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Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia


The President, Marine Corps University, is the Marine Corps' Professional Military Education (PME) proponent. Through its resident and non-resident programs, the Marine Corps University develops the professional competence of its Marines, other service, international, and civilian students. Graduates are prepared to perform with increased effectiveness in service, joint, interagency, intergovernmental and multinational environments at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels of war, across the range of military operations. 


Marine Corps University/Education Command educates Marines to prevail in combat.


Be the premier institution where warfighters explore history’s lessons, integrate novel technology, and emerge as the most capable, sought-after leaders in the ever-evolving landscape of conflict. We are dedicated to fostering a culture of continuous professional military education, strategic thinking, and excellence, equipping our graduates to face future challenges with resilience and to lead with unwavering honor, courage, and commitment.


Upholding our legacy as an elite fighting force, we preserve and present the history of the United States Marine Corps to our successors and the public.


We educate Marines to be pioneers and lifelong learners of critical thinking, collaboration, initiative, and leadership.


Highly disciplined in planning, decision making, and execution, we develop Marines to deliver timely, relevant, and compelling solutions to complex problems.


We are at a point in our history that is marked by increasing uncertainty and evolving threats to our nation’s security. History tells us that professional military education assumes a particularly important role in facilitating change during this kind of strategic inflection point. Like war itself, the nature of professional learning is enduring, as encapsulated by General Alfred M. Gray’s vision for the university to “teach officers and NCOs to win in combat by out-thinking as well as out-fighting their opponents.” However, our understanding of the role of learning as it pertains to the profession of arms must continue to evolve to ensure that our programs remain rigorous, relevant, and responsive as the character of war changes. 

This strategic plan provides a roadmap for university leaders to follow in the continued pursuit of General Gray’s original intent, nested within the context of the vision of the future articulated by our current Commandant, General David H. Berger, in the forthcoming Training and Education 2030. In implementation, we must frame our efforts in accordance with the following enduring themes: 

1. Students are the main effort. Our foundational goal is to develop in our students a maneuver warfare mindset and to graduate leaders who are better prepared to thrive in the operating environment envisioned for 2030. 

2. Faculty are the center of gravity. We will actively recruit, develop, and retain the civilian and military faculty best able to provide high-quality instruction and who are capable of anticipating and responding to emerging educational requirements. 

3. A culture of continuous improvement is our bid for success. We must sustain ongoing efforts to automate institutional assessments and obtain feedback from the FMF in order to inform adaptations to our curricula and supporting programs. 

4. Our understanding of history is a strength. We will continue to excel in our efforts to inform the public of the Service’s role in national defense. Likewise, our students must be imbued with an understanding of history to increase understanding and improve decision-making. 

5. Infrastructure provides the foundation. Our facilities, information and education technologies, and outreach activities must maximize learning and research opportunities for both students and faculty. I am extremely proud of the considerable work that went into developing this plan and am confident that our collective efforts in implementation will not only facilitate the achievement of our institutional goals, but will also enable us to support the broader strategic vision of the Commandant by producing graduates capable of leading the Marine Corps into the future. To that end, all MCU leaders will aggressively implement this strategic plan and will be prepared to adapt the plan in execution. 

Walker M. Field 
Brigadier General, U.S. Marine Corps 
Commanding General, Education Command 
President, Marine Corps University 
29 March 2022


The ideals expressed in the mission and vision are realized in the stated goals of the strategic plan. These goals, or LOEs, identify six major areas of focus for the commitment of intellectual, economic, and physical resources over the next five years.

Goal 1. Individuals who think critically and solve complex problems creatively in a dynamic environment. (Professional Learning)

Goal 2. Develop and maintain an effective, transparent, collaborative, and responsive organizational structure in order to foster a culture of continuous learning and improvement. (Organizational Strength)

Goal 3. Provide state-of-the-art facilities and cutting-edge technologies in order to facilitate Marine Corps University’s innovative and global learning environment (Infrastructure and Technology)

Goal 4. Strengthen faculty and staff development opportunities in order to promote professional experience. (Faculty and Staff Development)

Goal 5. Broaden connections with national security, academic, and public audiences in order to enrich MCU scholarship, research, publishing, and academic collaboration. (Outreach, Partnership, Research, and Strategic Communication)

Goal 6. Collect, preserve, interpret, and communicate the history of the Marine Corps in order to inform and educate the Total Force and the general public of the Marine Corps’ role in national security. (Preserve and Present Marine Corps History)

**View the full version of the Strategic Plan

The University

Marine Corps University consists of six colleges and schools, nine programs, seven academic support elements, history division, and museum. Schools:  Marine Corps War College (MCWAR), School of Advanced Warfighting (SAW), Command and Staff College (CSC), Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS), College of Distance Education and Training (CDET), and College of Enlisted Military Education (Enlisted College).


