December 2016

21st Century Combined Arms

Maximizing combat power, flexibility, and responsiveness
Volume 100, Issue 12

Maj Kevin J. Stepp

Staff, 3d MarDiv
Marine infantry may not always be the main effort.
Photo by Sgt Rebecca Floto.

The Marine Corps is a combined arms organization, but it has not always been so. After the amphibious advanced base force exercise on Culebra, Puerto Rico, in 1914, it was clear that the institution’s new mission would require it.1 LtCol Earl “Pete” Ellis, who observed the Culebra experiment, proposed a more balanced combined arms force in Advance Base Operations in Micronesia, his strategic net assessment of potential war in the Pacific.2 From 1935 to 1941, the Navy and Marine Corps experimented with different ways to employ such a force during amphibious operations. In a series of seven Fleet Landing Exercises (FLEX), the Marine Corps, under Commandant LtGen Thomas Holcomb, refined its force structure and mix of weapon systems.3 These exercises not only led to advances in naval ship-to-shore capabilities, but also allowed the Marine Corps to refine first its brigades and finally its divisions into combined arms forces. These efforts transformed a Marine Corps built for the Age of Sail into the modernized expeditionary force it remains today.

The combined arms approach is how the Marine Corps executes maneuver warfare. Rapid, flexible, and opportunistic maneuver can only be accomplished by a combined arms force, and diversity of means maximizes combat power, flexibility, and responsiveness. MCDP 1, Warfighting, describes it simply as, “The full integration of arms in such a way that to counteract one, the enemy must become more vulnerable to another.”4 Increasingly though, full is the operative word; the MAGTF must employ not just direct and indirect fires but all of its assets to achieve combined arms dilemmas. Mastery of combined arms fueled the Marine Corps’ success in the 20th century, but today there exists far more combat arms capabilities. Therefore, our view of combined arms must expand in equal measure with the expanding capabilities of the MAGTF. Indeed, the Marine Corps operating concept states that,

The 21st Century MAGTF executes maneuver warfare through a combined arms approach that embraces information warfare as indispensable for achieving complementary effects across five domains—air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace.5

The Marine Corps will have to conduct combined arms across five domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace. To do so, our understanding of combined arms must be expanded for the current strategic environment.

Combined Arms in History

To understand combined arms warfare, we first have to understand its origins. Although there is evidence that earlier civilians, such as the Assyrians, managed to integrate multiple arms within their military forces, the initial development of an integrated approach is clearest in Ancient Greece. Warfare in ancient Greece was in constant flux, a product of continual tactical competition and the resultant adaptation. In the years after the Trojan War, two major powers dominated Aegean politics: Sparta, which focused on land power, and Athens, which focused on sea power.

This situation prevailed during the Persian Wars. Despite Hollywood depictions, the Greeks were just barely able to hold off Persian power only because Persia did not have the logistics to support longer efforts. It was the destruction of much of the Persian fleet at Salamis in 480 BC that forced a Persian withdrawal and allowed a combined Greek army to defeat the rear party left in Greece at Plataea the following year.

In the aftermath of the Persian defeat, Sparta and Athens turned on each other. During the Peloponnesian War, Athens had to confront Sparta on land. To defeat the superior Spartan hoplites, the Athenians combined irregular warfare tactics and its stronger navy during the amphibious Pylos and Sphacteria campaign on the Peloponnesian Coast in 425 BC. Despite this defeat, the Spartans eventually succeeded in winning the war by developing its own navy and defeating the Athenian fleet at Aegospotami.

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Despite being the now dominant Greek power, the Spartans ran into further trouble when they were defeated by Thebes under a general named Epaminondas. Epaminondas defeated the Spartan army by creating asymmetry of mass; at the Battle of Leuctra in 371 BC, the left wing of the Theban phalanx was weighted as a main effort. The best Theban troops were arranged 50 ranks deep instead of the traditional 8 ranks deep. Theban allied troops on the right wing, as a supporting effort, were instructed to withdraw slowly as the Spartans opposite them advanced. The withdrawal drew the Spartans forward, exposing their flank to the weighted Theban main effort. The Spartan Army suffered so many casualties that their supremacy in Greece was broken, and they never recovered.

