The following information was obtained from the 2012 Officer Candidates School Student Outline.


1. Given a joint operating environment, explain national military capabilities and organization to prepare for possible service in a joint task force. (MCCS-JOPS-2301)
2. Given a joint operating environment, explain joint operations to prepare for possible service in a joint task force. (MCCS-JOPS-2302)
3. Without the aid of references, describe Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) organizations without omission. (MCCS-MAGT-1003)


1. Without the aid of reference, describe the role of the Combatant Commands, without omission. (MCCS-JOPS- 2301b)
2. Without the aid of reference, describe the function of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, without omission. (MCCS-JOPS- 2301c)
3. Without the aid of reference, describe the role of the Services, without omission. (MCCS-JOPS-2301d)
4. Without the aid of references, describe the nature of American military power without omission.(MCCS-JOPS- 2302a)
5. Without the aid of references, identify values in Joint Warfare without omission. (MCCS-JOPS-2302b)
6. Without the aid of references, identify joint learning sources without omission. (MCCS-JOPS-2302c)
7. Without the aid of references, identify the basic premise of the MAGTF without omission. (MCCS-MAGT- 1003a)
8. Without the aid of references, identify how the SPMAGTF varies from the traditional MAGTF without omission. (MCCS-MAGT-1003b)
9. Without the aid of references, identify the core elements of the different MAGTF’s without omission. (MCCS- MAGT-1003c)

Department of Defense Services and Their Roles.

a. Army: The Army’s mission is to fight and win our Nation’s wars by providing prompt, sustained land dominance across the full range of military operations and spectrum of conflict in support of combatant commanders.

b. Navy: The mission of the Navy is to maintain, train and equip combat-ready Naval forces capable of winning wars, deterring aggression and maintaining freedom of the seas.

c. Air Force: The mission of the United States Air Force is to fly, fight and win … in air, space and cyberspace.

d. Marine Corps: The United States Marine Corps (USMC) is a branch of the U.S. military responsible for providing power projection from the sea, utilizing the mobility of the U.S. Navy to rapidly deliver combined-arms task forces to global crises.


a. The Department of the Navy was established by an Act of Congress on April 30th, 1798, to provide administrative and technical support, and civilian leadership to the United States Navy and the United States Marine Corps (and when directed by the Congress or President, the United States Coast Guard).

b. The Department of the Navy consists of Executive Offices, mostly located at the Pentagon and the adjacent Navy Annex, and is responsible for the recruiting of military and civilian personnel, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, and the mobilization and demobilization of the Navy and Marine Corps, and their human capital and physical assets. The Department also oversees the construction, outfitting, and repair of naval ships, aircraft, equipment, and facilities.

(1) Secretary of the Navy. The Secretary of the Navy is the head of die Department of the Navy. He is appointed by the President, by and with the advice and consent of the Senate. He is responsible for all affairs of the Department of the Navy including recruiting, organizing, supplying, equipping, training, servicing, mobilizing, demobilizing, administering, and maintaining personnel as well as the construction, maintenance and repair of military equipment and buildings.

(2) Chief of Naval Operations. The Chief of Naval Operations (CNO) is the highest ranking officer in the United States Navy and is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the command, utilization of resources, and operating efficiency of the Navy. The CNO has administrative, rather than operational command authority of the United States Naval Forces. The CNO is’ a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose main function is to advise the President.

(3) Commandant of the Marine Corps.

(a) The Commandant of the Marine Corps is the highest ranking officer in the United States Marine Corps and in accordance with Title 10, USC is responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for presiding over Headquarters, Marine Corps; transmitting plans and recommendations from Headquarters to the Secretary of the Navy; acting as the agent in carrying those plans into effect, and exercising supervision over specified combatant commands. The Commandant sits as a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose main function is to advise the President.

(b) The Commandant is directly responsible to the Secretary of the Navy for the total performance of the Marine Corps. This includes the administration, discipline, internal organization, training, requirements, efficiency, and readiness of the service.


