Wednesday, February 14, 2018

11, 12, 13, or 14? What is the future size of the Marine Corps Rifle Squad.

Thanks to Ronald for the link!

via Marine Corps Times
For many years, the 13-man rifle squad has been the lynchpin of how combat power is built and organized within a ground combat element or Marine infantry unit.

But now Marine Commandant General Robert B. Neller is considering big changes to the size and tasking of the rifle squad, a move likely to have a major impact on the Corps’ culture and operations.

And beyond the rifle squads, Neller also plans to add an additional eight Marines to the scout sniper platoons that support infantry battalions, expanding the platoons up to potentially 28 Marine snipers.

Neller is considering new rifle squad configurations that include 11-man, 12-man and 14-man options. While Neller hasn’t yet decided on the size of the rifle squad, it’s likely he will add a drone operator.

“The 13-man rifle squad has served us very very well over time,” Brig. Gen. Christian Wortman, the commanding officer of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, said Tuesday. “But with new technology and new capabilities developing, there’s a recognition that there’s an opportunity to better exploit that technology and that capability and to adapt how we structure the rifle squad.”
Story here.

Two things, with the last thing first.

Notice that they're adding personnel to the Sniper Platoon?  More shooters at that!  Notice that they're tinkering with the idea of going down to 11 Marines for the Marine Rifle Squad?

That tells us something.

Its beyond obvious by the design of new vehicles that a move to 11 Marines is damn near inevitable. 

The ACV will carry 11.  You can jam two 11 man squads on an MV-22 and practically 4 on a CH-53K.

They're adding by subtracting.

I don't know the number of Rifle Squads the Marine Corps "counts" but a move to 11 man squads will add to that number while not having to recruit, train or retrain to get it.  You simply move the people you have around.

Additionally by adding this drone operator or electronic warfare specialist to the mix you can "theoretically" state that they've become more lethal.

But I digress.

I believe we're gonna see a campaign to push the 11 man squad as being more lethal, easier to control on the battlefield and infinitely more mobile.]

I don't buy any of it.

I point to what they're doing with the Sniper Platoon as proof.  Snipers will still be called to engage the enemy while the new Expeditionary Rifle Squad will mostly serve as human sensor nodes to direct supporting fires.

We've heard the mantra and it's picking up speed.

The Marine Corps is in the midst of a culture change. The powers that be have ordained it, they're not going to be talked out of it and all we can do is enjoy the ride.

I'm looking forward to this new Corps being put to the test (along with the weapon systems they're bringing forward).  Don't get me wrong.  I fear for the safety of these Marines and don't want to see them killed or injured but I am not at all sold on what I'm seeing.

Time will tell who's right and who's wrong.

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