gray, who
assumed command of the 2nd Marine Division in 1981. William S. Lind
was a Gray confidant and advisor, so it was inevitable that the 2nd
Division would serve as a testbed for Gray and Lind's maneuver
warfare concepts. Together they soon transformed the 2nd Division
into a virtual autarky of bubbling, evolving doctrine.
     Major General Gray published a "Battle Book" for subordinate
commanders that codified maneuver warfare principles by functional
area. He identified four ideas as key: the OODA loop, mission
tactics, command,  and the point of main effort.17 Within the
division,  the creation of an atmosphere that nurtured mission
tactics, or decentralized execution under the rubric of commander's
intent, was his highest priority.
     To spread these principles, the 2nd Marine Division Maneuver
Warfare Board was established, to act as a clearinghouse for ideas
on maneuver warfare.18 The board was further tasked to publish a
newsletter on maneuver warfare, containing relevant articles and
ideas for discussion. Major General Gray wrote as a preface to the
first Maneuver Warfare newsletter:
     Realizing that many of our potential enemies could bring
     superior numbers of men and good equipment...against
     us... it would be foolhardy to think about engaging them
     in firepower-attrition  duels.  Historically,  maneuver
     warfare has been the means by which smaller but more
     intelligently led forces have achieved victory. It is,
     therefore, my intent ion to have us improve upon our
     understanding of the concepts behind maneuver warfare
     theory  and  to  train  our  units  in  their  practical
     Subordinate commanders were required to establish and maintain
a Maneuver Warfare Reading Folder, and hold in it the maneuver
warfare reading packets of the Maneuver Warfare Board, and other
supplementary readings that were generated by the Division Chief of
Staff.20 Many of these ideas percolated to other Marine formations.
The  1st  Division  established  the  Junior  Officer's  Tactical
Symposium,  roughly comparable to  the  2nd Division's  Maneuver
Warfare Board.21
     Throughout the eighties, ideas about maneuver warfare were
unevenly applied within the divisions of the Marine Corps, and its
concepts were bruited about within the Marine Corps formal schools
system. The doctrinal debate became personalized and emotional, and
suffered from overidentification with Gray, Lind, and the 2nd
Division. The overexuberant,  inchoate, and occasionally sloppy
arguments advanced by young proponents of maneuver warfare tended
to polarize the issue.
     The spread of maneuver warfare thinking in the Marine Corps
followed the rise of its most vocal proponent, General Gray. When
he became Commandant  in  1987,  few doubted that  the maneuver
revolution was complete. He wasted little time in spreading the
gospel, this time from the topdown. The publication of Operational
Handbook (OH)  6-1  in January 1988,  Ground Combat Operations,
explicitly stated that the principles of ALB were consistent with
Marine Corps doctrine, and reflected Army thinking on maneuver
warfare both in the offense and the defense.22
     General Gray's "little white book,"  FMFM-1, Warfighting, was
intended to be the Marine Corps' capstone doctrinal publication,
setting forth a broad philosophy of warfighting in the manner of FM
100-5. In it, maneuver warfare was formally adopted as the Corps'
method, or style, of fighting, and was given this definition:
     Maneuver warfare is a warfighting philosophy that seeks
     to shatter the enemy's cohesion through a series of
     rapid, violent, and unexpected actions which create a
     turbulent and rapidly deteriorating situation with which
     he cannot cope.
The subsequent publication of FMFM 1-1 Campaigning, and FMFM 1-3
Tactics, in 1990 and 1991 respectively, completed the doctrinal
trilogy of maneuver warfare manuals, and provided the Marine Corps
with broad and comprehensive guidance on how to fight.
     Despite the importance of maneuver warfare theory, it still
remained more a philosophy than a doctrine. It was applied unevenly
throughout the Marine Corps, since it still remained largely an
insurgent interloper in the minds of many senior commanders. The
recent stellar performance of I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) in
Southwest  Asia  notwithstanding,  there was  ample  evidence  of
overcontrol, overreporting, and overcentralization of command in
some organizations:  in short,  many of  the characteristics of
firepower-attrition thinking.24
		   The forge of the future: The dialectic of
		      Maneuver Warfare and AirLand Battle
	Look to the essence of a thing, whether it be a point of
	  doctrine, of practice, or of interpretation.
	Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations, VIII, 22
     The Hegelian dialectic recognizes two converging arguments:
the  thesis  and  the  antithesis.  Starting  as  opposites,  they
eventually merge to produce a synthesis, something totally new, yet
retaining  elements  of  both  earlier  arguments.  Although  the
arguments of ALB and maneuver warfare did not start as opposites,
but rather as different perspectives of a common problem,  the
Hegelian dialectic is an effective way to chart the present and
future relationships between maneuver warfare and ALB.