This action and reaction of inter-Greek warfare was interrupted by the first regional power to integrate all the arms of warfare rather than just strengthening one arm to defeat another. The Macedonian Army under Philip IV was professionalized, trained, and improved. Rather than just improve one arm, however, Philip improved them all. The Macedonian phalanx was equipped with longer spears (18 feet versus 8 to 10 feet), and their light troops were trained alongside the hoplites and the cavalry. Integrated training of hoplites, peltasts (skirmishers armed with light javelins), and cavalrymen produced a combined arms force that melded the mass of the phalanx, the standoff firepower of the peltasts, and the mobility and shock of the cavalry.

The result of this revolution is clear in the historical record of Philip’s son, Alexander the Great. Alexander had little trouble conquering both Thebes and Athens. Sparta was so irrelevant after their earlier defeats that Alexander did not even bother with them. When Alexander invaded Persia, their masses of troops were not just held off by Alexander’s troops but rapidly shattered by his combined arms assault. Importantly, neither Phillip nor Alexander invented a single new capability or method, they were just the first to combine existing methods in a way that each complemented and supported the other.

With this Macedonian army, Alexander conquered the known world. He was only stopped by his own troops who, having conquered everything and everyone, only wanted to go home. The Romans would later institutionalize a modular, combined arms approach and would go on to even greater conquests, but, for a brief moment, Alexander was unstoppable.

Information warfare too has been integrated with maneuver for centuries. During Saladin’s campaigns to seize power in the Middle East in 1174 he repeatedly presented himself as acting in the interest of the previous ruler, then an 11-year-old boy based in Aleppo. Thinking Saladin an ally, cities opened their gates to his army. In this way, Saladin seized Damascus, Homs, and Hama in Syria with a tiny force and very little bloodshed.6

20th Century Combined Arms

It’s unnecessary here to further trace combined arms warfare through all of history. The approach truly came into its own and solidified in the 20th century. It revolved around the firepower of modern artillery and aviation, the mobility and protection of tanks, and the maneuverability of motorized and mechanized infantry forces. At the end of World War I, the Germans cracked the code of the static trench defense line. A combination of well-planned fire support, storm troop tactics, and well-chosen attacks on narrow frontages burst French and English lines wide open. The Germans, however, were unable to logistically sustain those offensives, allowing French, English, and American troops to shift troops and halt the offensive.

In the course of the 20th century, rapid-fire artillery, heavy machine guns, tanks, tank destroyers, fixed-wing and rotary-wing attack aviation were all introduced and relegated to separate, homogenous units.7 In every case, such an arrangement failed. New battlefield capabilities only reach their potential once they are integrated into a cohesive whole.

The Germans had gotten maneuver and fire support right but failed to put as much intellectual resources into studying the logistics piece. In World War II, however, they added enough follow-on troops to keep the offensives going, chose points of infiltration opposite railheads, and designed motorized logistics trains attached to panzer divisions, better at supporting assaulting forces than horse-drawn logistics (which were still used). Motor transport allowed infantry to keep up and support the tanks of panzer units. By 1939, they mastered sustaining such offensives, and the French defense in depth system cracked and broke.

Their success, however, was the result of more than just the integration of artillery, aviation, tanks, and infantry. Such integration depended first on the ability to keep every arm supplied with fuel, ammunition, and other supplies. Secondly, rapid combinations of various combat arms could only be achieved with a decentralized command and control system (C2) based on mission tactics, commander’s intent, and opportunistic exploitation, known as aufragstaktik. Even before World War II ended, other militaries began more or less adopting such methods. The prosecution of the Persian Gulf War in 1991, for example, was designed around the same concepts as the initial German offensive during World War I in France.

