Sunday, April 26, 2020

Short Rant. The damn lies HQ Marine Corps tells itself...

Note. I've been trying to make this coherent but my thoughts are jumbled and I'm having trouble properly getting my point across. Readers that have been with me awhile will be able to read between the lines and sort out what I'm trying to say. For the new people, just follow along in the comments. Hopefully that'll sort this out for ya!

I've been re-reading the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 and I continue to be shocked and amazed by the rationale behind it.

One word keeps being spouted to justify many of the stop and starts, bad procurement decisions and muddling of our mission/ethos/reason for being.

They keep talking about RELEVANCY.

What an insane idea.

Not to beat an old topic to death but this first popped up in the push to buy the F-35.  Critics of the program (to include myself) railed against the high cost, complained about how one program was eating up the Marine Corps budget, worried about the huge swing to an air centric force.

We were told that it was necessary because of the changing face of warfare.

But at the end of the day it made no sense.

By becoming air centric we've traded a manageable danger (anti-ship missile used against surface assault) to one that is unmanageable.  The massive proliferation of anti-air systems around the include advanced anti-air complexes.

F-35's MIGHT be able to survive to conduct deep penetration raids but we were sold (at least for awhile) that we would be able to range far and wide in MV-22s and CH-53Ks and not have to worry about not only large anti-air missiles but that man portable systems wouldn't be a factor.

But I digress.  We've moved beyond even an air centric Marine Corps (a bit) to a new fantasy that we must become more "naval" in nature to be relevant into the future.

Never mind the fact that we're talking of duplicating Navy Air and Air Force missions (cause that's exactly what we're pivoting to) but that because we're choosing to duplicate their mission set that we will become more relevant into the future.

That's so false it hurts.

Think about the past century of warfare.

What has been our bread and butter?  Elite Infantry that is able to arrive from the sea, sustain itself in a fight for X-number of days, and allow follow on forces to arrive and carry on the fight after we've established a foothold.

So what are we doing instead now?

We're ignoring the fact that during WW2, the USMC started off as a coastal defense force, got overran initially (Guadalcanal) and re-formed, re-oriented and stormed back across the Pacific as shock troops pushing the Japanese back to their home islands.

During the Korean War the Marine Corps was most ready when the nation was least.  With the US Army the line was held and the Marine Corps made a critical landing at Inchon to push back the communist horde.

During Vietnam, the Marine Corps arrived in that country and fought till the last helicopter left.  Amazingly because of our excellent logistics capability the Corps operated far from what was thought to be "Marine Land" in the swamps and marshes and instead operated further North, hookin and jabbin against North Vietnamese regulars.

In Afghanistan two MEUs combined, flew deep inland and participated in the war....a war that is far from the  sea.

In Desert Storm its well known how the threat of an amphibious landing tied up Iraqi forces and allowed a massive push by Army Mech forces.

Many more examples exist of many other fights that highlight the real value of the Marine Corps.

It's really about embracing the reality of the Marine Corps.

It's about providing an OUTSTANDING, WORLD BEATING, AIR GROUND COMBAT TEAM that is unequalled in the world.

The idea that we're so willing to toss that away says more about our recent/current leadership than it does about the real needs of our nation.

The Marine Corps force structure is codified by law because Marine Corps greats realized that it would provide for a Corps that would last 500 years.

The move by Berger isn't going to guarantee our future.  It's gonna cut it short.

What will guarantee the Marine Corps future?

Dump the think tanks.  For some reason people have wanted to tinker with the Marine Corps and even more puzzling they've been listened to.  Everything has been a variation on a theme.  Becoming more aviation centric (in essence a sea borne 101st Airborne) or butched up SOCOM support or now missile flinging refueling points for allied aircraft.

None of it makes sense.

Long story short?  If the Marine Corps duplicated what other services provided then the Marine Corps would have long ago gone the way of the Dodo bird.  Does the nation need more aviation?  I don't think so.  With the Air Force and Navy we have the world's largest fast jet airpower force in the world by order of magnitude.  Does it need more helicopters?  Nope.  The US Army alone dwarfs almost the top ten helicopter forces of the remaining powers alone. So what does the nation truly need?  What the Marine Corps already provides.  A scalable combined arms team that can fight across the spectrum of warfare, is expeditionary (truly expeditionary, not just in name) and is capable of both rapid deployment AND arriving at the fight winning/or setting the stage for victory at a moment's notice.  With the F-35 we became about platforms.  That's wrong.  It's about the Marine!

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