Armed Forces News

Landing Craft, Utility 1655 enters the well deck of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5), in the Arabian Gulf, April 10, 2020. Bataan is the flagship for the Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and, with embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU), is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations in support of naval operations to ensure maritime stability and security in the Central Region, connecting the Mediterranean and the Pacific through the western Indian Ocean and three strategic choke points. (Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Angus Beckles)

A year and a half into an ambitious 20-year plan to reshape itself, the Marine Corps plans to continue shutting down legacy units while working toward fielding a leaner force designed to continue outpacing evolving threats.

“We will continue to optimize our Marine Corps to be the stand-in force that can provide conventional deterrence against a pacing threat,” wrote Gen. David H. Berger, the commandant, in the annual update of the service’s force-redesign initiative.

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Numerous elements have been shelved during the past year, to include active and reserve aviation, artillery and armored units to name a few.

Berger called for “a robust inventory of traditional amphibious ships, new light ships, alternate platforms, and littoral connectors” that would “create a true naval stand-in force and force-in-readiness.”

The near-term risk of eliminating traditional missions would ultimately enable the Marine Corps to reshape itself into the force it needs to be by 2030, when the 10-year plan culminates.

The plan calls for close examination of numerous factors, to include:

* Forward positioning of forces.
* Command and control arrangements.
* Logistics capabilities.
* Sensor networks.
* Air and missile defense capabilities.
* Sustainment.
* The reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance mission.
* Resiliency under demanding conditions.
* Training to operate in multiple theaters.
* Naval capabilities that enable rapid deployment.
* Balancing the need to build a strong force with environmental concerns and historic compliance.

Numerous changes are afoot for the coming year, Berger wrote. The Marine Corps wants to generate a new personnel model, continue wargaming and logistical support experiments, and work with the Navy to examine the idea of establishing “littoral maneuver groups” to operate with the light amphibious warship, among other ideas.

“Ultimately, it will be the ingenuity of individual Marines that ensures we outpace our adversary,” Berger wrote, “as well as our ability to garner the resources required to keep pace during this period of transformative innovation.”

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