In 2008, Marines worldwide continued to display the characteristics of courage, perseverance, flexibility, and adaptability that have traditionally made the U. S. Marine Corps the outstanding expeditionary fighting force that it is. While operational demands in Iraq and Afghanistan were the primary drivers of Marine deployments, units also supported a variety of theater-security cooperation requirements in Africa, Latin America, and the Asia-Pacific region. During 2008, the observation I made in these pages two years ago still holds true, and the performance of U.S. Marines at every level proved that soldierly virtue and uncommon valor continue to characterize the Corps.
A Strategic Concept under Stress
Carl Builder's 1989 book, The Masks of War, demonstrated the importance of the organizational cultures of the various military services. He argued that each service possesses a preferred way of operating, one that is not easily changed.