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Marine Corps War College

Marine Corps War College
Seal of the Marine Corps War College
Established 1991 (1991)
Type Military Institution
Dean Dr. James Anderson
Director Keil Gentry, Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Students 28
Location Quantico, Virginia, United States of America
Affiliations Marine Corps University
Website MCWAR

The Marine Corps War College (MCWAR), is the senior school of the Marine Corps University, providing Joint Professional Military Education (JPME) to selected United States military officers, civilian Government officials, and international military officers.[1] The College prepares officers for future senior command and staff responsibilities requiring exceptional operational competence, sound military judgment, and strategic thinking.[2] The college is located within the Marine Corps University aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia.[3]


  • History 1
  • Mission and Vision 2
  • Curriculum 3
  • Notable Speakers 4
  • Students & Admissions 5
  • Notable U.S. Graduates 6
  • Notable International Graduates 7
  • See also 8
  • References 9
  • External links 10


A historical sketch drawing of Dunlap Hall.

On 1 August 1990, the 29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Alfred M. Gray, Jr., instituted the Art of War Studies program under the Marine Corps Command and Staff College.[4] General Gray’s vision was to establish a “world-class educational institution for the study of war and the profession of arms.”[5] The original seminar was attended by six lieutenant colonels and was ten months long. Following General Gray’s vision and charter, the course of study matured into the current College and was patterned after other United States military senior-level service colleges. By 1999, the college became an accredited JPME Phase-I institution, enrolling 16 students from all five branches of the Armed Forces and various government agencies. In 2002, the college received full accreditation from both the United States Department of Education and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to confer a Master of Strategic Studies degree. In 2006, the college received JPME Phase-II accreditation. In 2009, the college expanded its student population and opened enrollment to include international military officers. The maximum enrollment per academic year is 30 students. In 2011, the College published the inaugural edition of the "MCWAR Papers" in cooperation with the Marine Corps University Press. The MCWAR papers is compilation of select, analytical papers by the College's students on strategic-level issues of national importance.[6]

MCWAR is located in Dunlap Hall aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. Dunlap Hall is named in honor of Brigadier General Robert H. Dunlap, USMC. BGen Dunlap served during the Spanish-American War, Philippine-American War, and World War I. He died on May 19, 1931 in Cinc-Mars la Pile, France while attempting to save a French woman from a landslide.

Mission and Vision

Mission: The Marine Corps War College, as the senior PME institution of the Marine Corps, educates selected military and civilian professionals in order to develop critical thinkers, military strategists, joint warfighters, and strategic leaders who are prepared to meet the challenges of a complex and dynamic security environment.[7]

Vision: To be the preferred choice for leaders seeking a world-class educational experience in preparation for assuming senior leadership positions in a complex and dynamic security environment – grounded in enduring principles and values while continuously adapting to ensure relevance.[7]


The curriculum is designed to ensure officers "develop intellectual and technical approaches to warfighting and strategic thinking, hone military judgment, evaluate methodologies, expand academic expertise, and sharpen teaching skills through reading, research, writing, and participation in seminars.[2]" In order to achieve this, the curriculum partners military competence with political, economic, social, and informational studies which converge to form a complete national strategy.[8] Collaborative efforts with various organizations provides a diverse educational experience on complex topics. Students routinely interact with policy makers such as the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of Homeland Defense, the Director of the FBI, the National Security Advisor, and members of congress.[9] Non-government agencies such as JP Morgan, the Council on Foreign Relations, the New York Stock Exchange, and J Walter Thompson are also engaged to supplement the College's coursework.[9] Domestic and international travel opportunities are integrated with the curriculum to provide a global perspective[10] These travel opportunities have included trips to Unified Combatant Commands such as United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) as well as international trips to allies in Europe and Latin America.[11]

The curriculum is administered through a ten-month resident program consisting of 42 credit hours in the following core courses:

  • Leadership and Ethics
  • Economics and National Power
  • War, Policy, and Strategy
  • National Security and Joint Warfare
  • Regional Studies
  • Independent Research Project[12]

In addition to the curriculum, extracurricular educational activities are offered through the auspices of The Marine Corps University, Library of the Marine Corps (Alfred M. Gray Research Center), National Museum of the Marine Corps, Marine Corps University Foundation, and Marine Corps Heritage Foundation.