Executive Education Program (EEP), Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) Fellowship Program, Foreign Professional Military Education (FPME), Senior Enlisted PME (SEPME), Marine Corps Civilian Leadership Development Program (MCCLDP), CMC Combined Commanders Course (Cornerstone), Strategy and Policy Course (SPC), Reserve Senior Staff Course (RSSC), and Commandant’s Professional Reading List (CPRL).

Academic Support Elements

The Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Future Warfare (Krulak Center), Center for Regional and Security Studies (CRSS), Leadership Communications Skills Center (LCSC), Lejeune Leadership Institution (LLI), Gray Research Center (GRC), Marine Corps University Press (MCUP), and Middle East Studies (MES).

United States Marine Corps History Division (HD)

National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC)


Marine Corps University (MCU) was founded on 1 August 1989 by order of the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray.  Although the University is a relatively new organization, its conceptual roots trace back to World War I and the birth of the modern Marine Corps.  General Gray’s decision to establish MCU was a logical extension of the historical legacy of many famous Marine leaders who valued the importance of education, as well as a natural extension of the contemporary shift of the Corps’ warfighting doctrine to one of “maneuver warfare,” with its concomitant demand for leaders who can think critically and act decisively in the face of ambiguity, fog, friction, and chance.

The experiences of the First World War demonstrated to Major General John A. Lejeune the need to properly educate Marines of all ranks in the art and science of war.  As the roles and missions of the Corps began to expand, and based on the hard-won lessons of combat operations in France, General Lejeune insisted that adequate time be allotted for the study of weapons and their proper tactical employment.  Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler, realizing the importance of military education for the core of professional officers, later built upon General Lejeune’s concepts by developing two additional courses of instruction.  The first, called the Field Officers School, welcomed its inaugural class in October 1920.  The second, the Company Grade Officers School, convened its first class in July 1921.  These two courses, along with the basic Marine Corps Officer Training School, soon renamed The Basic School, formed the foundation for what General Lejeune termed “Marine Corps Schools.”  It was this beginning that formed the basis of the Marine Corps University that exists today.

During the interwar period, visionaries such as Major Earl “Pete” Hancock Ellis and Colonel Robert H. Dunlap, whose names now grace Marine Corps University buildings, foresaw the need for the study and development of amphibious warfare.  In the late 1920s, comprehensive instruction in amphibious operations was developed and implemented in anticipation of the demanding requirements of this new mission.  To increase the student base of the expanding Marine Corps Schools, correspondence courses were also established at this time to parallel the resident courses. 

Beginning in 1930, Brigadier General James C. Breckinridge led a comprehensive redesign of the entire curriculum of all Marine Corps Schools, emphasizing amphibious warfare and close air support.  Breckinridge required his officers to not only become specialists in this new “Marine Corps Science,” he also demanded they become skilled instructors.  He formed special groups from selected Field Officers School graduates and students to work on amphibious doctrine and requirements.  In fact, General Breckinridge temporarily discontinued Field Officers School classes so that the staff and students could devote their full attention to developing the new doctrine. 

As a reflection of the importance of this new mission, the Marine Corps re-designated the Junior Course for company grade officers and the Senior Course for field grade officers as “Amphibious Warfare” courses.  The critical thinking, research, and doctrinal innovations produced by the staff and students of these programs contributed directly to the dramatic amphibious successes during World War II.  Given the incredible manpower demands of that conflict, both Amphibious Warfare Courses suspended classes for the duration; however, in 1943, an operationally oriented three month “Command and Staff Course” opened at Quantico based on the need for school-trained, field grade officers with commensurate skills to serve in the Pacific Theater. 