What makes combined arms so potent is not the physical employment of multiple arms on the battlefield but the mental stasis or collapse caused by the victim’s inability to effectively respond to the dilemma posed by combined arms. A great example of the mental effect caused by an innovative application of combined arms is the jumping barrage used by the Israeli Defense Force in 1967. Israeli ground troops were attacking an Egyptian fixed defensive position in the Sinai. When the Israelis began to take incoming fire from the Egyptians, they stopped. Every artillery gun available, over 100, was tasked with firing a single volley at a single target located on the Egyptian line. At preplanned intervals, each gun would shift to a new target and then, occasionally, shift back to its original target. After ten minutes of such volleys, Egyptian troops refused to leave their bunkers even after the firing had stopped. The mental effect of the seemingly chaotic barrage induced inaction on the front line troops and overloaded the Egyptian C2 network with multiple confusing and conflicting reports of incoming fire. The Israeli ground troops then advanced on the Egyptian positions unopposed and shattered the defensive line.8

This is just one innovative application of combined arms, but it offers a number of lessons. First, the combination of multiple arms—in this case artillery, infantry, and attack aviation that destroyed the Egyptian artillery positions prior to the barrage—was greater than the sum of its parts. Second, the mental effects caused by the artillery fire were more decisive than the few casualties it caused. Third, the jumping barrage achieved mass by concentrating effects in time; the artillery targets were deliberately dispersed rather than concentrated. Even so, it achieved the intended cognitive effect. Combined arms is not just about creating a dilemma for the enemy but also about weaving various combat arms together in such a way that the enemy cannot mentally cope with such dilemmas. The ability to execute combined arms, not just physically but also cognitively as the above example demonstrates, is the key to combined arms in the cognitive effect on the enemy.

21st Century Combined Arms

It is vital that the Marine Corps achieve a tight level of integration combining the physical and cognitive effects, kinetic and non-kinetic, lethal and non-lethal, among all combat arms: information, cyber, and electronic warfare as well as maneuver, artillery, and aviation. Fortunately, there are more options than were available to the Israelis in 1967. But, there are also new challenges.

In order to place the enemy in a combined arms dilemma, the MAGTF must have a feel for the enemy, his intentions, and the operating environment. In maneuver warfare terms, we must identify the enemy’s surfaces and gaps while preventing the enemy from ascertaining ours. Warfare in the 21st century demands that we view surfaces and gaps not solely as hard and soft points in the enemy’s lines but across the domains of air, land, sea, space, and cyberspace, to include the electromagnetic spectrum.

Five Dimensional Combined Arms

To that end, the Marine Corps employs force with organic or supporting arms down to the lowest level, but future fights demand an expansion of the arms available to those units at the tactical edge. Combined arms across five dimensions means using all available means to confront the enemy with multi-faceted, reinforcing, and rapidly-shifting dilemmas at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels in order to shatter his cohesion, corrupt his decisionmaking, and increase his friction.

• Multifaceted

 - The classic example of combining direct and indirect kinetic lethal fires to present the enemy with a dilemma holds true but is no longer sufficient. Most enemy forces will have multiple options, not just two. Multiple enemy courses of action must be confronted with multiple friendly capabilities so that his reaction, any reaction, will expose a critical vulnerability to a friendly capability.

• Reinforcing

- Combined arms dilemmas must be created in depth. Enemies can choose a course of action, come what may, and “push through” a dilemma presented by one of our arms. If this is the case, his reward must be another layer of dilemma presented by still another capability.

• Rapidly shifting

- The MAGTF cannot present a dilemma to an enemy and then wait to see the effect. The MAGTF must be able to adroitly shift multiple dilemmas so that the enemy is not just confronted with a pattern of dilemmas but a kaleidoscope thereof. By the time he has gained situational awareness, the situation has already changed. Rapidly shifting from maneuver to maneuver contributes to both combat power and combined arms dilemmas.