The MAGTF is the Marine Corps’ principle organization for the conduct of all missions across the range of military operations. MAGTFs are balanced, combined-arms forces with organic ground, aviation, and sustainment elements. Each MAGTF has four core elements: a command element (CH), a ground combat element (GCE), an aviation combat element (ACE), and a logistics combat element (LCE).

a. Command Element (CE). The CF. is the MAGTF headquarters. It is task organized to provide command and control capabilities (including intelligence and communication) necessary for effective planning, direction, and execution of all operations.

b. Ground Combat Element (GCE). The GCE is task organized to conduct ground operations in support of the MAGTF mission.

c. Air Combat Element (ACE). The ACE is task organized to support the MAGTF mission by performing some or all of the six functions of Marine aviation.

d. Logistics Combat Element (LCE). The LCE is task organized to provide the full range of Combat Service Support (CSS) functions and capabilities needed to support the continued readiness and sustainability of the MAGTF as a whole.


The MEF is the primary Marine Corps fighting organization. It is capable of missions across the range of military operations, through amphibious assault and sustained operations ashore in any environment. A MEF is capable of deploying with 60 days of sustainment.

a. Command Element. Normally commanded by a Lieutenant General and his staff.

b. Ground Combat Element. A MEF rates one or more Marine Divisions, reinforced.

c. Aviation Combat Element. A MEF rates one or more Marine Aircraft Wings (MAW), reinforced, organized and equipped for establishment ashore.

d. Logistics Combat Element. A MEF rates one or more Marine Logistics Groups (MLGs).


The MEB is capable of rapid deployment and employment via amphibious shipping, strategic airlift, marrying with Maritime Prepositioning Force (MPF) assets, or any combination thereof. A MEB is capable of deploying with 30 days of sustainment.

a. Command Element. Brigadier General and his staff.

b. Ground Combat Element. Infantry Regiment (reinforced). Commonly referred to as a regimental landing team (RLT) or regimental combat team (RCT).

c. Air Combat Element. Marine Aircraft Group (MAG), which contains several squadrons capable of performing the six functions of Marine aviation.

d. Logistics Combat Element. One Combat Logistics Regiment (CLR).


The MEU (Special Operations Capable) is the standard forward- deployed Marine expeditionary organization. A MEU is capable of deploying with 15 days of sustainment.

a. Command Element. Colonel and his staff

b. Ground Combat Element. Battalion Landing Team (BLT), which is normally composed of an Infantry Battalion, reinforced with artillery, reconnaissance, armor, assault amphibious units and other detachments as required.

c. Air Combat Element. A helicopter squadron reinforced with transport, utility, and attack helicopters, a detachment of vertical/short takeoff and landing (V/STOL) fixed-wing attack aircraft, and other detachments as required.

d. Logistics Combat Element. One Combat Logistics Battalion (CLB).


A SPMAGTF is a MAGTF configured to accomplish specific mission(s) for which one of the three MAGTF types would be inappropriate or too large to employ. SPMAGTFs can be organized, trained, and equipped to conduct a wide variety of expeditionary operations in response lo a crisis or peacetime mission.

a. Command Element. As required.

b. Ground Combat Element. As required.

c. Air Combat Element. As required.

d. Logistics Combat Element. As required.


a. Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF)

(1) Locations:

(a) 1st MEF- Camp Pendleton, CA

(b) 2nd MEF- Camp Lejeune, NC

(c) 3rd MEF- Camp Butler, Okinawa

(d) 4th MEF- New Orleans, LA (Reserve)

b. Marine Division (MARDIV)

(1) Mission – to execute amphibious assault operations and such other operations as may be directed.

(2) Locations:

(a) 1st MARDIV -Camp Pendleton, CA

(b) 2nd MARDIV – Camp Lejeune. NC

(c) 3rd MARDIV — Camp Butler, Okinawa

(d) 4th MARDIV – New Orleans, LA (Reserve)

c. Marine Aircraft Wing (MAW)

(1) Mission – to participate as the air component of the Marine Air-Ground Task Force in the seizure and defense of advanced naval bases.

