Friday, April 10, 2020

USMC seeks exit route for tanks

via Shepard Media
After announcing the planned removal of its entire MBT capability in its Force Design 2030 blueprint, the USMC is now working to define how these vehicles will leave the service.

Maj Joshua Benson, USMC director of communication, strategy and operations, told Shephard that this move will occur over the next few fiscal years, although he could not confirm a precise timeframe.

‘For operational security purposes, specific details regarding force design changes will not be made available to maintain a competitive edge over our adversaries and prevent the acceleration of enemy counter-actions due to disclosures,’ Benson pointed out.

He added that many specific details are now being worked by the deputy commandants and the responsible units throughout the USMC.

The M1A1 Abrams MBT is the backbone of the USMC armoured vehicle fleet. The tank is operated by a crew of four and it is armed with a 120mm M256 smoothbore gun, a coaxial 7.62mm M240 machine gun, a pintle-mounted M240 on the turret roof for the loader, and a pintle-mounted .50cal M2HB heavy machine gun on the turret roof for the commander.

In the Force Design 2030 blueprint, released in late March, USMC Commandant Gen David Berger said that removing heavy ground armoured vehicles will not damage the US military, as this capability will continue to be provided by the US Army.

‘We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future,’ Berger stressed.

In his opinion, the USMC has over-invested in other capabilities such as towed cannon artillery and short-range/ low-endurance UAS that are incapable of employing lethal effects.

The USMC will also disband its law enforcement battalions and associated military occupational specialities, as well as all bridging companies.

It will also reduce the number of infantry battalions from 24 to 21; artillery cannon batteries from 21 to five; and amphibious vehicle companies from six to four.   

The USMC will reassign the 1st Battalion/8th Marines to 2nd Marines and 2nd Battalion/8th Marines to 6th Marines. In addition, the activation of the 5th Battalion/10th Marines was cancelled although its assigned batteries will realign under the existing 10th Marine Regiment structure. The 8th Marine Regiment Headquarters Company and 3rd Battalion/8th Marines will be deactivated.

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