What is the Marine Corps?

We are America's Expeditionary Force in Readiness - Response at a Moment's Notice

"The Marine Corps is the Nation’s expeditionary force in readiness. On a day to day basis, we are forward deployed, forward engaged, and prepared for crisis response. We are also ready to respond in the event of a major contingency. The American people have come to expect us to do what must be done “in any clime and place” and under any conditions. They expect us to respond quickly and to win.

Our expeditionary nature provides combatant commanders other options that are increasingly in demand. While Marines are naval in character and uniquely capable of coming from the sea, our expeditionary nature allows us to operate effectively in underdeveloped conditions ashore."


- General James Dunford

36th Commandant of the Marine Corps

Current Missions

  • The seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and other land operations to support naval campaigns

  • The development of tactics, techniques, and, equipment used by amphibious landing forces.

  • Such other duties as the President may direct, which currently include:

    • Security of nuclear naval assets​

    • Operation of Presidential Helicopter Squadron

    • Marine Special Operations

    • Security of American Embassies 

    • Training foreign militaries

    • Humanitarian assistance and disaster response

    • Forward deployed contingency response

How We Do It

Our Enduring Principles

  1. Marines are focused on combat; every Marine is a rifleman.  

  2. Marines are ready, relevant, and forward deployed.  

  3. Marines are innovative, adaptable, and versatile; Marines win.  

  4. Marines do what is right for the Nation.  

  5. Marines keep their honor clean.  

  6. Marines take care of their own.  

  7. The Marine Corps is a naval expeditionary force.  

  8. The Marine Corps is an integrated combined arms organization of complementary air, ground, and logistics components.  

  9. The Marine Corps is a good steward of the Nation’s resources.