Monday, January 20, 2020

Words Mean Things: Fleet Marine Force Edition

Words mean things.

Though not universal, before structural changes can be made, words have to change.

Before mindsets can change, words have to change.

Earlier this month, did you have a chance to catch MARADMIN 004/20?

Subtle ... but talk to your local Marine what this means;
2. Background. As stated in ref (a), “The 1986 Goldwater-Nichols Act removed the preponderance of the FMF from fleet operational control and disrupted the long-standing Navy-Marine Corps relationship by creating separate Navy and Marine Corps Components.”
A. The rising global threat necessitates the need to re-establish our long standing Navy-Marine Corps tradition of an integrated approach to operations across maritime and other domains as depicted in ref (b), within the constraints of Goldwater-Nichols.
B. Throughout our history, subordinate commands and units have traditionally reflected the names of higher level commands and headquarters as part of their colloquial names in commanders’ signature blocks, stationery, awards citations, and other certain ceremonial items (e.g., guidons, unit colors, etc.). While these inclusions are not always part of subordinate commands and units’ official names, the practice is well established and steeped in Marine Corps customs and courtesies.
3. Conclusion. All previous references to operating forces as they relate to commands and units at or below the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) level will be replaced with the term “FMF”.

I checked in with one of my go-to Marines and he provided a good summary;
...he’s trying to change everyone’s set the conditions for the changes he wants to see implemented. Despite his desires to immediately return to the FMF construct, componency is not dead yet; I’m sure CDRUSCENTCOM was very happy with componency when he ordered up the SPMAGTF Marines to reinforce the Baghdad embassy. Also, as much as he - and most of us - want to return to the FMF construct, we (and the Navy) still don’t really know how we’ll reintegrate after all these years. I for one am glad to be able to say “the Fleet” again with impunity... I remember as a JO getting brow-beaten for saying that instead of ‘Operating Forces.’
So, changing names first, then mindsets, then structures.

I like it.

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