(2) Locations:

(a) 3rd MAW – MCAS Miramar, CA

(b) 2nd MAW – MCAS Cherry Point, NC

(c) 1st MAW — MCAS Futenma, Okinawa

(d) 4th MAW — New Orleans, LA (Reserve)

d. Marine Logistics Group (MLG)

(1) Mission – To train, rapidly task organize, deploy, employ, fight and redeploy in order to provide GS (general support) and DS (direct support) logistics combat support to all elements of the MEF and small Marine Air Ground Tasks Forces, that may be geographically separated, in peacetime as well as wartime, in any environment and across the spectrum of conflict in order to preserve and increase the MEF’s combat power.

(2) Locations:

(a) 1st MLG – Camp Pendleton, CA

(b) 2nd MLG – Camp Lejeune, NC

(c) 3rd MLG – Camp Butler, Okinawa

(d) 4th MLG – New Orleans, LA (Reserve)


a. Historical Context. During WWII, each of the Services generally fought as homogeneous entities with minimal cooperation among the Services. The Army was focused in Europe and the SW Pacific, the Navy and Marines primarily operated in the central Pacific, and the Army Air Corps had attained service-like status while conducting strategic bombing of Germany and Japan. Although there were excellent examples of inter-service cooperation during WWII, the norm was to give each service a theater of operations and allow them to prosecute the war as their Service doctrine prescribed. Although this technique provided some advantages, including decreasing the amount of coordination required to conduct an operation, it failed to capitalize on the unique capabilities each service brought to the fight.

b. National Security Act of 1947. Despite great military success during WWII, the U.S. military recognized the need to evolve its command structure for future conflicts. After much heated debate within the military and in Congress, the National Security Act of 1947 was signed into law. Important elements of this legislation included:

(1) Creation of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS)
(2) Creation of the Joint Staff
(3) Creation of several standing unified (i.e. “joint”) and specified (mission specific) commands
(4) Creation of the U.S. Air Force
(5) JCS and Services Secretaries report to single civilian Secretary of Defense (SECDEF)

Despite the National Security Act of 1947, the post-war era was characterized by Service infighting as each Service developed its own strategies and sought to purchase Service-specific equipment that reflected each Service’s vision of the nature of war. Operations during this period were characterized by “stove-piped” Service-oriented chains of command that stretched from the battlefield to the Service Chiefs in Washington D.C.

Military operations during the 1980’s also highlighted the fact that the U.S. military was unprepared to fight effectively as a joint force. Operation EAGLE CLAW (Iran hostage rescue attempt), Marine peacekeeping operations in Beirut, and Operation URGENT FURY (U.S. invasion of Grenada) all highlighted the inability of the Services to cooperate effectively on the battlefield.

c. Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986. This important legislation established the framework for the way the Department of Defense operates today. Key components:

(1) Chairman, Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) became the ‘‘principal military advisor to the President of the United States, the SECDEF, and the National Security Council”

(2) Forces were ‘‘assigned” to the Combatant Commands (COCOMs) for employment

(3) Service Chiefs retained responsibility to “train, organize, and equip” but not employ forces
Although the concept of joint force employment continues to evolve, the tenets have been proven successful on the battlefield with Operation DESERT STORM in 1991, Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in 2001, and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM in 2003 to the present.

d. Joint Chiefs of Staff. The JCS consists of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (VCJCS), and the Chief of each major branch of armed service in the US Armed Forces.

(1) Today, the primary responsibility of each member of the JCS is to ensure the readiness of the respective military services. The JCS also acts in an advisory military capacity for the President of the United States and the Secretary of Defense. In this strictly advisory role, the JCS constitutes the second-highest deliberating body for military policy, after the National Security council (which includes the President and other officials besides the CJCS).

(2) The Joint Staff (JS) assists the CJCS in accomplishing his responsibilities for the unified strategic direction of the combatant forces, the operation of combatant forces under unified command, and the integration of combatant forces into an efficient team of land, naval, and air forces.

