Mars Learning

The Marine Corps’ Development of Small Wars Doctrine, 1915–1940

Keith B. Bickel

First Edition • January 1, 2001 • 288 pages

Print ISBN: 9780813397757 • $47.00 USD$81.50 CAN

Ebook ISBN: 9780786748167 • $29.99 USD$34.99 CAN


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Keith B. Bickel challenges a host of military and strategic theories that treat particular bureaucratic structures, large organizations, and elites as the progenitors of doctrine. This timely study of how the military draws lessons from interventions focuses on the overlooked role that mid-level combat officers play in creating military doctrine. Mars Learning closely evaluates Marine civil and military pacification operations in Haiti, the Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua, and illuminates the debates surrounding the development of Marine Corps’ small wars doctrine between 1915 and 1940. The result is compelling evidence of how field experience obtained before 1940 played a role in shaping the Marine Corps’ Small Wars Manual and elements of doctrine that exist today. How the Marines organized lessons at that time provides important insights into how doctrine is likely to be generated today in response to post-Cold War interventions around the globe.

Keith B. Bickel is a military and business strategist in Washington D.C. He has served in the Office of Net Assessment, within the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD/NA), and with the White House budget office where he oversaw financing of Pentagon operations in Haiti, Bosnia, and the Persian Gulf. He received his Ph.D. in Strategic Studies from the Johns Hopkins University, SAIS.

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