     In the early eighties, the Army and the Marine Corps adopted
doctrines of maneuver to fight on battlefields where the supremacy
of pure fire seemed inadequate. The Army's response was translated
into detailed top-down guidance that shaped procurement of combat
systems,  tactics, and organization. For various reasons,  some
political,  some operational,  the Marine Corps did not  sculpt
maneuver warfare into a detailed vision of the battlefield.
     Despite  differences,   both   doctrines  were   ultimately
compatible. They shared a vision of a chaotic, information-poor
battlefield, one on which a premium was placed on initiative,
decentralized action, and speed of execution. Both doctrines sought
to allow the commander to fight on an extended event horizon, and
achieved that extension not with terrain or firepower, but with
     Over time,  the need for a detailed architecture of  the
battlefield became apparent in the Marine Corps. While maneuver
warfare might be fine as a philosophy, or as a vision, there was
precious little in print about how to translate resolution - so
ably provided in Warfighting and its sisters - into directed,
coherent, consistent action. Talk of centers of gravity, critical
vulnerabilities, and schwerpunkt might be fine for theorists, but
such flowery prose provided little guidance on how to organize a
Marine  Expeditionary  Force  (MEF)  to  fight  a  maneuver-based
engagement. The answer was to be found in the Army's ALB, which had
taken a different approach to arrive at the same maneuverist end.
     The Army had always recognized that ALB doctrine at  the
battalion/task force level was maneuver warfare.25 Now, the Marine
Corps began to realize that maneuver warfare that integrated the
aviation combat element (ACE) of the MAGTF in a controlled deep
interdiction capacity  was, by any name, AirLand Battle.
     The preparation of FMFM-2,  MEF Doctrine  (Draft)  in  1992
introduced the Marine Corps to the functional subsystems of combat
operations that lend precision of thought to combat plans. In many
ways, FMFM-2 was a close cousin to FM 100-15, Corps Operations,
which described a similar environment. Basically, FMFM-2 introduced
two concepts that had always been fundamental to ALB, but were new
to the Marine Corps, at least as formal doctrine.
     The  first  was  a  battlefield  geometry  that  divided  the
battlefield  into  three  areas:  deep,  close,  and  rear.  This
geographic division had the effect of making commanders - at all
levels - extend their event horizon to encompass areas of interest
as well as areas of influence.26 It greatly extended the arena of
combat for all commanders. Organization of the ground could subtly
shape the organization of the commander's thinking.
     Organization in this manner also emphasized the importance of
the deep battle, fought beyond the Fire Support Coordination Line
(FSCL), largely by Marine aviation. In FMFM-2, the Aviation Combat
Element (ACE) found a consistent doctrine for its application and
synchronization for the first time. The Marine Corps had always
talked of its unique air-ground interactive team, but now there was
a doctrine that provided detailed guidance on how to get maximum
     Second was the  introduction of  the Battlefield Operating
Systems, or BOS concept of organizing combat functions. By grouping
functionally, planners were forced to think rationally, always
seeing and considering the  requirement  to coordinate  between
functional  areas.  FMFM-2  recognized  eight  primary  operating
systems: command and control, maneuver, engineer operations, air,
Click here to view image
				   Figure 1
fires, air defense, intelligence, and CSS.27 The hidden goal of
both these ideas was the ideal  of synchronization, which was
naturally reinforced by the BOS and the battlefield geometry.
Synchronization permitted combat and combat support systems to
obtain seamless coordination in time and space (See Figure 1).
     The force of these arguments was to resurrect the Marine Air
Ground Task  Force  headquarters  as  the  "warfighter."  Through
neglect, it had fallen into the slipstream of the Ground Combat
Element (GCE) in the seventies. Now, with a doctrine that called
for the capability to fight deep as well as close, it began to
enjoy a renaissance.  Indeed,  the Marine Corps'  long neglected
MAGTF doctrine seemed better designed for the principles of ALB
than the uneasy alliance of Army and Air Force. Under Marine
doctrine, a single headquarters could coordinate all elements of
the fight, without the need for inter-service coordination.
