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Command is defined as the authority that a commander in the Armed Forces

lawfully exercises over subordinates by virtue of rank or assignment.

Command includes the authority and responsibility to effectively use available

resources to organize, direct, coordinate, control, and plan the employment of
military forces for the accomplishment of assigned missions.

It also includes responsibility for the health, welfare, morale, and discipline of
assigned personnel

A clear and concise expression of the purpose of the operation and the desired
military end state supports mission command, provides focus to the staff, and helps
subordinate and supporting commanders act to achieve the commander's desired
results without further orders, even when the operation does not unfold as planned.

There are two parts to every mission:

The task that clearly indicates the action to be taken

The purpose or reason for the action

Subordinates must have a clear understanding of what their commander expects.

Further, they should understand the intent of the commander at least two levels up.

Chain of command is the succession of commanding officers from a superior to a

subordinate through which command is exercised.

All orders and instructions from higher echelons to lower echelons should be issued
through the chain of command. An individual or unit must have but one immediate

commander from who all orders and instructions related to a given function are


To assist commanders at all levels to achieve their primary responsibility of

accomplishing the unit's mission, while caring for personnel and property in their


Two-way communication: Subordinates must be able to communicate with seniors,

as much as seniors must communicate with subordinates.

Responsibilities are clearly defined for both senior and subordinate.

Each individual knows to whom they are responsible and for whom they are

The responsibility of the commanders for their commands is absolute except to the
extent that the commander is relieved of responsibility by competent authority or
by regulations.

While the commander may delegate authority to subordinates for the execution of
details, such delegation of authority does not relieve the commander of
responsibility for the safety, well-being, and efficiency of the entire command.

The commander shall ensure that the delegated authority is properly exercised and
that orders and instructions are properly executed.

The authority of the commander is equal with the commander's responsibility,

subject to the limitations prescribed by law and regulations


Marine Corps Order 1700.23F defines request mast, which is a process that
preserves the right of every Marine to directly seek assistance from, or
communicate grievances to, their commanding officers.

A Marine may request mast to any commanding officer in their chain of command,
up to and including the immediate commanding general.

Although an individual may be granted the privilege of forwarding an application for

request mast with higher commanders such as the Commandant of the Marine
Corps or the Secretary of the Navy, the individual has no vested right to request
mast with such higher commander.

Commanders shall:

Institute and maintain the Commandants Request Mast program and publish the
request mast order.

Ensure that all personnel are familiar with request mast policy and procedures.

Establish and monitor follow-up procedures to ensure each request mast issue is
resolved in a timely manner and no action adverse or prejudicial to the interests of
any Marine results from the Marine's exercise of the right to request mast.

Ensure compliance with applicable provisions of Marine Corps Order 1700.23F.

Exercise those disciplinary or administrative options considered appropriate if a

Marine interferes with, or reprises against, any Marine exercising his or her right to
request mast.
Here are some procedures for requesting mast:

The Marine requesting mast must submit a request in writing (either NAVMC 11296
or standard letter format) to the commander in their chain of command with whom
they are requesting mast.

Although intermediate commanders will attempt to resolve the issue, the request
mast should spend no more than one working day at each level of command.

Marines will be afforded the opportunity to request mast in person except under
extraordinary circumstances.

Commanders will hear emergency cases as soon as initially submitted. Some

criteria that make a request mast an emergency include
Whether the Marine is subject to an ongoing hardship (e.g., delay in receiving pay)
The severity of the hardship
If the issue will remain unresolved upon a certain date, time, or expected event in
the future (e.g., request for leave to attend a relative's funeral being denied)
Commanders rely on the staff to control and coordinate planning and execution of
the operation within the guidance of their intent. The staff develops and
implements the commander's plan and serves the commander to allow the
commander freedom to exercise command. The staff also supports subordinate
commanders to ensure the successful accomplishment of assigned tasks
The role of the staff is to assist the commander in accomplishing the mission in
accordance with the commander's intent. The staff accomplishes this through
gathering and presenting information to the commander to make decisions, and
providing oversight of their respective functions to ensure execution of those

All staff officers perform the following duties:

Advise the commander with respect to their functional areas of interest.

Prepare, update, and maintain staff estimates.

Prepare plans and orders and monitor execution of decisions.

Process, analyze, and disseminate information.

Identify and analyze problems.

Conduct internal, vertical, and horizontal staff coordination.

