Thursday, July 11, 2019

New Commandant will consider a smaller Marine Corps...

If the Marine Corps is going to remain the most elite, well-trained force, it could be forced to spend less on people and more on badly needed upgrades to outdated training ranges and equipment, the service's new top general told this week.

Gen. David Berger, who became commandant of the Marine Corps on Thursday morning, said he's prepared to consider a smaller service if it means building a more capable force. It's something past commandants have considered, he said, when the force wasn't involved in major combat operations.

"Now, I don't know if we will need to, but the willingness to do that, I think, [would be] a reinforcement from me to leaders and to Marines that the No. 1 thing is quality," Berger said during an interview at the Pentagon. "... We owe this country a very capable, very lethal force that can do what no one else will do."

As Marines shift from nearly two decades of ground deployments back to more naval missions, Berger said they must take a hard look at what they need to be successful. This comes as China builds military hubs on tiny man-made islands in the Pacific, Russia ramps up its submarine activity, and Iran threatens American ships in the Middle East.
Story here. 

This has been baked into the planning for almost a decade now.  Many have forgotten (I didn't) that a plan was floated to reduce the USMC down to 150K.

The pushback on that idea was fierce but it never went away.  Then we saw a push back to 185K+ and its remained in that range for a number of years.

But reality is reality.

You can really look at procurement numbers (especially on the ground side) and see that a new lower number was  baked in.

200 ACVs?  Perhaps another 200 more?

That alone pointed to fewer Marines...and that's before we start looking at the costs of gear.  The CH-53K, F-35B and the upcoming UCAV are going to be budget busters.

The weird thing?

At least from my seat I don't see how this doesn't make sense.  Even worse? I see it as a minor risk in the grand scheme of things.

A smaller, elite force is the price of doing business in the world we live in.  Even at the size I mentioned we're still looking at the most powerful Marine Corps on this planet.

It's not ideal.  It DOES assume a certain amount of risk.

But if its managed correctly and if they avoiding cutting combat arms and instead trim the tail (most especially leverage certain expertise found in our sister services...I've always thought that having Army & Air Force detachments, along with our historic partnering with the Navy could yield benefits for all) smartly, then we could reclaim the mantle of being the most cost effective, lethal force the United States Of America has at its disposal.

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