September 11, 2001 : Attack on America
Statement by the Commandant of the Marine Corp; September 12, 2001

ALMAR 041/01


1. The recent terrorist attacks on our nation highlight the new reality of warfare. The very visible attacks against icons of our democratic nation and our citizens no longer represent a simple violation of international law. As was evidenced so graphically both in New York City and Washington, a new form of open warfare was declared against America, directly targeting civilian and military personnel and our institutions alike. Our Commander in Chief has stated we will respond to this act of war, and we will prevail. As we respond to this tragedy, our focus, as always, is to mission first and people always. In line with this commitment, I would like to offer my condolences to those who have suffered the loss of loved ones. I would like to voice special thoughts and prayers for our comrades-in-arms in the Army and Navy who appear to have borne the brunt of the attack at the Pentagon. While the process of accounting for all personnel, active duty, reserve, veteran, and civilian is not yet complete, our Corps appears, thus far, to have been spared any loss of life in Washington. I am not as optimistic with respect to the attack in New York City. Scores of emergency response personnel and the general public are bound to be members of the "Marine Family."

2. The very public display of this new form of warfare comes as no surprise to Marines. Our focus on developing anti-terrorism and force protection (AT/FP) capabilities across our force continues our tradition of innovation and transformation. The threats we so visibly faced have fully validated the reorganizations we have undergone in the past few years, especially in the Marine Corps Security Force Battalion and our Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Team capabilities. Our more recent efforts to incorporate AT/FP skill sets in all deploying Marine Corps units has proven prescient in addressing the latest threat to our national security. While our expeditionary culture remains the centerpiece of our warfighting capability, the added ability to effectively deal with terrorism is critical today and will remain one of our core capabilities for the foreseeable future.

3. Our expeditionary culture has once again proven valuable to our nation and we are poised to respond to the ongoing disaster relief operations in New York City. In conjunction with the Navy, we have once again demonstrated the value of the Navy-Marine corps team in responding across the full spectrum of capabilities that our nation demands. In line with the special bond between Sailors and Marines, I have offered the full commitment of Marine Corps capabilities in support of any naval mission, ashore or afloat. Commanders are directed to reinforce this commitment by seeking out their Navy counterparts and reinforcing this offer of assistance wherever it may be needed. While this support includes the full range of our capabilities, your focus should remain on our ability to support the AT/FP capabilities we can provide.

4. While we have previously discussed in depth the potential for asymmetric attack, we have, through the myriad actions and reactions that transpired on 11 sep 01, experienced this paradigm shift in a most personal fashion. In order to continue our tradition of innovation we must capture the lessons we have learned regarding this emergent form of warfare. Commanders are directed to compile appropriate issues and their potential impact for the future, and submit them through their advocates for incorporation into the Marine Corps Expeditionary Force Development System. Reality is that what we have faced in the past 24 hours is not a single, isolated event. Yesterday's attack is the most visible manifestation of a war for which we have prepared through organizational change, and for which our expeditionary capabilities will be highlighted and in great demand.

5. The manner in which we react over the days and months ahead will once again highlight our readiness and adaptability to meet the nation's needs across the spectrum of operations. It will also visibly reinforce that we are always ready and always faithful.

Semper Fidelis,

J.L. Jones


US Marine Corps


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