Train and supervise staff sections.

Exercise staff cognizance over assigned areas.

S-1 is the manpower officer for all matters on manpower management, personnel
administration, and headquarters management. Every unit staff has a manpower
The S-2 has staff responsibility for intelligence and intelligence operations. The
commander relies on the intelligence officer to provide information on weather,
terrain, and enemy capabilities, status, and intentions.
The S-3 is the principal staff officer for all matters on training, plans, operations, and
organization. Every unit staff has an operations officer
The S-4 is the principal staff officer for all logistic matters. The S-4 plans,
coordinates, and supervises the provision for the battalion/squadron in the areas of
supply, maintenance, transportation, health services, engineer support, landing
support, materials handling, food services, mortuary affairs, and host-nation
support. Every unit staff has a logistics officer.
The S-6 is the principal staff officer for all communication information systems (CIS)
matters. Every unit staff has a CIS officer.
The Marine air-ground task force (MAGTF) is the Marine Corps' principal organization
for all missions across the range of military operations, composed of forces taskorganized under a single commander capable of responding rapidly to a
contingency anywhere in the world.
The types of forces in the MAGTF are functionally grouped into four core elements
detailed to the right.
The four core elements are categories of forces, not formal commands.
The headquarters is the core element of a MAGTF. The command element is
composed of the commander, general or executive and special staff sections,
headquarters section, and requisite communications support, intelligence, and
reconnaissance forces necessary to accomplish the mission. The command element
provides command and control, intelligence, and other support essential for

effective planning and execution of operations by the other elements of the MAGTF.
The command element varies in size and composition.
The aviation combat element provides all or a portion of the six functions of Marine
aviation necessary to accomplish the MAGTFs mission. These functions are:
Antiair warfare
Offensive air support
Assault support
Electronic warfare
Air reconnaissance
Control of aircraft and missiles
The aviation combat element is usually composed of an aviation unit headquarters
and various other aviation units or their detachments. It can vary in size from a
small aviation detachment of specifically required aircraft to one or more Marine
aircraft wings.
It is usually constructed around an infantry organization but can vary in size from a
small ground unit of any type to one or more Marine divisions that can be
independently maneuvered under the direction of the MAGTF commander. It
includes appropriate ground combat and combat support forces, and in a joint or
multinational environment, it may contain other Service or multinational forces
assigned or attached to the MAGTF.
The logistics combat element varies in size from a small detachment to one or more
force service support groups. It provides supply, maintenance, transportation,
general engineering, health services, and a variety of other services to the MAGTF.
In a joint or multinational environment, it may also contain other Service or
multinational forces assigned or attached to the MAGTF
The basic structure of the MAGTF never varies, though the number, size, and type of
Marine Corps units comprising each of its four elements will always be mission
The MAGTF provides a combatant commander or other operational commander
with a versatile expeditionary force capable of responding to a broad range of crisis
and conflict situations. MAGTFs organized, trained, and equipped to perform
missions ranging from
Humanitarian assistance
Intense combat
MAGTFs operate in permissive, uncertain, and hostile environments, and they may
be shore- or sea-based in support of joint and multinational major operations and/or

MAGTFs deploy as amphibious, air-contingency, or maritime pre-positioning forces

(MPFs), either as part of a naval expeditionary force or via strategic lift.
The Marine expeditionary force (MEF) is the largest Marine air-ground task force
(MAGTF) and the Marine Corps' principal warfighting organization for larger crises or
It is task-organized around a permanent command element and normally consists of
one or more Marine divisions, Marine aircraft wings, and Marine logistics groups
The MEF is used for major warfighting situations, and it has the following
It is normally commanded by a lieutenant general.
The MEF consists of 20K-90K personnel, which includes the following elements:
- Command element (CE): MEF staff
- Ground combat element (GCE): A Marine division
- Aviation combat element (ACE): A Marine aircraft wing
- Logistics combat element (LCE): A Marine logistics group
Marine expeditionary brigades (MEBs) are embedded within each of the three
Each MEF forward deploys Marine expeditionary units (MEUs) on a continuous
The size of a MEF fluctuates, depending on the mission, ranging from less than one
to multiple divisions or aircraft wings. A MEF can deploy with forces attached from
the other standing MEFs as well as from the reserves
A Marine expeditionary brigade (MEB) is a MAGTF constructed around a reinforced
infantry regiment, a composite Marine aircraft group, and a combat logistics
The MEB is commanded by a general officer and task-organized to meet the
requirements of a specific situation. It can function as part of a joint task force, as
the lead echelon of the MEF, or alone.
It varies in size and composition, and it is larger than a MEU, but smaller than a MEF.
The MEB is capable of conducting missions across the full range of military
In a joint or multinational environment, the MEB may contain other Service or
multinational forces, assigned or attached.
The MEB is our main effort in force development, and it has the following
It is the premier response force for small-scale contingencies.

