Thursday, January 14, 2010

James L. Jones
'One Mind, Any Weapon' Gen. James L. Jones perceived a problem with Marines' fighting image when he became Marine Corps commandant in 1999. As a young officer during the Vietnam War, he had heard that the North Vietnamese were more fearful of the Republic of Korea's marines than they were of his U.S. Marines. A rumor had spread among the communists that all Korean marines knew tae kwon do. Gen. Jones decided that the Marine Corps would develop its own martial-arts program, in part so that the enemy would know that American Marines are as adept at fighting with their hands and feet as they are with rifles and mortars.

In 1999, he turned to the director of the Marine Corps' training and education division -- Major Gen. Thomas S. Jones (no relation) -- to start a fighting school. "I thought he was flippin' crazy," the latter Gen. Jones said during a MCMAP graduation ceremony in late October.
"With all the things going on in the Marines, why do we need a martial-arts program?" But in creating the MCMAP curriculum, Gen. Jones quickly realized its value. And as the commanding general of the Training and Education Command, he impresses that value on all who take the course. "Shame on any of you here if all you care about is the belt you wear," he told the graduating class of black-belt students. More than belts "It's not about the belt. It's not about the physical training. We got enough tough guys and gals in the Marine Corps to sustain that. "What we need to do is put the physical skills together with the mental skills and emotional skills and character development."

Ever since Vietnam, the Pentagon has sought to enhance the image of its enlisted personnel, as perceived inside and outside the military. Although they lead the world's best-equipped fighting force, senior U.S. commanders have wanted to ensure that underneath the Kevlar and microchips beats the heart of a fighter who can prevail with little more than bare hands. "I want the Marines who take this course and then return to duty feeling, 'Now people are safer because I'm here," Col. Shusko says. The motto "One Mind, Any Weapon" is emblazoned on the T-shirt of every instructor at MCMAP, which teaches 184 fighting techniques and more than 60 character-building lessons. Like traditional martial-arts disciplines, MCMAP uses a belt-ranking system: tan, gray, green, brown and black.

Every Marine is required to become a tan belt, and the highest rank is the sixth-degree black belt. The Corps currently has more than 217,000 active and reserve Marines serving today, and there are 10,000 green-belt instructors, who are qualified to teach and test tan- and gray-belt students. About 1,300 black-belt instructors are capable of testing students up to black belt. Col. Shusko, MCMAP's director since 2003, believes his is the largest martial-arts school in the world, with more than 150,000 students across the range of tan through black belts. He personally has seen about 11,000 Marines go though MCMAP training. Those who graduate then share their expertise with comrades at bases and camps from South Carolina to Okinawa to Djibouti.

James Logan Jones Jr. (born December 19, 1943) is the current United States National Security Advisor and a retired United States Marine Corps four-star general.

During his military career, he served as Commander, United States European Command (COMUSEUCOM) and Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR) from 2003 to 2006 and as the 32nd Commandant of the Marine Corps from July 1999 to January 2003. Jones retired from the Marine Corps on February 1, 2007, after 40 years of service.

After retiring from the Marine Corps, Jones remained involved in national security and foreign policy issues. In 2007, Jones served as chairman of the Congressional Independent Commission on the Security Forces of Iraq, which investigated the capabilities of the Iraqi police and armed forces. In November 2007, he was appointed by the U.S. Secretary of State as special envoy for Middle East security. He served as chairman of the Atlantic Council of the United States from June 2007 to January 2009, when he assumed the post of National Security Advisor.