In 1946, the Marine Corps reestablished a three-tiered, professional military education system and incorporated lessons learned from World War II and emerging concepts related to warfare in the atomic age into the curricula of the Amphibious Warfare Senior and Junior Courses.  In the 1950s, the curricula of both schools changed again, incorporating the tenets of vertical envelopment and the challenges of employing helicopters in the conduct of amphibious operations. 

On 1 August 1964, the Amphibious Warfare Senior Course was re-designated as the Command and Staff College (CSC).  At the same time, the Amphibious Warfare Junior Course became the Amphibious Warfare School (AWS).  Amphibious operations remained the theme in both courses throughout the 1970s.  On 16 February 1971, the Marine Corps convened the first course of the Staff Noncommissioned Officer Academy at Quantico, Virginia.  In 1981, the Corps deepened its commitment to enlisted professional military education, establishing the Noncommissioned Officer Basic Course at 18 sites and a “Senior Course” for Staff Sergeants at Quantico, Virginia.  The following year, an “Advanced Course” for First Sergeants and Master Sergeants was implemented at Quantico, Virginia.

The late 1980s once again brought significant change to the Marine Corps professional military education system.  These changes were precipitated by the introduction of maneuver warfare as an operational philosophy, as codified by the publication of FMFM-1 Warfighting on 6 March 1989.  Also in 1989, as an extension of the need to modernize the Marine Corps professional military education system to accommodate the demands of maneuver warfare, General Gray ordered the consolidation of five independent Marine Corps schools into a single Marine Corps University.

Throughout the 1990s, MCU continued to evolve to ensure that its curricula remained relevant and responsive to the needs of the Marine Corps.  In 1990, MCU established an “Art of War Studies Program” for senior officers and, one year later, this program evolved into the Marine Corps War College (MCWAR), thus establishing a formal venue within the Marine Corps for senior-level officer professional military education.  Also in 1990, the enlisted Advanced Course became a course for Gunnery Sergeants.  Other new programs and courses established during this period included: a Commanders’ Course for all Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels slated for command (1993); annual E-8 Seminars and E-9 Symposiums (1994); a Logistics Instruction Branch (1995); and a First Sergeants course (1997).  The year 1997 also marked the creation of the College of Continuing Education, which integrated all officer and enlisted distance education programs under a single entity. 

In 1999, MCU marked a major milestone in the maturation of its educational programs as the University was accredited by the prestigious Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) to award a master’s degree at the Command and Staff College.  This was followed shortly thereafter by accreditation of the master’s degrees of both the Marine Corps War College (2001) and the Schools of Advanced Warfighting (2003). 

The early 2000s saw a number of organizational changes that impacted MCU.  Most significantly, the Commandant established Training and Education Command (TECOM) in 2000, and designated the CG TECOM as the higher headquarters for MCU.  At the same time, the Commandant also designated the President, MCU as the Commanding General, Education Command (EDCOM).  These changes resulted in a realignment of subordinate elements within the broader TECOM enterprise – most significantly Officer Candidates School, The Basic School, and the College of Continuing Education (renamed the College of Distance Education and Training (CDET)).     

In 2002, the Amphibious Warfare School and the Command and Control Systems Course merged to become the Expeditionary Warfare School (EWS).  In 2003, the Logistics Instruction Branch was re-designated the School of MAGTF Logistics (SOML) and subsequently transferred to Training Command.  The year 2003 also saw the establishment of the Senior Leader Development Program (SLDP) to manage General Officer education.  The SLDP evolved to become the Executive Education Program (EEP) under the auspices of a new entity at MCU – the Lejeune Leadership Institute (LLI) – which is responsible for the development of leadership programs across the Marine Corps.

In 2005, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools reaffirmed the regional accreditation of MCU’s three graduate degrees.  This was followed in 2010 by the successful submission of the University’s Fifth Year Interim Report to the Commission.  MCU’s ability to meet the rigorous requirements of these reviews attested to the continued excellence of these programs and to the credibility of the academic programs and processes employed by the University.