Multifaceted, reinforcing, and rapidly shifting combined arms operations require the ability to fight for and generate intelligence to identify surfaces and gaps while simultaneously protecting friendly surfaces and gaps in order to drive maneuver. Moreover, five dimensional combined arms must be performed simultaneously at the tactical, operational, and strategic levels. This means that individual enemy units are vulnerable to multiple MAGTF capabilities, the enemy’s campaign plan is in disarray or puts them at a disadvantage, and the very act of confronting Marine Corps forces threatens their political ends. The Marine Corps as an institution is not structured and trained to operate on multiple levels and in multiple dimensions simultaneously, but future warfare demands it.

Surprise and deception. Surprise and deception have played large roles in warfare as the story of the Trojan Horse attests. No amount of advanced technology has diminished its importance. In fact, its importance has increased. During World War II, the Red Army planned surprise and military deception efforts—referred to as maskirovka—for campaigns on a routine basis.9 That Soviet tradition has survived as Russian Federation forces continue it in Ukraine today. Of course, Western militaries have their own traditions of military deception, such as Operation FORTITUDE, the effort to deceive Nazi Germany as to the location of the Allied landings in France in 1944. However, after decades of technological overmatch, the U.S. military pays less attention to surprise and deception. This is unfortunate, as a British study of 158 land campaigns since 1914 found that achieving initial surprise in a tactical engagement has the same success rate as possessing a 2,000:1 numerical superiority over the enemy.10

Although the two concepts frequently go hand in hand, they are not the same thing. Military deception can contribute to achieving surprise, but it can also achieve other effects. Deception efforts can divert enemy troops and resources to defend against attacks that will never take place, for instance, or it can force enemies to react thereby exposing them to detection by electronic signature or to fire support agencies. While these skills have atrophied as the Marine Corps has enjoyed air supremacy and technical overmatch in recent conflicts, Marine Corps history offers many examples of successful military deception. The most famous of which occurred during the Persian Gulf conflict. Coalition planners ensured that the Iraqi forces knew that II MEF was on its way to the region and that it was intended to stage an amphibious assault. This led the Iraqi forces to defend the coastline with fully two infantry and one armored divisions, taking those divisions out of the fight entirely.11 The use of an offshore MEU to neutralize enemy forces achieved deception but without surprise as an ambush would, for example.

A combined arms approach is about the cognitive effect of forcing the enemy into a dilemma that he cannot overcome or ignore. The enemy is psychologically paralyzed by a dilemma where even inaction is deadly. Surprise and deception are thus powerful weapons that enable such an approach.

Reconnaissance/counterreconnaissance. In order to place the enemy in a combined arms dilemma that achieves surprise and deception, the MAGTF commander must have a feel for the enemy, his intentions, and the operating environment. Reconnaissance units, motorized and not, that mirror infantry units with additional training were sufficient for the 20th century but will not remain so.

In recent years, capabilities like unmanned aircraft systems and satellite imaging have offered unmatched surveillance capabilities, but the Operating Forces have grown dependent on them. The air supremacy needed for persistent ISR (intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance) coverage can no longer be assumed and, even were it to be achieved, will not be sufficient against capable enemies. Ground reconnaissance forces are necessary to augment aerial surveillance to acquire granular detail that surveillance cannot ascertain.

This means that the MAGTF will have to generate the capability that gathers battlespace information about the enemy forces, the human and geographic terrain, the electromagnetic spectrum, and gathers intelligence via various means, especially signals and human intelligence. All of these contribute to the MAGTF commander’s fingerspitzengefühl, or “finger feeling:” his feel for the battle as it unfolds. A robust reconnaissance capability is necessary to establish it. Simultaneously, relevant information about the MAGTF has to be protected, enemy reconnaissance units screened and blocked, and misinformation will need to be injected into the enemy’s situational awareness.