It is composed of 3K-20K personnel.

Each MEB contains the following elements:
- Command element (CE): MEB staff
- Ground combat element (GCE): Regimental combat team (RCT)
- Aviation combat element (ACE): Composite Marine aircraft group (MAG)
- Logistics combat element (LCE): Combat logistics regiment (CLR)
MEBs are uniquely organized and equipped to respond to a full range of crises,
from forcible entry to humanitarian assistance.
It is a mid-sized MAGTF, normally commanded by a brigadier general.
MEBs provide transitional capability between the forward-deployed MEU and the
The command element of the MEB is embedded within the command element of
its parent MEF
A Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) is a MAGTF constructed around a reinforced
infantry battalion, a reinforced helicopter squadron, and a task-organized reinforced
combat logistics battalion.
It normally fulfills Marine Corps forward sea-based deployment requirements. The
MEU provides an immediate reaction capability for crisis response and is capable of
limited combat operations.
In a joint or multinational environment, it may contain other Service or multinational
forces assigned or attached to the MAGTF
The MEU has a forward presence of 1,500-3,000 personnel. It is composed of the
GCE: Reinforced infantry battalion
ACE: Reinforced composite helicopter squadron
LCE: Reinforced combat logistics battalion (CLB)
It is commanded by a colonel, usually deploying for six to seven months with
enough supplies to conduct operations ashore for fifteen days. It deploys as part of
an amphibious ready group (ARG), providing a combatant or operational
commander with a sea-based rapid-reaction force capable of executing a wide
variety of missions.
A MEU has a limited forcible entry capability, and it can facilitate the employment of
follow-on forces, including joint and combined forces as well as a MEF.
The ACE supports a MEU with a task-organized squadron that usually consists of a
mix of rotary-wing, short takeoff and landing aircraft, a Marine air control group

(MACG) detachment, and fixed and rotary- wing Marine aviation logistics squadron
(MALS) detachments.
The mission of MARFORRES is to augment and reinforce active Marine forces in time
of war, national emergency or contingency operations, provide personnel and
operational tempo relief for the active forces in peacetime, and provide service to
the community.
The U.S. Constitution provides the framework for civilian control of the Armed
As prescribed by law, the President, or the Secretary of Defense, the Department of
Defense (DOD) will maintain and employ Armed Forces to:
Support and defend the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic.
Ensure, by timely and effective military action, the security of the U.S., its
territories, and areas vital to its interests.
Uphold and advance the national policies and interests of the U.S.
The President is both the head of state and head of government of the United States
of America, and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces.
Under Article II of the Constitution, the President is responsible for the execution
and enforcement of the laws created by Congress, and appoints the heads of the
federal agencies, including the Cabinet.
The President has the power to:
Sign legislation into law or to veto bills enacted by Congress, although Congress
may override a veto with a two-thirds vote of both houses.
Negotiate and sign treaties, which also must be ratified by two-thirds of the
Issue executive orders, which direct executive officers or clarify and further
existing laws.
Extend pardons and clemencies for federal crimes, except in cases of
The Secretary of Defense (SecDef) is the principal assistant to the President in all
matters relating to DOD.
The DOD provides the United States with military forces needed to deter war and
protect the security of the country.
All functions in the DOD and its component agencies are performed under the
authority, direction, and control of the SecDef.
The SecDef is responsible to the President for creating, supporting, and employing
military capabilities. The SecDef:

Assigns responsibilities and prescribes procedures for personnel readiness for all
DOD employees including military, civilian, and contractors.
Provides authoritative direction and control over the Services through the
secretaries of the military departments
There are three military departments within the Department of Defense, each
headed by their own secretary (i.e., Secretary of the Army, Secretary of the Navy,
and Secretary of the Air Force), appointed by the President, with the advice and
consent of the Senate