Publication Agenda for the MCU Journal, Volume 8 (2017) (Marine Corps University)

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“Preparing for Unwanted Wars: Engaging the Conventional in the Era of Unconventional”

Spring 2017 Call for Papers: Rebalance to Asia
For the first MCU Journal issue of 2017, we are calling for civilian and military authors to submit manuscripts on the topic of Asian security, stability, and stressors. The White House has identified Asia and the Pacific as the growing political and economic center of gravity. We are interested in historical, political, IR, military, economic, and technological perspectives (i.e., conventional deterrence and platforms) directly or indirectly related to the U.S. policy of “rebalance to Asia.” Submissions due ASAP.

Fall 2017 Call for Papers: Lessons Learned, Lessons Not Learned
Shifting from considering future commitments, the editors would like to open the second issue of our 2017 volume to understanding the lessons we have learned about unconventional, hybrid, and ambiguous warfare and to considering the problems associated with addressing those lessons while also preparing for and dealing with conventional conflict. For this issue, we are interested in a wide range of articles to include historical perspectives from Vietnam, OIF/OEF, or other previous actions as well as the more social science-based approaches of political scientists, IR scholars, and military professionals and scholars from PME institutions. Submissions due by 2 April 2017.

The MCU Journal (Marine Corps University) is a peer reviewed and indexed academic journal featuring articles that speak directly and indirectly to the policy issues of interest to the U.S. Marine Corps as well as the Department of Defense and other stakeholders. Our authorship and audience come from both civilian and military institutions, and the editors strive to promote dialogue across those boundaries to foster critical thinking about important policy issues. The journal is multidisciplinary, and the editors encourage innovative approaches to national and international problems of the past, present, and future. The journal works closely with faculty from the Marine Corps University, home of the Marine Corps War College, Command and Staff College, and other USMC schoolhouses.

In January 2016, the Commandant of the Marine Corps General Robert B. Neller issued a Fragmentary Order, outlining his intent and guidance for the Corps in the next ten to twenty years. In it, he explained how the Marine Corps would approach balancing “current commitments and future readiness requirements.” As the journal connected to the Marine Corps University that prepares the future leaders of the Corps, the editors of the MCU Journal are soliciting papers that reflect both of the topics presented by General Neller: current commitments and possible future engagements.

Of course, there is more to story. The U.S. military is at a crossroads.  Since Operation Enduring Freedom was initiated in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. military as a whole, has been consumed by operations related to counterinsurgency and counterterrorism as well as addressing other nontraditional threats to the United States.  However, it is also evident that well into the second decade of the twenty-first century, the United States is also facing emerging challenges from state actors whose conventional capabilities have improved to such a degree that they pose a significant potential threat to U.S. national security interests or whose actions are coercive enough to generate alarm among friends and allies but still fall significantly below well-defined U.S. red lines demanding an immediate military response. The most recent conflicts that the United States has found itself engaged in represent “unwanted wars” characterized by complex investments in people, equipment, doctrine, and organization.   At the same time, there is a need for America to ensure it maintains an effective conventional deterrence and the capability to respond militarily to conventional military conflict should such contingencies arise.  In short, how should an investment in equipment, training, and organization to address emerging conventional challenges be pursued without reducing our capacity to engage in such missions as counterinsurgency, humanitarian and disaster relief, stability operations, and counterterrorism?  As the Commandant prepares the Marine Corps for readiness in this new era, we would like to call authors to consider how this critical investment can be accomplished by way of the dual track nature of the security environment that the U.S. Marine Corps is facing, both conventional and unconventional warfare.

Contact Us

If you are interested in submitting a manuscript or proposing possible topics, please contact the acquisitions editor:

Dr. Alexandra Kindell at

We encourage authors who are analysts, junior scholars, and military professionals to join civilian academics in producing accurate, relevant, and usable articles to guide our nation’s leaders as they develop policy.