Information warfare. Surprise and deception are increasingly difficult in the densely populated urbanized littoral regions reinforced by a global digital media environment, but the proliferation of the global Internet has also elevated information warfare. Every major adversary that the United States may face in the foreseeable future puts information warfare in the front and center of their operations. Much like the proliferation of usable gunpowder in the late Middle Ages transformed every level of warfare, so too is the proliferation of Information Age technology and communication suffusing warfare at every level. The global digital media environment is a reality and will not suddenly disappear. Warfare now takes place on a global stage, and every operation must be evaluated through the lenses of different audiences: enemy, friendly, domestic, and international.

While this will impact how we operate, it also offers additional opportunities for combined arms. Information can be used to deceive, demoralize, and even disable enemy units and capabilities, contributing to the creation of dilemmas.

Electronic warfare (EW). Electronic warfare has been a battlefield capability since the first use of radios to communicate. Telephone lines and radio transmissions were tapped as early as World War I to gather intelligence, and jamming was possible by World War II. Just as electronics have advanced since then, so has the importance and ubiquity of electronic warfare.

The ubiquity of electronic warfare has major implications when it comes to defensive measures. Signature management will need to become as continuous and as well understood as camouflage. In fact, the most important part of camouflage will be mitigation of electromagnetic signature at every level. Simultaneously, the Marine Corps must better integrate EW in order to identify and the target the enemy. The signature battle has both offensive and defensives aspects.

EW also has great offensive potential. Most enemy reactions to any other combat arm will create a signature, even if the enemy can only send a situation report. Once that signature is detected, it can be targeted. Additionally, EW itself can be used to disrupt or disable enemy C2 nodes, making it an important part of the suppression of enemy air defenses as well as other enemy capabilities. EW, therefore, must be fully integrate into our combined arms construct so as to take advantage of enemy vulnerabilities, gain intelligence, and deliver an appropriate response.

The essence of combined arms is the use of every available means at the disposal of the MAGTF to achieve an advantage over the enemy. Since various arms have various and complementary strengths and weaknesses, the ability to employ them simultaneously and in a mutually reinforcing manner will be the key to success. However, the use of multiple arms magnifies the friction of the organization employing them. Clausewitz, of course, teaches that a military force must overcome friction in order to operate, and our force structure should be organized in such a way as to minimize that inherent friction. But John Boyd teaches that we must not just overcome our own friction, we must inflict friction on the enemy.

Cyber warfare. Cyber capabilities are not just a means for information warfare but offer opportunities for espionage and intelligence gathering, military deception, and battlefield effects like the turning off of power grids or direct manipulation of enemy C2 networks and systems. In 2015, a cyberattack by a Russian hacking team on a power grid in Ukraine turned off the electricity of 225,000 customers.12 This same type of attack could be used on the battlefield, shutting down C2 networks and lighting, forcing an opponent to fight in darkness and without communications. Cyber warfare will allow us to magnify the fog, friction, and chaos of battle in a way that is detrimental to our enemy and his cognitive ability to fight.

Artillery. While emergent capabilities will be vital, traditional supporting arms will still have a place and innovative ways of employing them will be needed. Surface delivered, kinetic, and lethal indirect fire capabilities will continue to be a strong base of combined arms, especially when sheer volume of fire is needed. The sustained suppressive and fixing effects of artillery is still unmatched by any other combat arm. Surface fires will, however, need to be employed with creativity and care. As dependent as fire support coordination is on radio and digital communications, the electromagnetic signature of artillery units especially is now a serious vulnerability. Artillery will need to be employed in a much more physically distributed manner and fast, easy displacement of platforms is of primary concern; counter fire is no longer a possibility but a likelihood. Large coordination centers that are only moved with difficulty will not be a realistic option. The ideal future surface-to-surface fires capability will require dispersed delivery and converged effects (although this does not necessarily mean converged fire as the jumping barrage example shows).

