Sunday, April 05, 2020

The Marine Corps' Radical Shift toward China via

via CSIS (Read the entire report here). Click on pics to enlarge them.

Again this is a MUST READ!  The most stunning part of the report?
No Hedging

When these proposed changes are fully implemented, the Marine Corps will be well structured to fight an island campaign in the Western Pacific against China. Although the NDS allows hedging against other adversaries and conflicts—North Korea, Iran, counterterrorism—the Marine Corps does not plan to do that. As General Berger stated in his guidance: “[This] single purpose-built future force will be applied against other challenges across the globe; however, we will not seek to hedge or balance our investments to account for those contingencies.”

The lack of hedging means that the Marine Corps will not field the broad set of capabilities it has in the past. It will be poorly structured to fight the kind of campaigns that it had to fight in Korea, Vietnam, and Iraq. The history of the last 70 years has been that the United States deters great power conflict and fights regional and stability conflicts. Although forces can adapt, as seen during the long counterinsurgency campaigns in the Middle East, there is a delay and an initial lack of expertise. The Marine Corps might plan to defer these conflicts to the Army, but that has not worked in the past. Army forces have been too small to keep the Marine Corps out of sustained ground combat.

Marine Corps officials have argued privately that other kinds of conflicts would be lesser included capabilities of this focus on high-end conflict in the Western Pacific. This is misplaced. History is littered with examples of militaries that prepared for one kind of conflict and then had to fight a very different kind of conflict. In the best circumstances, militaries adapt at the cost of time and blood. In the worst circumstances, the result is catastrophic failure.

For example, in the 1950s and early-1960s the U.S. Army focused on great power conflict in Europe against the Soviet Union and the Warsaw Pact. That Army then had to fight a counterinsurgency conflict in Southeast Asia. As Andrew Krepinevich argued, the Army was “a superb instrument for combating the field armies of its adversaries in conventional wars but an inefficient and ineffective force for defeating insurgent guerrilla forces.”

The Army and Navy use their reserve components to hedge against unexpected demands. Thus, their reserve components do not look like the active component but are imbalanced. For example, most of the Army’s medical, transportation, engineering, civil affairs, and psychological operations units are in the reserve component.

The new Marine Corps structure might have kept some tanks, towed artillery, bridging units, military police, or logistics in the reserves as a hedge against a future war involving ground combat against a national army or a counterinsurgency campaign. However, the plan does not include such hedges.
And then this.
 The Uncertain Viability of New War-fighting Concepts

The final risk is whether this new war-fighting concept of distributed operations within the adversary’s weapons engagement zone will work. The Marine Corps has sensibly conducted a lot of war-gaming and satisfied itself that the concept will succeed. However, as Marines note, the enemy gets a vote. Maintaining small and vulnerable units deep inside an adversary’s weapons engagement zone will be challenging. Even small units need a continuous resupply with fuel and munitions. If that is not possible, or if the Chinese figure out a way to hunt these units down, the concept collapses.
This is my greatest fear.  Why haven't you seen distributed operations as a foundation of fighting in the past?

Because small units can be hunted down and destroyed...rather easily by a competent foe.  We saw that happen in Afghanistan to Special Operations Units and I believe, if this plan is implemented, that you'll see the Chinese locate, pin down and then conduct deliberate attacks to destroy these Marine Corps forces.

The same applies to our ships.  Independent ship operations are fraught with danger.  Once a lone ship is located.  It will be focus fired into oblivion.

Regardless.  Ignore my fears and read what CSIS has to say about this new concept.

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