The First Stand-In Forces: The Role of International Affairs Marines in Force Design 2030

CIMSEC – A key challenge facing the current and future Marine Corps is gaining and maintaining access. After framing the central role that access challenges will play in implementing Force Design 2030 and its associated warfighting concepts, recommendations are then proposed for how the USMC can best employ its cadre of international affairs (IA) Marines to address this access challenge. 

Are the Marines Inventing the Edsel or the Mustang?

War on the Rocks – Ford Motor Company’s development of the Edsel 60 years ago still stands as a classic corporate case study of transformative product failure. The Marine Corps, a $50 billion dollar enterprise, has introduced its own futuristic product — an explicitly defensive island-hopping “Stand-In Force” capable of reconnoitering and sinking warships in order to support naval campaigns. To pay for it, the Marine Corps intends to cut its main product line — infantry supported by artillery, armor, and air — by about 25 percent.

Preparing For Change is as Important as Change Itself: Change Management and Force Design 2030

CIMSEC – The problem with Force Design 2030 (FD2030) and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) is that they both involve massive institutional changes being executed in a very short time. More specifically, there are multiple significant changes involved in implementing these broader concepts. Any of these by themselves would be a significant shift in the institution. Implementing them all simultaneously may be, in military parlance, “a bridge too far.”

Pacific Marines move to formalize role as the stand-in force

Defense News – As China expanded the reach of its weapons throughout the South China Sea over the last decade, U.S. weapons development focused on increasing the standoff range, so American forces could stay safe as an outside force shooting in. But U.S. Marines in the Pacific have continued to operate inside that striking range, and they’re now doubling down with a new concept outlining their role as a stand-in force.

The light amphibious warship is delayed, but the Marine Corps has a temporary solution

Defense News – The U.S. Marine Corps planned to have its light amphibious warship on contract by now, ushering in a small ship that will move Marines around island chains and coastlines without relying on traditional, large ships. But moving forward on the program and awarding that contract simply hasn’t been possible, after the effort was crowded out of the Navy’s shipbuilding budget two years in a row.

U.S. Army Japan’s LCU Vessel Masters Discuss U.S. Navy LAW

Navy News – The U.S. Navy’s upcoming Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) is one of the top acquisition priorities for the U.S. Marine Corps in their strategy to counter China’s Anti-Access/Area Denial (A2AD) in the Indian Pacific Command (INDO-PACOM) region. The LAW is meant to patrol the INDO-PACOM region, transporting around 75 U.S. Marines and their vehicles and equipment for about a 30-day tour as part of Force Design 2030, the U.S. Marine Corps’ Commandant General David Berger’s concept strategy of utilizing lighter, faster, more mobile and deployable assets in the Asian Pacific Rim to counter peer nations’ vast arsenal of tactical ballistic, cruise, supersonic, and hypersonic (Anti-Ship) missiles. The LAW is still in the preliminary design stages, but the U.S. Army has ample experience transporting heavy armored tracked fighting vehicles and tactical trucks around the INDO-PACOM region using their own large Landing Craft Utility (LCU) ships.

On Future Wars and the Marine Corps: Asking the Right Questions

War on the Rocks – A professional discourse on innovation, warfighting, and roles and missions is warranted to ensure the Marine Corps remains “ready to fight.” To wait until consensus or clarity, though, is to impose paralysis on innovation and adaptation. Iterating on ideas while simultaneously taking near-term action is the right approach. Given the national defense strategy, Berger is headed in the right direction, but there are important questions, as identified here, still needing answers.

The Marine Corps and the Naval Campaign: The Necessary Context of Debate

War on the Rocks – For the Marine Corps to fulfill its core purpose, it needs to anticipate and respond to the future battlefield’s challenges and ensure that it can be a critical and decisive component of a modern naval campaign. It may be true that the Marine Corps is still here precisely because of its ability to radically reshape itself to meet the emerging demands of warfare. Change, however, is never an easy process, and criticisms surrounding the Marine Corps’ current initiatives are not a radical departure from historical resistance to change within the service.