Therefore, the agility of artillery systems—i.e., the ability to emplace and displace quickly and fire from any point on the battlefield—will be far more valuable than its firepower per round or even its range. This places a premium on automated and self-propelled platforms. As maneuver formations operate in a more distributed manner, artillery units will need to be even more capable of direct support of smaller and smaller units which presents both logistic and force protection challenges. Lastly, fire support coordination measures must be decentralized and delegated to the absolute lowest level. Lengthy approval processes are a luxury that is no longer possible. This is not to say that coordination to prevent friendly and civilian casualties can be ignored. Rather, junior leaders must be empowered with training, authority, and commander’s intent in order to achieve speed, precision, and accuracy.

Maneuver. The purpose of any combined arms approach is to facilitate maneuver that shatters the enemy’s cohesion. As an infantry-centric force, Marine infantry will remain at the core of our tactics. In recent years, the Marine Corps infantry squad has become the focus of operations, and the Marine Corps operating concept reflects this trend. The character of recent infantry combat, however, has been almost entirely reactive. To restore proactivity and effectively retain tempo in the 21st century, the ability to conduct combined arms must be resident in the squad itself as well as at higher echelons. Personal weapons systems with sufficient range and with high explosive lethality to affect enemy units out to at least 800 meters will be required.

Additionally, maneuver units will continue to require organic mortar systems to provide an intimate and responsive fire support capability. While artillery will continue to be an ideal weapons system when mass is required, infantry mortar systems need to be able to provide rapid precision fires at the bleeding edge of maneuver operations.

Aviation. The unmitigated air supremacy enjoyed by American aviation units in recent conflicts can no longer be assumed. Foreign professional militaries now employ organic air defense systems as low as the battalion level in response to the traditional dominance of American airpower. Aviation units thus must be prepared to create local air superiority on a temporary basis and to exploit local air freedom of movement generated by other combat arms. Suppression of enemy air defense missions will become routine rather than rare. Even beyond the threat of enemy action on the ground, Marine Corps aviation units will continue to be tasked by joint forces to assist in the defense of naval assets and expeditionary advanced bases. This has major implications for the employment of both manned and unmanned aviation systems. At times, other combat arms will have to shift to compensate for a lack of local air superiority or higher priority tasking of aviation assets.

The advent of advanced aerial-delivered munitions will drastically increase the complexity of fire support coordination and thus increase the burden on both fire support teams and fire support coordination centers. Munitions with greater range and net-enabled terminal guidance will prove useful but will necessitate additional training of fire supporters at every level, especially joint terminal attack controllers. The geometry of fire support coordination will be an order of magnitude more complex than in recent years.

While the role of aviation in combined arms may prove more difficult to employ in future fights, its importance will not be diminished. Indeed, as electronic warfare capabilities are increasingly employed by aircraft, aviation will increase in both flexibility and importance.


The implications of the expanding character of combined arms are many but none more important than the need to fuse more forms of combat arms support. The nature of combined arms has not changed; it is still about the mutual and reinforcing effect of numerous capabilities. Its character though is employing information, cyber, and electronic warfare with new and innovative application of artillery and aviation fires in support of maneuver. Fire support coordination at every level is focused on the coordination of maneuver, artillery, and aviation but must now include more capabilities. As the use of these combat arms fuses, so too must structure: organizational stovepipes between fires and information, cyber, and electronic warfare must be broken in the same manner as an fire support coordination center integrates maneuver, artillery, and aviation.

Another implication is that designation of infantry units as the main effort will no longer be the rule. As adversaries increasingly make military deception and information warfare a main effort, the Marine Corps must break its habitual views on the main effort in order to retain initiative and flexibility. Of course, as an infantry-centric force, infantry units will still frequently be the main effort but not always. Marine Corps commanders will frequently need to employ more creative plans, especially in shaping phases. This is not to say that there will not be a decisive phase where an assault is the main effort and enemy forces are destroyed, but that the shifting of main efforts must be an engrained habit and not a rarely used option.

