MCDP 1 Approved

On 20 June 1997 the Commandant signed Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication (MCDP) 1, Warfighting. MCDP 1 replaces FMFM 1, Warfighting, as the Marine Corps’ capstone doctrinal publication. It provides the authoritative basis for how Marines fight and prepare to fight, and defines a way of thinking that guides our approach to duty.

Since FMFM 1 was first published in 1989, it has had a significant impact both inside and outside the Marine Corps. In effect it has changed the way Marines think about warfare. However, doctrine is not stagnateit evolves based on new operational experiences, advancements in theory, and the changing face of war itself.

MCDP 1, with a foreword by Gen XM. Gray-the architect of FMFM I-retains the spirit, style, and essential message of the 1989 document. The majority of the text has been carried forward from the original Warfighting with only minor revisions. The new publication contains three major enhancements:

First, the description of the nature of war has been expanded both to emphasize war’s complexity and unpredictability and to widen the definition of war to account for the expanding forms of conflict in the modern world.

Second, the descriptions of the styles of warfare have been clarified.

Third, important maneuver warfare concepts such as commander’s intent, main effort, and centers of gravity/critical vulnerabilities have been refined.

Marine units will soon receive their initial allocation of MCDP 1 via the Marine Corps Publications Distribution System (MCPDS). Additional copies may then be ordered from MCPDS or via the Doctrine Division internet homepage at or