A Message From the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps

1 September, 2023

Our Corps remains an indispensable element of our nation’s security and readiness. As I write, our 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable) is providing our Combatant Commanders with a ready and lethal force which requires no access, basing, or overflight. Simultaneously, I and III Marine Expeditionary Forces are in the Pacific campaigning alongside our allies and partners to deter conflicts and build advantages to win if our conventional deterrence fails. This is what we contribute to national defense; this and so much more.

For the foreseeable future I will serve as the acting Commandant of the Marine Corps while we wait for the Senate to confirm a Commandant. This is the only waiting we will do; wasted time is an offering to our adversaries. We will continue to modernize and prepare ourselves via Force Design 2030, making refinements as needed to account for changing threats, new tasks, and my best military judgment.

To win we must be unified in who we are and what we do. We are a combined arms Marine Air Ground Task Force comprised of professionals who can conduct campaigning/ crisis response and combat operations against a peer adversary. We do this as part of a Naval and Joint force. Each of our missions is challenging in their own right. Conducting them all is a skill set few can master; but we are Marines. We volunteered because we seek to do difficult things. We represent our Corps and our country and understand that our actions today determine if we will be able to fill our ranks with volunteers tomorrow. Our discipline and courage are what Americans can count on and look up to. We fight, win, and return home with our honor clean. This is not bravado; it is who we are.

Our Marines are what make us unique among military forces and we must demonstrate our care for them. We will accelerate changes that allow Marines to be stakeholders in their careers, and to provide the facilities that show our Marines and families that they matter to us. This will be a long journey, but we will arrive at our destination together.

Every Marine must contribute to our future. Your thoughts, insights and opinions have value, and the Gazette and Leatherneck are among the venues to reveal them. These are publications built for respectful discourse and professional development for all ranks. These publications are part of our history and are often the birthplace of new concepts and visions, so place your idea guns on “full auto” and get involved. I’m truly proud of you Marines.

Semper Fidelis,

Eric M. Smith
General, U.S. Marine Corps
Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps