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Introduction and Importance

Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1 (MCDP-1), Warfighting is the foundational document that communicates the keystone philosophy for the Marine Corps.  It provides the basis for all learning within the Marine Corps and is as valuable to a private as it is for a general.  Every officer must read and reread the text, understand it, and take its message to heart.  The philosophy contained in this publication has influenced the Marine Corps’ approach to every task.  MCDP-1, Warfighting states, “Was is both timeless and ever changing. While the basic nature of war is constant, the means and methods we use evolve continuously.”  As war evolves, so too must those who are prepared to wage it.  It is the responsibility of every officer to study, understand, and apply the principles of MCDP 1.


MCDP-1, Warfighting must be read prior to this class. This hand out and the class are supplements to foster understanding.  They are not viable substitutes for reading the publication.

In This Lesson                     

This lesson will elaborate on the concepts presented in MCDP-1, Warfighting to prepare you for future endeavors at TBS and beyond.

This lesson covers the following topics:

Topic Page
How to Use MCDP-1, Warfighting 3
War’s Definition and Essence 4
Nature of War 5
Theory of War at the Comprehensive Level 8
Theory of War at the Execution Level 12
Preparing for War 15
The Conduct of War 16
Summary 18
References 18
Notes 18