In 1992 the Commandant of the Marine Corps (CMC) established a resident commanders program for board selected and slated colonels and lieutenant colonels. The Spouses Workshop was established in March of 1993 to build on the successes of the Commanders Course. The workshop’s purpose is to help prepare spouses of slated commanders for their role as team members in the command. In 2013, the Commandant and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps established a resident program for newly selected sergeants major which was to similarly mirror the goals and purpose of the Commanders Course.
In past years the Commanders Program and Sergeants Major Course were deliberately offset from one another which only provided one-week for combined training on specific portions of their particular courses. Additionally, the Spouses Workshop has historically only been available to commanders' spouses. In FY15, all three courses will be combined providing maximum opportunity for commanders and sergeants major to interact as well as a new opportunity for sergeants' major spouses to attend the Spouses Workshop. This new construct is formally titled "Cornerstone: The Commandant's Combined Commandership Course".
The President, Marine Corps University (MCU), as executive agent for the CMC and Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps, annually conducts two Cornerstone courses. Attendance is mandatory for commanders and sergeants major either prior to or shortly after taking command or assuming their role as a Senior Enlisted Advisor. Attendance for spouses, while not mandatory, is highly encouraged.