On Ender's Game

Ender Wiggin, USMC

By John F. Schmitt

I knew Ender Wiggin very well. We were infantry captains together back in the day, stationed at the Marine Corps Warfighting Center during the Quantico Renaissance of the late 1980s and early 1990s. Of course, that’s not true, the Quantico part anyway, although it might just as well have been.

I did know Ender Wiggin very well though. I have proof.

***

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, under the leadership of a visionary new Commandant, the US Marine Corps reinvented itself, adopting a radical new operational doctrine called Maneuver Warfare and implementing a bold and wide-ranging set of institutional changes to ensure it could execute that doctrine in war. Maneuver Warfare is based on tempo, surprise, boldness, trust relationships, ruthlessly attacking enemy vulnerabilities, and low-level commanders acting on their own initiative based on limited guidance from their seniors. (Dragon Army, anyone?) Given that a key tenet of Maneuver Warfare is leaders at all echelons exercising initiative on their own authority, developing those leaders became critically important. That period of change has sometimes been called the Maneuver Warfare Revolution, and because most of it revolved around Quantico, Virginia, it also has come to be known as the Quantico Renaissance. It was a heady time to be at Quantico, filled with intellectual energy and a compelling sense of purpose. I was there, a firebrand young captain who by good fortune had the opportunity to play a key role in those events.

Ender’s Game also played no small role in helping to produce the changes  …

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