"I can't see how a single man could spend his time to better advantage than in the Marines."
- Dan Daly, 1919
The final component to understanding leadership in the Marine Corps is the concept of Transformation and Sustainment.
Transformation is, fairly summarized, as the belief that young men and women fro civilian society can be radically and holistically transformed in mind, body, and spirit in a relatively short period of time, emerging on the other side as something better than they once were: a United States Marine. Whether the new joins are officer candidates at Quantico or recruits at Parris Island or San Diego, all will endure some of the most emotionally, psychologically, and physically challenging events he or she has ever encountered.
The companions these challenges are the indoctrination of our Core Values, Leadership Traits and Principles, the legacy of a unique history as an elite fighting organization, and other cultural values and traditions that compose the fabric of the Corps. It is understood in the Marine Corps that the most important aspect of leading Marines is understanding, exactly, what it means to be a Marine.
As Transformation is such a key component of Marine leadership philosophy, it follows that sustaining this transformational change carries equal importance. It is of such importance that the Marine Corps has dedicated an entire doctrinal publication to this purpose: MCTP 6-10A Sustaining the Transformation. MCTP 6-10A goes to great lengths to explain potential challenges that might cause erosion of unit cohesion and other issues at the small unit level, and offers practical guidance on how to prevent the manifestation of these challenges.
The history and development of how the Marine Corps views leadership is important because it shows how the Corps has shaped and been shaped by not only our Naval roots, but by some of our most influential leaders as well as our sister services of the U.S. Armed Forces. According to MCWP 6-10 Leading Marines, the most important part of being a leader of Marines is understanding who we are as a Corps, our values, and our heritage. At least since the time of General Lejeune, leadership and leadership development are understood to be everything – leaders are responsible for their subordinates like a father is to a son, and it is a leader’s duty to develop his or her Marines holistically in mind, body, and spirit.
"In the last analysis, what the Marine Corps becomes is what we make of it during our respective watches. And that watch of each Marine is not confined to the time he spends on active duty. It lasts as long as he is “proud to bear the title of United States Marine.”
- General Louis H. Wilson, 26th CMC, 22 August 1975