Click here to view image
     At the end of the millennium, maneuver warfare doctrine in the
Marine Corps moved beyond the partially formed visions of William
S. Lind and the enthusiasms of the "maneuverists," and firmly into
the organizing penumbra of AirLand Battle. From the complementary
but separate concepts of maneuver warfare and ALB, the Marine Corps
gradually -  and  largely unconsciously -  fashioned a Hegelian
synthesis (see Figure 2). This synthesis was the maneuver warfare
thinking of the early eighties, now codified and weighted with
precision  by  the  structural  organization  of  AirLand  Battle
     Concurrently, TRADOC began to refine the concepts of ALB,
publishing another 525-5 series pamphlet, AirLand Operations, in
1991. This permutation of ALB seemed to reflect Marine Corps
principles of a non-specific threat, and attempted to apply AirLand
Battle doctrine in a variety of expeditionary scenarios, moving
away from the Soviet model. Just as ALB had profoundly influenced
the Marine Corps, it seemed that the expeditionary philosophies of
the Corps had finally found a similarly receptive audience in the
     Warfare will grow increasingly complex into the next century. -
Our doctrine must reduce the inevitable friction, and conjure
opportunity. It
     must be whole and firm but not dogmatic. It must leave
     room for men of freewheeling genius, for such will be the
     aces of  the next war.  But  it must never surrender
     control, because control is the prerequisite of concerted
     Maneuver warfare, practiced within the organizing envelope of
AirLand Battle, will provide the doctrinal advantage the Marine
Corps needs to fight effectively in our traditional expeditionary
role into the next century. Marines of today are the intellectual
heirs of Pete Ellis and John Archer Lejeune, men who with great
courage and foresight redefined the future of the Marine Corps in
the first half of this century. We now live in equally turbulent
and exciting times. The same opportunities and responsibilities lie
before this generation of Marines. Maneuver warfare into the new
millennium is demanding and well suited to an organization that
created itself and its mission on the wings of man's thoughts. It
is warfare on the event horizon.
1.      Department of Defense,  Department of Defense Dictionary
of Military and Associated Terms, Pub 1-02 (Washington: Office of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989), p. 118.
2.      Wayne P. Hughes, Fleet Tactics: Theory and Practice
(Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press,1986), p. 28.
3.      R.A.D.  Applegate  and  J.R.  Moore,  "Warfare  - An  Option
of Difficulties:  An Examination of Forms of War and the Impact of
Military Culture" The RUSI Journal (Autumn 1990), 16.
4.      Theodore P.  Snow,  The Dynamic Universe:  An Introduction
to Astronomy (Los Angeles: West Publishing Co., 1988), p. 472. The
phrase "event horizon" is an astronomical and physics term which
denotes the surface of a black hole.  It is a point beyond which an
observer cannot see. Mathematically, it is not possible to ever see
"inside" the event horizon, for inside the event horizon all matter
converges to a singularity, or single point. For my purposes, the
phrase is broadened to mean an area where the doctrines and wills
of two forces clash. We still cannot see beyond it, but we can
expand our own event horizon, our area of control, by intelligent
development and application of doctrine. I need to further credit
Frederick Pohl, who introduced this concept to the world in a sense
beyond its purely arcane, technical meaning in his excellent novel,
Beyond the Blue Event Horizon.
5.      Applegate and Moore, op. cit.,  16-20. There is an excellent
expanded discussion of these ideas in this article. Much of the credit
for this model of analysis goes to them.
6.      Ibid., 17.
7.      Ibid.
8.      R.A. Doughty, The Evolution of U.S. Army Tactical Doctrine,
1946-1976 (Fort Leavenworth KS: Combat Studies Institute, 1979), p. 45.
9.      Department of the Army, Operations, FM 100-5 (Washington,
DC:  Department of the Army, 1976), pp. 3-4.
10.     Irwin Rommel, as quoted in Paul Carell, The Foxes of the Desert
(New York, NY: Dutton, 1960), p. 248.
11.     Doughty, op. cit., p. 46.
12.     U.S.  Army Field Artillery School,"Implementing the Airland
Battle," Field Artiller  Journal,(Sept-Oct 1981), 11-20.
13.     John J. Romjue, From Active Defense to AirLand Battle:  The
Development of Army Doctrine 1973-1982( Fort Monroe, VA: Historical
Office, TRADOC, 1984), p. 66.
14.     Department of the Army. Operations, FM 100-5,(Washington,
DC:  Department of the Army, 20 August 82), p. 2-4.
15.     William S. Lind,  "Defining Maneuver Warfare for the Marine
Corps," Marine Corps Gazette (March 1980), 56.
16.     Ibid.
17.     Alfred M. Gray,  "Untitled notes  for subordinate commanders
within the 2nd Marine Division," (Undated), 4-6.
18.     This board was established by DivO 12910.1, sometime in 1981.
Membership on the board was not rank restricted, the theory being
that tactical insight was not directly related to the rank of the Marine.
This was a commendable sentiment, but such an egalitarian approach
had  the unfortunate  effect of  damaging the  board's credibility among
the division's senior commanders, and ultimately probably hurt the cause
of maneuver warfare more than it helped.
19.     Alfred M. Gray, "Prefatory Notes," Maneuver Warfare Newsletter
#1, (undated), 1.
20.     2nd Marine Division Chief of Staff to Distribution List, Memo
57-81, Subj: Maneuver Warfare Reading Packets, dtd 6 Oct 81.
21.     William  S.  Lind,  Maneuver  Warfare  Handbook  (Boulder,
CO:  Westview Press, 1985), p.1.
