The Marine Corps’ experience in the second interwar period was marked neither by the angst felt in the Army nor by the technological epiphanies that occurred to some in the Air Force and Navy. Nor did it resemble the Marine experience in the first interwar period, which was marked by both doctrinal and technical innovation as well as bitter factional disputes inside the Corps.1 Instead, the Marine Corps found itself in a relatively good position to continue performing its traditional mission of expeditionary warfare. Two opportunities for major transformation were missed in the second interwar period. First, the technological changes and doctrinal debates started in the Cold War era might have culminated in a net-centric doctrine that revolutionized marine expeditionary warfare. This vision was partially evident in the plans for “Ship to Objective Maneuver” and related initiatives, but was stillborn in its execution: no real conventional transformation occurred. Second, an environmental transformation propelled by the small wars of the 1990s could have pushed the small wars community in the marines to develop a new doctrine of counter-insurgency suitable to the future of warfare. While some small technological and doctrinal changes did occur in this area, by and large this transformation was missing as well – the maneuver warfare community in the marines usually controlled the pace of marine politics. These absent changes have many fathers. Most notably, the variables suggested by Stephen Rosen’s theory of intra-service competition seem to have taken on values unfriendly to transformation. The culture of the Marines appears to have prevented the continuity in leadership that can give potential innovators protection. Those small changes that did occur were influenced by the interservice position of the Corps. Acutely attuned to the threats to its autonomy from other services, the Marine Corps was willing to make small changes that bolstered its political position. However, the Corps was not entirely static in this second interwar period. This chapter will discuss the changes that did take place. It proceeds in five parts. The first section briefly discusses some of the idiosyncrasies of the Marine Corps as an organization. The second provides a short summary of what was going in the Marine Corps in the period prior to the second interwar period (from the end of Vietnam to the end of the Cold War) as a necessary backdrop. Much

of the Marine experience in the second interwar period is a continuation of trends begun in this era. The third section focuses on the early interwar period, from Desert Storm to the intervention in Haiti. The fourth section examines the later interwar period, as debates about an emerging “revolution in military affairs” (RMA) began to gather momentum even as defense budgets remained somewhat tight. The fifth section discusses the Marine experience in the early part of the new conflict some now call “the Long War.”