The purpose of this United States Marine Corps USMC manual, Marine Corps Doctrine Publication 7 Learning February 2020, is to describe the Marine Corps’ learning philosophy and explain why learning is critically important to the profession of arms. While many of the concepts in this publication have been passed on by Marine leaders throughout our history, this publication seeks to formalize them and provide aspirational goals. Learning is an institutional priority and a professional expectation for all Marines. This mentality is key to the Marine Corps becoming a more effective learning organization.
The most important factor in this philosophy is the importance of continuous learning throughout our careers for warfighting. Continuous learning is essential to maneuver warfare because it enables Marines to quickly recognize changing conditions in the battlespace, adapt, and make timely decisions against a thinking enemy. These skills required in war must be learned, developed, and honed over time—if neglected, they quickly atrophy. Marines leverage the art and science of learning, technologies, and learning environments that reflect the changing operational environment to tailor learning and provide each other with constructive feedback. Leaders hold Marines to high professional standards of performance, conduct, and discipline—to include learning. As Marines rise in rank and position, continuous learning and developing our professional skills are a professional expectation. We must make the most of every learning opportunity, fostering our subordinates’ learning while continuing our own.
Continuous learning is important to Marines because of the fundamental nature of war and its ever-changing character. The nature of war carries a combination of fear, uncertainty, ambiguity, chance, horror and, above all, friction that Marines must prepare to counter. Marines must seek out education and training opportunities that simulate these conditions. We must train how we fight. As Marines, we must understand how important learning is and be committed to the principles laid out in this publication. Our professional responsibility—as Marines— is to engage in continuous learning so that we may best support our fellow Marines, our Corps, and our Nation.