The responsibilities of the Commandant are outlined in Title 10, Section 5043 the United States Code and is "Subject to the authority, direction, and control of the Secretary of the Navy". As stated in the U.S. Code, the Commandant shall preside over the Headquarters, Marine Corps, transmit the plans and recommendations of the Headquarters, Marine Corps, to the Secretary and advise the Secretary with regard to such plans and recommendations, after approval of the plans or recommendations of the Headquarters, Marine Corps, by the Secretary, act as the agent of the Secretary in carrying them into effect, exercise supervision, consistent with the authority assigned to commanders of unified or specified combatant commands under chapter 6 of this title, over such of the members and organizations of the Marine Corps and the Navy as the Secretary determines, perform the duties prescribed for him by section 171 of this title and other provisions of law and perform such other military duties, not otherwise assigned by law, as are assigned to him by the President, the Secretary of Defense, or the Secretary of the Navy.
Pay Grade: The salary for CMC is $20,587.80 per month.
List of commandants
Thirty-five  men have served as the Commandant of the Marine Corps, including the current Commandant James F. Amos. The first Commandant was Samuel Nicholas, who took office as a captain, though there was no office titled "Commandant" at the time, and the Second Continental Congress had authorized that the senior-most Marine could take a rank up to Colonel. The longest-serving was Archibald Henderson, sometimes referred to as the "Grand old man of the Marine Corps" due to his thirty-nine-year tenure. In the 236-year history of the United States Marine Corps, only one Commandant has ever been fired from the job: Anthony Gale, as a result of a court-martial in 1820.
In 1978, Dunford served in the 1st Marine Division as a platoon and company commander in 3rd Battalion 1st Marines and a company commander in 1st Battalion 9th Marines until 1981. He served as the aide to the commanding general of III Marine Expeditionary Force for a year, then transferred to the Officer Assignment Branch at Headquarters Marine Corps in Washington, D.C.. He reported to the 2nd Marine Division in June 1985 and commanded L Company of 3rd Battalion 6th Marines. In 1987, he was reassigned to 2nd Air Naval Gunfire Liaison Company as the Operations, Plans, and Training Officer.
From 1988-1991, Dunford was assigned as the Marine Officer Instructor at the College of the Holy Cross and Officer Candidates School at Marine Corps Base Quantico. In 1992, he was assigned to HQMC as a member of the Commandant’s staff group and subsequently as the Senior Aide to the Commandant of the Marine Corps. In 1995, he joined the 6th Marine Regiment as the executive officer, then went on to command 2nd Battalion 6th Marines from 1996 until 1998.
In 1999, Dunford was the executive assistant to the Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (under both Generals Joseph Ralston and Richard Myers) and as Chief, Global and Multilateral Affairs Division (J-5) until 2001. He next served in the 1st Marine Division where he was assigned to command the 5th Marine Regiment, then as the division's chief of staff and assistant commander. During this time, he served 22 months in Iraq. During his command of RCT-5 in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, he earned the nickname "Fighting Joe" under James Mattis.
From 2005-2007, Dunford returned to Headquarters Marine Corps to serve as the Director of the Operations Division of the Plans, Policies and Operations staff, and eventually became the Vice Director for Operations (J-3) at the Joint Staff in 2008. In December 2007, Dunford was nominated for promotion to the rank of major general. In February, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates announced that President George W. Bush had nominated Dunford for promotion to lieutenant general and appointment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies and Operations, to succeed LtGen Richard F. Natonski. In April 2008, his appointment to the permanent rank of major general was confirmed by the United States Senate, and simultaneously appointed in the grade of lieutenant general for his new assignment.
Dunford served a dual role in his assignment as Deputy Commandant for Plans, Policies, and Operations:
“ Is the Operations Deputy (OpsDep) for the Commandant on all Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) matters. Serves as the focal point for the interface between the Marine Corps (as one of the four Services) and the joint and combined activities of the JCS and the unified Commanders-in-Chief, and various allied and other foreign Defense agencies.
Is responsible for coordinating the development and execution of service plans and policies related to the structure, deployment, and employment of Marine Corps forces in general.
On May 1, 2009, the Pentagon announced that President Barack Obama had appointed Dunford to serve as the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force and Marine Forces Central Command.
Less than a year into that assignment, Dunford was nominated by Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to succeed James F. Amos as Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps, who had been nominated to succeed James Conway as Commandant. President Obama approved his promotion and Dunford assumed the duties and new rank on 23 October 2010.
On October 10, 2012, General Dunford was nominated by President Barack Obama to lead U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan. After an investigation into inappropriate communications from the then-current commander in Afghanistan, General John R. Allen, was opened, Secretary Panetta requested that General Dunford's nomination be acted on promptly. Dunford assumed command of the International Security Assistance Force and U.S. Forces Afghanistan (USFOR-A) from General Allen, who had since been cleared in the Pentagon's investigation involving his e-mails in the Petraeus scandal, on February 10, 2013, .
On June 5, 2014, General Dunford was nominated by President Obama to be the 36th Commandant of the Marine Corps. His nomination was confirmed by the Senate on July 23, 2014, and he became Commandant on October 17, 2014. On January 23, 2015 General Dunford released the 36th Commandant's Planning Guidance http://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/142/Docs/2015CPG_Color.pdf