(3) The JS is composed of officers from the Army, Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps in numbers that roughly correspond to the relative size of the Services, The Marines make up about 20 percent of the number allocated to the Navy. The Joint Staff has no executive authority over combatant forces.

e. Unified Combatant Command. Because of the 1986 reorganization of the military, undertaken by the Goldwater-Nichols Act, the JCS no longer executes operational command of U.S. military forces. Responsibility for conducting military operations goes from the President to the Secretary of Defense, directly to the Unified Combatant Commanders. There are ten (10) unified combatant commands. Six of these combatant commands are responsible for a specific region of the world having regional responsibility. The remaining four combatant commands are functionally organized, and as such, have functional responsibility.

(1) US European Command – Headquarters Location: Stuttgart, Germany.

(2) US Pacific Command – Headquarters Location: Camp H.M. Smith, Honolulu, Hawaii

(3) US Southern Command – Headquarters Location: Miami, FL.

(4) US Central Command – Headquarters I.ocation: MacDill AFB, Tampa, FL.

(5) US Northern Command – Headquarters Location: Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado Springs, Colorado

(6) US Africa Command – Headquarters Location: Stuttgart, Germany

(7) US Joint Forces Command – Headquarters Location: Norfolk, Virginia
Mission: Provide mission ready capable forces, and support the development and integration of joint, interagency, and multinational capabilities to meet the present and future operational needs of the joint force. This happens through a variety of activities focused in three areas by supporting current operational needs, the integration of joint, interagency, and multinational capabilities, and the development of future operational capabilities.

(8) US Special Operations Command – Headquarters Location: MacDill Air Force Base, Tampa, Florida
Mission: USSOCOM leads, plans, synchronizes, and as directed, executes global operations against terrorist networks. USSOCOM trains, organizes, equips, and deploys combat ready special operations forces to combatant commands.

(9) US Transportation Command – Headquarters Location: Scott Air Force Base, Illinois
Mission: Provide air, land and sea transportation for the Department of Defense, both in time of peace and time of war.

(10) US Strategic Command – Headquarters Location: Offutt Air Force Base, Nebraska
Mission: Provide the nation with global deterrence capabilities and synchronized DoD effects to combat adversary weapons of mass destruction worldwide. Enable decisive global kinetic and non-kinetic combat effects through the application and advocacy of integrated intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR); space and global strike operations; information operations; integrated missile defense and robust command and control.

f. Foundation of Joint Warfare

(1) The nature of American Military Power – Joint Warfare. Joint warfare is team warfare. The engagement of forces is not a series of individual performances linked by a common theme; rather, it is the integrated and synchronized application of all appropriate capabilities. The synergy that results from the operations of joint forces according to joint doctrine maximizes combat capability in unified action. Joint warfare does not require that all forces participate in a particular operation merely because they are available. The joint force commander has the authority and responsibility to tailor forces for the mission at hand, selecting those that most effectively and efficiently ensure success.

(2) Values in Joint Warfare. US military service is based on values that US military experience has proven to be vital for operational success. These values adhere to the most idealistic societal norms, are common to all the Services, and represent the essence of military professionalism. Competent joint warfighters must be skilled in thinking strategically and at optimizing joint capabilities, applying strategic and operational art, and having a joint perspective. Five values have special impact on the conduct of joint operations.

(a) Integrity

(b) Competence

(c) Physical Courage

(d) Moral Courage

(e) Teamwork

g. Fundamentals of traditional and irregular warfare.

(1) Traditional warfare, also referred to as 2nd and/or 3rd generation warfare, is characterized as a confrontation between nation-states or coalitions/alliances of nation-states. Traditional war typically involves small-scale to large-scale, force-on-force military operations in which adversaries employ a variety of conventional military capabilities against each other in the air, land, maritime, and space physical domains, and the information environment.

(2) Irregular warfare (IW), also referred to as 4th generation or asymmetric warfare, has emerged as a major and pervasive form of warfare. Typically in IW, a less powerful adversary seeks to disrupt or negate the military capabilities and advantages of a more powerful, conventionally armed military force, which often represents the nation’s established regime.

h. Access To Joint Learning Resources

(1) The Joint Doctrine Education and Training Electronic Information System (JDEIS) replaces the Joint Electronic Library (JEL) as the primary authoritative source of joint doctrine, education, training and related content for the joint warfighting community, and is not accessible by the public.

(2) The JEL remains a publicly-accessible source of information.