22.     Marine  Corps  Combat  Development  Command,  Ground
Combat Operations, OH 6-1 (Quantico, VA: MCCDC, 1988), pp. C-1,
23.     United States Marine Corps, Warfighting, FMFM-1, (Washington,
DC:  HQMC, 1989), p. 59.
24.     John F. Kelly, et al., Armor/Anti-Armor Operations in Southwest
Asia, (Quantico, VA:  Marine Corps Research Center, 1991), p. 29.
25.     Department of  the Army,  The Tank  and Mechanized  Infantry
Battalion Task Force FM 71-2, (Washington, DC: Department of the
Army, 1988), p. 1-3.
26.     An area of influence was the area that a commander could
address with his organic weapons. An area of interest was the area that
a commander needed to be informed about on a continual basis, because
developments there would eventually impact on his force.. An area of
interest obviously encompassed a far greater space than an area of
influence. Often, areas of influence were expressed in terms of closure
times for major enemy formations. The net effect was to
expand event horizons.
27.     Marine Corps Combat Development Command, MEF Doctrine,
FMFM-2 Draft (Quantico:  MCCDC, 1992), p. 7.
28.     Hughes, op. cit., p. 31.
Applegate, R.A.D., and Moore, J.R.  "Warfare - An Option of Difficulties:
	An Examination of Forms of War and the Impact of Military
	Culture."  The RUSI Journal, Autumn 1990.
Carell, Paul.  The Foxes of the Desert. New York, NY:  Dutton, 1960.
Department of the Army.  Corps Operations, FM 100-15.  Washington,
	DC:  Department of the Army, 1989.
Department of the Army. Operations, FM 100-5. Washington, DC:
	Department of the Army, 1976.
Department of the Army. Operations, FM 100-5. Washington, DC:
	Department of the Army, 1982.
Department  of  the  Army.  The  Tank  and  Mechanized  Infantry
	Battalion Task Force, FM 71-2. Washington, DC: Department
	of the Army, 1988.
Department  of  Defense.  Department  of  Defense  Dictionary  of
	Military and Associated Terms, Publication 1-02. Washington:
	Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989.
Doughty, B.R.A. The Evolution of U.S. Army Tactical Doctrine,
	1946-1976. Fort Leavenworth KS: Combat Studies Institute,
Field Artillery School. "Implementing the AirLand Battle." Field
	Artillery School Journal, Sept-Oct 1981.
Gray, A.M.  "Prefatory Notes." Maneuver Warfare Newsletter #1.
Gray, A.M. "Untitled Notes for Subordinate Commanders Within the
	2nd Marine Division." Undated.
Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. Campaigning, FMFM 1-1.
	Washington, DC: HQMC, 1990.
Headquarters,  United States Marine  Corps.  Tactics,  FMFM  1-3.
	Washington, DC: HQMC, 1991.
Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. The Marine Division,
	FMFM 6-1. Washington, DC: HQMC, 1974.
Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. The Marine Division,
	FMFM 6-1. Washington, DC: HQMC, 1978.
Headquarters, United States Marine Corps. Warfighting , FMFM-1.
	Washington, DC:  HQMC, 1989.
Hughes, Wayne P. Fleet Tactics:  Theory and Practice. Annapolis,
	MD: USNI Press, 1986.
Kelley, J.F., et al. Armor/Anti-Armor Operations in Southwest
	Asia. Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Research Center, 1991.
Lind, William S. "Defining Maneuver Warfare for the Marine
	Corps." Marine Corps Gazette, March 1980.
Lind, William S. Maneuver Warfare Handbook. Boulder,CO: Westview
	Press, 1985.
Marine   Corps   Combat   Development   Command.   Ground  Combat
	Operations, OH 6-1. Quantico, VA: MCCDC, 1988.
Marine Corps Combat Development  Command.  MEF Doctrine  FMFM-2
	(Draft). Quantico, VA: MCCDC, 1992.
Romjue,  John  J.  From Active  Defense  to AirLand  Battle:  The
	Development of Army Doctrine 1973-1982.  Fort Monroe,  VA:
	Historical Office, TRADOC, 1984.
Second Marine Division Chief of Staff Memo 57-81 dtd 6 Oct 81.
Snow,  Theodore  P.  The  Dynamic  Universe:  An  Introduction  to
	Astronomy. Los Angeles: West Publishing Co., 1988.
Starry,  Don A.  "Extending  the Battlefield." Military Review, March, 1981.
Training and Doctrine Command. AirLand Battle, TRADOC PAM 525-5.
	Fort Monroe, VA: TRADOC, 1981.
Training and Doctrine Command. AirLand Operations, TRADOC PAM
	525-5. Fort Monroe, VA: TRADOC, 1991.

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