– CIMSEC – Professor Heather Venable discusses her new book, How the Few Became the Proud: Crafting the Marine Corps Mystique, 1874-1918. It is a fascinating look at how the U.S. Marine Corps, struggling to define its role as a small fighting force in the earlier days of the republic, crafted a reputation and truly — a mystique — to ensure the service’s survival.
– Marine Corps Times – The Marine Corps is putting together a new force in Hawaii called the Marine Littoral Regiment that can operate inside a contested maritime environment and sink ships.
– War on the Rocks – A great deal of digital ink has been spilled about the Marines recently revealed Force Design Plan 2030 and its strategic implications and whether or not the commandant is steering the Corps in the “right” direction. This debate is obviously important, but it has thus far overlooked an equally vital question: can Berger implement his vision?
– Stars and Stripes – A new “Marine Littoral Regiment” coming to Hawaii — the first of its kind in the Marine Corps — represents a major shift for the service in the “great power” competition playing out in the Western Pacific and preparation for a high-tech missile war in the region.
– War Zone – Fleets of small, low-cost amphibious warships are absolutely critical to how the Marine Corps’ plans to fight in the coming years.
– War on the Rocks – Since reading the commandant’s Force Design report, we, too, have reflected on what the changes will mean for the Marine Corps — and by extension, the Department of the Navy, the joint force, our allies, partners, and most importantly, the American people. Regular War on the Rocks readers likely know that our writing team has, at times, been critical of the Corps’ decisions. In this case, however, we, like T.X. Hammes, are encouraged about the potential future that awaits our naval service.
– War Zone – The exercise sent a clear signal that Marine Hornets are ready to reach out and counter hostile maritime activities.
– War Zone – The training exercises come amid a new spike in hostility with Iran, which uses its own nearby islands to stage various naval operations.
– War on the Rocks – While the world is worried about pandemics, trade, and migration, U.S. defense leaders remain laser focused on treating China as the new pacing threat. Each service has marched in step to the 2018 National Defense Strategy and linked their force modernization to great power competition. The focus of the Marine Corps Commandant’s Planning Guidance and new force design report illustrate this trend. Are the concepts and formations called for in these documents flexible enough to respond to other, more likely conflicts?
– RAND – Naval surface fire support (NSFS) has been a traditional mission of U.S. Navy surface combatants. Although naval guns have been viewed as a major instrument of sea control, they have also been seen, and widely used, as ways to directly influence the battle ashore by providing the equivalent of artillery support for U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) forces operating ashore. Although there is no denying that the Navy and the USMC have viewed NSFS as important, the actual requirements are sometimes vague.
– Traditional Right – William Lind comments on the U.S. Marine Corps future direction.
– War on the Rocks – Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger’s recently published Force Design 2030 has riled up both the “old guard,” who fear for the service’s future, and industry lobbyists, who fear for the future of contracts for amphibious ships and F-35s. The document rationally outlines the changes necessary for the Marine Corps to play its role as the nation’s naval expeditionary force-in-readiness while meeting the modernization and operational requirements laid out in the 2018 National Defense Strategy. Overall the proposal has been positively received, but critics have expressed concern that the proposed force does not hedge for the sorts of wars fought in contingencies like Vietnam, Korea, and Iraq.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps’ new force design may allow East Coast expeditionary units to look much different than West Coast or Japan-based units, a nod to the complex but different environments they’ll operate in and threats they’ll face in the future.
– USNI News – A Marine Corps decision to reduce the number of F-35 Joint Strike Fighters per squadron from 16 to 10 won’t lead to a cut in the total number of planes the service wants to buy just yet – but the commandant warned industry that external factors could lead to programmatic changes down the line.
– Breaking Defense – “Our continued inability to build and sustain an adequate inventory of F-35 pilots leads me to conclude that we must be pragmatic regarding our ability to support” the program,” Gen. David Berger says in a blunt new 10-year force design plan.
– US Marine Corps – This report describes the progress of the Marine Corps on my watch in preparing for the sweeping changes needed to meet the principal challenges facing the institution: effectively playing our role as the nation’s naval expeditionary force-in-readiness, while simultaneously modernizing the force in accordance with the National Defense Strategy (NDS) – and doing both within the fiscal resources we are provided.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps will soon lay out its path to achieve a 2030 force optimized for conflict with China in the littorals – a force that will completely divest of its tanks and slash most of its artillery cannon battalions, instead focusing on developing light mobility options to get around island chains with the assistance of unmanned systems and mobile anti-ship missiles.
– CDR Salamander – Bryan McGrath opines on the USMC’s recent decisions on unmanned air systems.
– USNI News – Navy and Marine Corps leaders are confident a pair of ground-based anti-ship missile programs in support of the Expeditionary Advance Base Operations (EABO) concept is leaving China “just scratching their head” trying to figure out how to counter U.S. naval force advancements.
– CIMSEC – So, with all the calls for integration, where is the Naval Expeditionary Combat Command (NECC)? After all, the Marine Corps itself is a naval expeditionary force according to the Commandant.
– USNI News – The Marines have ditched their plan to field a very large drone on amphibious ships, instead breaking the four-year-old MUX program into a family of systems that will include a very large land-based unmanned aerial vehicle and a medium-sized one for shipboard operations.
– National Interest – Emplaced on islands dotting the Pacific Ocean, HIMARS and kindred missile launchers could give Chinese ships of war a very bad day.
– Defense News – The Marine Corps is all in on fielding mobile anti-ship missiles in the Pacific to challenge China’s growing Navy, declaring it in written testimony to the Senate Armed Services Committee’s seapower subcommittee to be its highest ground modernization priority.
– CIMSEC – The path to the level of integration blazed in the interwar period provides a blueprint for integrating today’s Navy and Marine warfighting and warfighters.
– USNI Blog – Among the long list of Navy challenges resulting from cumulative program and budget decisions, two are of particular concern to Marines. The first is near term and centered on the poor availability of the current amphibious force. The second is the growing concern that the present amphibious force, even if funded to a better availability rate, may not be well suited to the likely conditions of modern peer warfare in regard to its primary purpose: the execution of amphibious assaults.