by Capt Dilan Swift

Thank you for publishing Sgt Luke G. Cardelli’s recent article, “MAGTF Integrated Exercise (MIX-16),” (MCG, Novl7). His experience as an opposing force pointed to the crux of maneuver warfare; decentralization empowers warfighters to act faster, out-cycle the enemy, and win. His enthusiasm was palpable, and I believed it when he wrote that his Marines bought-in, cared, and demonstrated their skill and professionalism. One question remains: Why do Marines have to be the “bad guys” to have fun and embody our maneuver warfare philosophy? William Lind observed this phenomenon in his 1985 Maneuver Warfare Handbook: If you want to see maneuver warfare, watch the lance corporals of the opposing force. What distinguishes these maneuverists from their good-guy peers? I cannot help but think it is a matter of trust. Our Marines are young, raucous, and energetic, and they want to win. Accordingly, we take off the proverbial kiddy gloves, and we trust our Marines to be competent bad-guys; yet those very traits engender chaos and disorder, which then inhibits leaders from trusting our Marines to be Marines. In his day job, Sgt Cardelli was one of the real good guys; isn’t it interesting that he “left the Corps … to pursue other interests?”