As noted above, surprise and military deception are now of the utmost importance. These efforts cannot be left to information warfare subject matter experts; they must be front and center during the planning process. Both concepts feature prominently in both Marine Corps history and in MCDP 1, but little attention has been paid to them in recent years due to the nature of counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is a muscle the Marine Corps must get used to flexing again.

None of these efforts can be successfully pursued without flexible and responsive expeditionary logistics. Prosecuting combined arms across five dimensions will strain legacy logistics systems and methods. Catastrophic failure in this realm will put Marine forces in their own dilemma.

Lastly, our tradition of decentralized C2 based on mission tactics and commander’s intent is more important than ever before. It is vital to Marine Corps’ operations across the entire organization but especially so when it comes to executing modern combined arms warfare. Five dimension combined arms requires coordination, and coordination requires communications. At the same time, electromagnetic signatures caused by modern communications devices must be mitigated as much as possible. How will the Marine Corps achieve the level of coordination and communication necessary for combined arms while simultaneously mitigating the electromagnetic signature of units? We already know the answer—decentralize the C2 of various arms as much as possible and at the lowest level possible. Centralized processes can no longer be tolerated and must instead be rooted out and redesigned. Commanders who cannot or will not effectively lead in accordance with our maneuver warfare philosophy similarly cannot be tolerated.


The Marine Corps expects that domain and technological dominance on the part of our military forces can no longer be assumed. Future adversaries will have capabilities on par with or nearly on par with our own. It also cannot be assumed that a return to peer adversaries will automatically mean a return to 20th century combined arms maneuver. It’s unclear exactly what future tactics will look like, but they will surely not look like past tactics. Russia and China are already integrating advanced capabilities, especially cyber and electronic warfare, into tactical level organizations and operations. Even non-state actors like Hezbollah and ISIS have gained advanced weaponry, leverage modern information technology, and have demonstrated the ability to take on conventional, professional militaries in Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq. The race to dominance on future battlefields is a race to integrate the new and the traditional in a synergistic fashion aimed not at the physical destruction of enemy forces but at their cognitive ability to operate as a cohesive unit. The combined arms approach, as an integral part of maneuver warfare, allows us to creatively combine the capabilities of the entire MAGTF and joint partners into a cohesive whole in a way that adversaries will be unable to match.


1. Dirk Anthony Ballendorf and Merrill L. Bartlett, Pete Ellis: An Amphibious Warfare Prophet, 1880–1923, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1997), 59.

2. B.A. Friedman, 21st Century Ellis: Operational Art and Strategic Prophecy, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2015), 82.

3. David J. Ulbrich, Preparing for Victory: Thomas Holcomb and the Making of the Modern Marine Corps 1936–1943, (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2011), 43–67.

4. Headquarters Marine Corps, MCDP 1, Warfighting, (Washington, DC: 1997), 94.

5. Headquarters Marine Corps, Marine Corps Operating Concept: How an Expeditionary Force Operates in the 21st Century, (Washington, DC: September 2016), 8.

6. Amin Maalouf, The Crusades Through Arab Eyes, (New York: Shocken Books, 1984), 181.

7. Jonathan M. House, Combined Arms Warfare in the 20th Century, (Lawrence, KS: University of Kansas Press, 2001), 281.

8. Bruce Gudmunsson, On Artillery, (Westport, CT: Praeger, 1993), 156.

9. House, 158.

10. Jim Storr, Human Face of War, (London: Continuum UK, 2009), 49–50.

11. Robert M. Citino, Blitzkrieg to Desert Storm: The Evolution of Operational Warfare, (Lawrence, KS: University Press of Kansas, 2004), 281.

12. Dustin Volz, “U.S. Government Concludes Cyberattack Caused Ukraine Power Outage,” Reuters, (25 February 2016), accessed at