Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Well said Sir!

via Marine Times....
The United Kingdom’s recent decision to drastically cut its military, including a decision not to purchase the jump-jet version of the Joint Strike Fighter [“Analysts: U.K. move to drop F-35B won’t raise costs,” Nov. 1], holds a lesson for our own similarly challenging economic times.

Britain’s fleet once policed the seas and now tries to keep afloat a token measure of their past maritime dominance. Their decisions make near-term fiscal sense, but cut at the quick of their national military capability. We are faced with many of these same, tempting cost-cutting decisions, and we’d be well-served to make our decisions aligned with long-term strategic interests, rather than current financials.

As Marines, we pride ourselves on being most ready when the nation is least, but no longer can that readiness be defined inexpensively by a full canteen, bandoleer and Army hand-me-downs. Nine years at war and casualties have changed that ultra low-cost “have gun, will travel” construct. Today, the nation requires the Corps to fill a band of military requirements short of the Army, but more robust than the exquisite skills of the U.S. Special Operations Command community. We prevent conflict with our forward-deployed presence and, if needed, we buy time for follow-on forces to arrive or negotiation to begin. To fill that middleweight-fighter requirement, the Corps must retain its essential character as an expeditionary air-ground general purpose force — a force with a fighting weight exceeding the sum of its pounds.

Beyond our bedrock requirement for amphibious shipping, we are not beholden to any single program, but our young Marines need the capabilities resident in certain platforms to safeguard lives and prevail in conflict. The short-take-off-and-vertical-landing JSF, MV-22 Osprey and Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle are not inexpensive, but are a value when compared to the lives they will save and the operational flexibility they will provide. They are an investment in our children’s future, a hedge against the arc of history and the necessary premium of peace to prevent the terrible cost of war.

Col. Bryan Salas, director of public affairs
Headquarters Marine Corps

A modest proposal. Time to say good-bye to Tanks.

It pains me to say this.

I don't like having to say this.

But the facts are plain and have been for the past 10 years.

The USMC can no longer afford the luxury of having tanks.  Farm it out to the US Army and have them establish detachments aboard USMC bases....have the Army provide the logistics support --- but get the burden off the Marine Corps.

Just a few intense facts...

1.  Marine Corps tanks haven't deployed to Afghanistan.
2.  Distributed Operations (at least as I've read it) doesn't account for tanks in its doctrine.
3.  The Marine Corps is attempting to become more expeditionary.  Tanks don't allow for that luxury and even in the best case scenario would be relegated to Division or higher.
4.  Tanks are a tremendous burden to the MEU.
5.  The MEU could deploy more AAVs/EFVs/JLTVs, howitzers, MTVRs etc...if it didn't have the burden of having a tank platoon attached.

There are many more reasons that others could come up with I'm sure.  But the basic fact is this.  Having tanks as an organic part of the Marine Corps seems to have run its course.  Having the US Army provide a dedicated Heavy Combat Brigade to support Marine Corps operations seems to be the solution to an unfortunate problem.