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QPME: History and Traditions of the United States Marine Corps: Ethics, Values, and Leadership Development

Marine Corps Leadership: Objective

The Objective of Marine Corps Leadership (OMCL), which appears in the Marine Corps Manual, is the progeny of General Lejeune’s vision of holistic development. The OMCL first appeared in the 1961 version of the Marine Corps Manual, its fifth revision, and has carried over to the current (1980) version virtually unchanged: It is “to develop the leadership qualities of Marines to enable them to assume progressively greater responsibilities to the Marine Corps and society.

Most notably, the OMCL makes no distinction between responsibilities to the Marine Corps and responsibilities to society. This is an expression of the idea, still held in the Corps today, that the skills that make basically competent Marines also make basically competent citizens -- hence the oft-quoted Marine-ism that the Marine Corps “wins battles, makes Marines and better citizens." This Marine-ism appears in various ways in supporting doctrinal publications such as MCWP 6-10 Leading Marines, and MCTP 6-10A Sustaining the Transformation.

Another important observation on the OMCL is that it is responsibility-centric – it is not directed toward making expert killers or brilliant military strategists, though this is often a positive consequence of the Marine Corps’ design of making leaders. Rather, the OMCL is focused on enabling the ability to take on more responsibility and lead Marines, tempered with the understanding that the relationship between the leader and the led is akin to that of a father to a son.


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