On 10 November 2006, the National Museum of the Marine Corps (NMMC) opened at its current location in Triangle, Virginia near MCB Quantico.  The NMMC – which falls under Education Command – replaced both the Marine Corps Historical Center in the Washington Navy Yard and the Marine Corps Air-Ground Museum in Quantico, Virginia.

In 2010, the President, MCU established the MAGTF Instructional Group (MIG) to better support enlisted PME programs through the Senior Enlisted PME Course and to fill a void in formal education between top-level school and general officer professional military education requirements, through the establishment of the Strategy & Policy Course. 

In 2012, the Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (CAOCL), which creates and executes language, region, and culture learning programs for all Marines, became part of MCU.  In 2013, CDET returned to MCU, reflecting the continuing efforts of the Marine Corps to seamlessly integrate resident and non-resident professional military education and to leverage technology to better serve the educational needs of all Marines.

In October 2015, the Marine Corps Institute (MCI) was disestablished and its mission and functions were assumed by CDET.  Finally, in December 2015 the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools once again reaffirmed the regional accreditation of MCU’s three graduate degrees.

Recent changes at MCU include the establishment of the Brute Krulak Center for Innovation and Creativity, or the “Krulak Center” for short, and the re-designation of the Enlisted Professional Military Education (EPME) directorate as the College of Enlisted Military Education (CEME).

From the hard-won lessons of the First World War emerged a tradition of study and innovation that remains strong today and continues to serve the Marine Corps and the nation as a whole.  With an eye toward the enduring nature of war, the Marine Corps has and will always acknowledge the role of the individual Marine as the most important weapon system in our arsenal.  To this end, the Corps continues to emphasize the critical role of professional military education in developing and maintaining a professional cadre of Marine leaders that are resilient, adaptive, innovative, and imbued with the creativity and moral values required to make sound tactical and ethical decisions.  General Al Gray, 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, created MCU in 1989 to provide unity of effort to how we educate current and future leaders.  General Gray understood that, while training prepares Marines for the expected, education prepares them for the unexpected.  Consequently, the focus of professional military education should be to educate leaders regarding how to think, not what to think. 

The leadership of MCU remains grounded in General Gray’s original intent and vision, while at the same time working to identify and implement the educational advancements necessary to meet the demands of the future operating environment. The University seeks to enhance the intellectual capacity of the Corps by arming future leaders with the military judgment, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving skills necessary to out-think, as well as out-fight, their opponents.  All MCU colleges and schools are adapting their curricula and teaching methodologies to reflect the tenets of the Marine Operating Concept, to include increased emphasis on reinvigorating maneuver warfare, as well as integrating operations in the information environment and naval integration into coursework and exercises.  Particular emphasis is being placed on modernizing our enlisted education programs to ensure that graduates are prepared to assume additional leadership responsibility in distributed operations against multi-domain threats.

ALMAR 123/89 Activation of Marine Corps University

CMC Memo to CG MCCDC dated 1 July 1989


Commander's Guidance

Enduring Commander's Guidance


2024 Factbook

Command Brief

AY22-23 Command Brief

Strengthening Leadership

For over a decade, service posture statements and defense professionals have declared that future military leaders must prepare for an uncertain, complex environment in which wicked problems reign, resources dwindle, and unintended consequences dominate decision matrices. A strong grasp of history, refined analytical capacity, and an appreciation of doctrine are key to succeeding in this environment, but are insufficient on their own. The Center will focus on developing three concrete skill sets among MCU students: creativity and innovation to enable complex problem solving. Each is critical to the 21st century warfighter as both our adversaries and our operating environment grow more complex. Creativity is defined as the “production of novelty.” It encompasses developing an effective and unexpected departure from the familiar. Innovation is the process of using creativity to produce solution to recognized (and not yet recognized) problems. Complex problem solving is defined as solving multi-variant, dynamically interactive problems in situations of ambiguity. This QEP has identified three primary program goals:

  1. Improve students’ creative and innovative complex problem solving skills;

  2. Prepare civilian and military faculty successfully to create learning environments that enable creativity, innovation, and complex problem solving; and,

  3. Create mechanisms to integrate student research and learning opportunities across MCU and with larger USMC and DOD planning and development initiatives.

