“Whenever you make assumptions, you need an alternate plan.”
–29th Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Al Gray
In July 2019, Marine Corps General David H. Berger released the Commandant’s Planning Guidance (CPG) and charted a course toward a force modernization that is the among the most ambitious in recent history.
Implementation began immediately. But as the institution moves forward, it leaves behind the sterile environment of working groups, assumptions, and conceptual planning and enters the real world. The Marine Corps should do what anyone en route to an unknown destination would—pause periodically to make sure they are where they think they are and confirm their course to the intended destination.
Azimuth checks are even more important when the map includes areas that were unknown when the course was charted. To ensure the Marine Corps arrives at its intended destination, the fundamental assumptions that informed the course must be validated to inform future decisions. Stepping off without a plan for azimuth checks or the will to implement them is a guarantee to wind up lost.
1. GEN David H. Berger, USMC, Force Design 2030, 2.