Marines Plan to Retool to Meet China Threat

Andy in NH

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Aug 14, 2007
In brief, the Commandant had this to say in his Force Design 2030 publication (attached).
Divestment of three infantry battalions.
Based on the evolution of joint OPLANS that previously influenced capacity in our “base unit,” and on my elimination of the requirement to size the force for a generic “2 MEB JFEO,” the remaining 21 battalions will satisfy naval and joint requirements
Investment in additional rocket artillery batteries.
This investment provides the basis, over time, for generating one of the fundamental requirements for deterrence, and ultimately successful naval campaigns – long-range, precision expeditionary anti-ship missile fires. This requirement is based on one of the more well-supported conclusions from wargaming analysis conducted to date.
Divestment of tanks.
We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future. Heavy ground armor capability will continue to be provided by the U.S. Army.
Divestment of at least two light attack helicopter squadrons.
While this capability has a certain amount of relevance to crisis and contingency missions which we must still be prepared to execute, it is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority maritime challenges and excess to our needs with the divestment of three infantry battalions.
Force design places new demands on our FMF that require us to revisit our current manpower policies supporting MARSOC. We must develop assignment policies that continue to satisfy MARSOC personnel requirements while ensuring appropriate rotation of personnel in and out of MARSOC. Any change to the current policies should not limit MARSOC’s ability to recruit, assess and develop relationships and candidates, in coordination with FMF units and leaders. Recommended changes to policy should ensure Marines remain competitive for promotion and have broad opportunities for assignment within the Marine Corps and the joint force.
I concur with IPT conclusions that our current entry level and advanced infantry training programs and policies will not meet future demands of our infantry elements. We will need to increase our upfront, entry-level training investment, and then look to make corresponding modifications to advanced infantry training to develop the quality, maturity and capabilities envisioned – including the multi-disciplinary infantry approach – in the IPT findings. This effort should include looking at ways to include all components of the 03XX occupational field, including reconnaissance and LAR. Explore ways to challenge existing models and paradigms to yield a more capable and mature infantry and reconnaissance force. TECOM will develop options for a modernized and more comprehensive entry-level infantry school to fundamentally improve the initial proficiency and skills of our infantry force.


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