Tuesday, December 03, 2019

Why do "theorists" keep circling back to making the USMC light while the Chinese are meching up?

Let's dig into this cause everyone is slamming my inbox with this article (although it popped up in my Google alerts).

via Proceedings.
To persist inside an adversary A2/AD engagement zone, Marines need to be lighter, more agile, and more survivable. The middleweight force currently fielded by Marine divisions has a signature that is too large and too tied to vehicular support to evade adversary targeting. The Corps must divest itself of all heavy armor and most light-armored platforms. The main effort should be light infantry forces operating in small units that can maneuver and communicate clandestinely for extended periods inside an adversary engagement zone. Forces that can effectively infiltrate will be more successful at evading adversaries and more successful at persisting inside enemy engagement zones.  

I consider this a variation on a theme that we've been hearing since Amos' time in the big chair...maybe before.

They're wanting a "commando" force.

Have you noticed one thing about this concept though?  Somehow it's expected that light forces can operate for "extended periods" within the reach of enemy forces.

Why is everyone assuming that the ability to find, fix and destroy these small units is beyond the ability of an adversary force?

No need to do a full breakdown but everyone remembers the time that a SEAL Team was located, hunted down and killed with only one person surviving the encounter.

We've seen it with Marine Sniper Platoons in Iraq too.

Small units will not survive on the modern battlefield.  Survivability is built on the shifting sands of being stealth, having robust communications, magical resupply and God like supporting fires to protect them when things go sideways.

Additionally the force that many want won't scale up and down the spectrum and will be biased toward operating only against terrorist (and I have my doubts against even those forces as we've seen them morph into quasi nation state armies...just ask the Saudis in Yemen, the French in Mali etc...).

As for the rest?

Give Marine Air to the Navy?

In a billion years maybe!

I can see greater integration but that alone would tilt Marine Air on it's head and shake it out in ways that would probably leave it a shell of itself.

This is a great article and bold thinking but I believe it misses on the mark on most of it's assumptions.

Finally we have to take note of our enemies.  The Chinese are meching up like a crack whore smokes it in a dark New Orleans alley.  The Russians are too.  Hell even "light infantry" is meching up in ways that make me cringe (light infantry that uses robotic mules?).  In a world that is getting heavier and heavier in every way possible (to include SOCOM) the Marine Corps has found a magic pill by way of Air Assault?

We might as navalize the 101st and send our people to the UK. This plan is about nothing but making the 198K man USMC into a big version of the UK's Royal Marines.

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