The Commandant of the Marine Corps established Marine Barracks, Quantico on May 14, 1917. Thousands were trained during World War I, including units of the 4th Marine Brigade. In 1920, the predecessor to Marine Corps Combat Development Command, Marine Corps Schools was founded, in the words of then chief of staff for Quantico, Col. Smedley D. Butler, to “make this post and the whole Marine Corps a great university.”
Prospects of a Pacific War in the 1920s showed a need for revolutionary new tactics and hardware. The techniques of amphibious warfare were conceived and perfected here. Marines here designed equipment to ensure successful amphibious operations. Marine aviators here developed close-air support tactics to aid troops on the ground.
The Caribbean “Banana Wars” tested new tactics and equipment developed at here. The tactical units carrying out the new amphibious operations became the Fleet Marine Force in 1935. The FMF, headquartered at Quantico, perfected equipment and techniques in anticipation of its Pacific role. Amphibious warfare techniques, developed here in the years before World War II, made victory possible in that conflict’s Pacific theater. Marine here trained 15,000 lieutenants and numerous officers from other services, who were leaders in that victory.
In 1947, Quantico Marines conceived of carrying troops from ship to shore by helicopter and formed a special squadron to test the idea, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, commonly referred to as HMX-1. The helicopter techniques they used here later proved invaluable during the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Jan. 1, 1968, the Marine Corps Schools was redesignated the Marine Corps Development and Education Command (MCDEC) in the spirit of the command motto, “Semper Progredi” — always forward.
During the summer of 1987, MCDEC planners studied more efficient and streamlined ways in which MCDEC could ensure the Marine Corps’ Marines of the future would be the best trained, best led, best disciplined and best equipped. Nov. 10, 1987, the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC) was created, cementing MCCDCs central role in developing concepts, plans, doctrine, training and equipment for the 21st century Marine Corps.
From the combat development process emerged other organizations that either stood alone or fell under the MCCDC umbrella. Marine Corps University was established in 1989 to provide the structure and policy for professional military education Corps-wide.
The 1990s were a great time of growth for MCCDC. In 1995, the MCCDC became home to one of the Corps’ most forward-thinking organizations, the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. The lab’s mission is to conduct experimentation in 21st century warfare. Wargames and experiments produce new tactics and technologies to make the Marine warfighter more capable.
In 2005 the Commanding General for Marine Corps Combat Development Command was dual hatted as the Deputy Commandant for Combat Development and Integration (DC, CD&I). DC, CD&I was charged with the responsibility to lead integration of United States Marine Corps (USMC) warfighting capabilities through Capabilities Based Planning. To support the Capabilities Based Planning process the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory and Capabilities Development Directorate were aligned under DC, CD&I. MCCDC focus shifted to training and education with TECOM and MCB Quantico as subordinates. In 2011, with the establishment of Marine Corps Installation Command (MCICOM), Marine Corps Base Quantico transferred from MCCDC to MCICOM. In 2019, TECOM was transferred from MCCDC to report directly to the Commandant. MCCDC focus shifted to providing legal support to CD&I.
Today DC, CD&I leads Marine Corps force development in collaboration throughout the process with numerous stakeholders across Headquarters Marines Corps, the operating forces and supporting establishment.