Graduates are awarded a Master of Strategic Studies degree and JPME Phase-II certification by the President of the Marine Corps University.[13] The degree is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.[14]

Notable Speakers

Secretary Robert M. Gates
Gen. Peter Pace

Throughout the academic year numerous distinguished guests visit the College to lead small group seminars, and give lectures:

Students & Admissions

Admission to the College is based on allocations granted by the Commandant of the Marine Corps and are solicited each academic year through a Marine Administrative Message.[15] The admissions policy supports the mission and purpose of the College and reflects the needs of the United States Marine Corps and the educational criteria of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff’s Officer Professional Military Education Policy. The student body is composed from three distinct populations:

U.S. Military Officers
Government Officials
International Military Officers have attended from

Invitation, nomination, and admission to the College vary by student type: U.S. military officers are admitted through their services’ selection/assignment processes; Federal Government civilian employees are admitted through an invitational nomination and approval process; International military officers are selected through the Department of State.

As of 1995, the number of graduates promoted to O-6 (Colonel) was 93% which exceeds the Marine Corps average.[16] Also, 96% have been selected for command.[16]

Notable U.S. Graduates

  • Lieutenant General John F. Goodman, USMC, Class of 1991
  • Lieutenant General Richard Kramlich, USMC, Class of 1992
  • Lieutenant General Howard Bromberg, USA, Class of 1998
  • Lieutenant General Robert Schmidle, USMC, Class of 1996
  • Major General Richard Comer, USAF, Class of 1993
  • Major General Timothy Donovan, USMC, Class of 1994
  • Major General Thomas Conant, USMC, Class of 1995
  • Major General Paul E. Lefebvre, USMC, Class of 1999
  • Major General David Reist, USMC Class of 2000
  • Major General Charles Hudson, USMC, Class of 2001
  • Brigadier General Christopher Owens, USMC, Class of 2003
  • Brigadier General Francis Kelley, USMC Class of 2004
  • Brigadier General David Smith, USA Class of 2004
  • Brigadier General George W. Smith, USMC Class of 2004
  • Brigadier General Scott Miller, USA Class of 2005
  • Rear Admiral Bruce Baffer, USCG Class of 2005

Notable International Graduates

  • Major General Muhammad Abid Nazir, Pakistan Army, Class of 2010
  • Brigadier General Rafique Abid, Pakistan Army, Class of 2011

See also


  1. ^ "Officer Professional Military Education: Marine Corps". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  2. ^ a b Southwick, Curt B. (1991). "The Marine Corps Art of War Studies." Marine Corps Gazette, 75(1), 47.
  3. ^ "Officer Professional Military Education: Marine Corps". Marine Corps Times. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  4. ^ "Yearly Chronologies of the United States Marine Corps-1991". U.S. Marine Corps. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  5. ^ "Marine Corps University History". Marine Corps War College. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  6. ^ Schultz, Tammy s, ed. (2011). "Preparing for an Era of Persistent Conflict." MCWAR Papers 2010, v.
  7. ^ a b "MCWAR News". Marine Corps War College. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  8. ^ Southwick, Curt B. (1991). "The Marine Corps Art of War Studies." Marine Corps Gazette, 75(1), 47-48.
  9. ^ a b Schultz, Tammy s, ed. (2011). "Preparing for an Era of Persistent Conflict." MCWAR Papers 2010, iii.
  10. ^ Southwick, Curt B. (1991). "The Marine Corps Art of War Studies." Marine Corps Gazette, 75(1), 48.
  11. ^ Bedard, Emil R. (1995). "Great Leaders Teach and Great Teachers Lead." Marine Corps Gazette, 79(1), 24.
  12. ^ "Marine Corps University Academic Year 2010-2011 Catalog". Marine Corps University. Retrieved 2011-05-24. 
  13. ^ "Marine Corps University: Masters Degrees," 10 U.S.C. § 7102 (1997).
  14. ^ "MCWAR". Marine Corps University. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
  15. ^ "Academic Year (AY) 11-12 Top Level School (TLS) Selection Board Announcement". The U.S. Marines. Retrieved 2010-11-08. 
  16. ^ a b Bedard, Emil R. (1995). "Great Leaders Teach and Great Teachers Lead." Marine Corps Gazette, 79(1), 25.
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.

External links

  • "Robert H. Dunlap". Arlington National Cemetery. Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  • "Marine Corps University Foundation". Marine Corps University Foundation. Retrieved 2011-05-23. 
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