By developing an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish and by honing students’ capacity for creativity, innovation, and complex problem solving, MCU will enhance student learning, fully meet the mission and vision of the university, and position students to be more competent leaders and decision makers in the challenging times ahead.

About the QEP

The SACS Principles of Accreditation note:

     Effective institutions demonstrate a commitment to principles of continuous improvement, based on a systematic and documented process of assessing institutional performance with respect to mission in all aspects of the institution. An institutional planning and effectiveness process involves all programs, services, and constituencies; is linked to the decision-making process at all levels; and provides a sound basis for budgetary decisions and resource allocations.
     The Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) is an integral component of the reaffirmation of accreditation process and is derived from an institution’s ongoing comprehensive planning and evaluation processes. It reflects and affirms a commitment to enhance overall institutional quality and effectiveness by focusing on an issue the institution considers important to improving student learning outcomes and/or student success.

SACS evaluates the QEP according to the following standards:

1. The institution engages in ongoing, comprehensive, and integrated research-based planning and evaluation processes that (a) focus on institutional quality and effectiveness and (b) incorporate a systematic review of institutional goals and outcomes consistent with its mission. (Institutional Planning) [CR]
2. The institution has a QEP that (a) has a topic identified through its ongoing, comprehensive planning and evaluation processes; (b) has broad-based support of institutional constituencies; (c) focuses on improving specific student learning outcomes and/or student success; (d) commits resources to initiate, implement, and complete the QEP; and (e) includes a plan to assess achievement. (Quality Enhancement Plan)
3. The institution identifies expected outcomes of its administrative support services and demonstrates the extent to which the outcomes are achieved. (Administrative effectiveness)


Board of Visitors

The Secretary of Defense, pursuant to 10 U.S.C. § 8592(d), and in accordance with the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA) (5 U.S.C., Appendix) and 41 C.F.R. § 102- 3.50(a), established this non-discretionary committee.

The Board of Visitors focuses primarily on the internal procedures of Marine Corps University and discusses matters pertaining to the Marine Corps University accreditation and other matters, including:  Mission and Vision Statement, applicable DoD Instructions, diversity, wargaming, and external engagement.

Marine Corps University Fall 2023 Board of Visitors Meeting Federal Register Notice

Marine Corps University Fall 2023 Board of Visitors Meeting Agenda


 Dr. James Henderson

University of Louisiana System 


Dr. Susan Bryant (USA, Ret.)
Executive Director
Strategic Education International


LtGen Mike Dana

(USMC, Ret.)
Senior Director
PALLAS Advisors

AMB John Melvin Jones
      Adjunct Professor
George Mason University
School of Business Management
School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs


Dr. Renu Khator
University of Houston
System President
University of Houston
 Professor of Political Science


Dr. Brian Linn
Professor of History
Texas A&M University


SgtMaj Mario Marquez (USMC, Ret.)
Director, National Security
The American Legion
Washington, D.C. National Headquarters 


LtGen Loretta Reynolds (USMC, Ret.)
 CEO, LEReynolds Group 



Fall 2023 Board of Visitors Meeting Federal Register Notice

The Board of Visitors of the Marine Corps University (BOV MCU) will meet to review, develop and provide recommendations on all aspects of the academic and administrative policies of the University; examine all aspects of professional military education operations; and provide such oversight and advice, as is necessary, to facilitate high educational standards and cost-effective operations. The Board will be focusing primarily on the internal procedures of Marine Corps University.


The meeting will be held:

Monday, 18 September 2023, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. (Pacific Time Zone)

Tuesday, 19 September 2023, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (Pacific Time Zone)


The meeting will be held at Camp Pendleton, California.

Education Center
Building 23195
Marine Corps Air Station, Camp Pendleton, CA  92055

All sessions of the meeting will be open to the public via:    

Microsoft Teams:​en-us/​microsoft-teams/​join-a-meeting?​rtc=​1

Meeting ID:  257 829 522 460 
Passcode:  nTQqLr
Or call in (audio only):  +1 323–792–6328, United States, Los Angeles
Phone Conference ID:  979 155 738#


Dr. Kim Florich
Director of Faculty Development and Outreach
Marine Corps University Board of Visitors
2076 South Street, Quantico, Virginia  22134
Telephone Number:  703–432–4837



Marine Corps University