Applying ToT to the USMC

EDIT: I only discovered this after writing the article:

I mentioned that the Theory of Three allows for infinite progression and infinite regression, and I mean to demonstrate that with this post. We’ll take the Marine Corps as our example. First, let’s take a look at the Marine Corps using the chain of command:Now, I didn’t break apart every single command. First, I broke apart the golden ones, until we get to the interesting part of the operating forces – the Marine Expeditionary Forces (or MEFs). These represent the bulk of the Marine Corps. Each MEF consists of an infantry Division (DIV), a Marine Air Wing (MAW), and a Marine Logistics Group (MLG). Each Division is comprised of three infantry regiments, which in turn are comprised of three infantry battalions, which in turn are comprised of three infantry companies. That’s 27 infantry companies per division, if you’re keeping track. Each MAW consists of three Air Groups, which are composed of three or more Squadrons, which are further broken down into Sections. Each MLG consists of three Combat Logistics Regiments, which in turn consist of three or more battalions, which then consist of three or more companies.

Whew. There’s lots of threes at work here, if you didn’t notice. Let’s see what happens when we apply ToT at the Unified Combat Command level:

The Unified Combat Command is the center triangle, and the most important. To simplify things, we’ve skipped “Marine Forces Command” and “Marine Forces Pacific” and got to the meat and potatoes – the MEFs. Here, the Unified Combat Command is an idea which is basically defined by the three different MEFs; were I to draw UCC as a single triangle, each side would be a MEF. Similarly, each MEF is defined by a DIV, MAW, and MLG. Each of those are in turn defined by the red triangles that surround them; however, there wasn’t enough resolution to continue drawing distinctions.

Rather than draw out a diagram of every DIV, MAW, and MLG, we will simply be zooming in on one DIV. (The concept applies to all three, anyway, and there isn’t much structural difference between DIVs, MAWs, and MLGs.) Here’s the diagram:

Here, the triangle for the I DIV takes center stage, and is defined by three regiments. The regiments in turn are defined by three battalions. The thing we want to remember here is that we could draw any of these elements as a single triangle; when I draw a “regiment,” each side of the triangle represents a battalion. When I draw a division, each side of the triangle represents a regiment. These diagrams demonstrate how ToT can scale infinitely.

The battalion takes center stage here, and is defined by three separate companies. The companies, in turn, are defined by three platoons. I think you can see where this is going, but I want to drive the concept all the way to the individual Marine.Battalions have three companies of three platoons. Drillin’ on down:Here we see our form – every gold triangle in this picture represents an individual Marine. One thing I’ve been tossing around in my head is that the downward facing triangles we’ve been examining (the labeled ones) represent an additional element in their groups. For example, a Fire Team is made up of three individual Marines, PLUS the Fire Team Leader. This would be in keeping with how the Marine Corps is currently organized – fire teams have four Marines. The added element at the Squad level would be a Squad Leader; a Platoon Commander (1st or 2nd Lieutenant) at the Platoon level, and so on. Anyway, I wanted to drill down further:Here we see that we can drill down to the essence of a Marine – Honor, Courage, and Commitment – and even beyond that, and begin talking about what makes HCC.

I don’t have the time currently to discuss any more particulars about this, so I’ll just leave it at that for now and return to these ideas another day.

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