USMC: Under-utilized Superfluous Military Capability

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Marine photo / Cpl. Jennifer Pirante

Marines practice an amphibious assault aboard an LCAC in California in September.

Marine Commandant James Amos’ recent remarks on the future of the corps can be summed up as: nothing new.

In shorthand, “Rah, rah, the Marine Corps is awesome, and all we have to do is make sure they have the equipment & training & facilities they need so they can always be awesome Marines, rah, rah!”

Wrong.

The Marines as currently organized and equipped are about as relevant as the Army’s horse cavalry in the 1930s and the Marines are not alone. They have company in the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps.

But, first, let’s examine the Marines.

In truth, the Marines have a low-end warfare niche, but a very small one for extremely limited and unusual types of operations.

The only amphibious craft they really need are the next-gen LCACs and LCUs. The only wet-well ships they need are LSD 41s — and those need to be kept in production to gradually replace older LSDs and the troublesome LPDs.

No one will set out to establish a defended beachhead because U.S. aircraft from the Air Force and the Navy will easily target and destroy the defenses.

Today, enemy forces will mine approaches from the sea, and rely on stand-off attack to drive surface fleets away from coastlines. They’ll employ their ground forces, particularly mobile armored forces, inland, away from the coast. These mobile reserves will attack within the range of the defending forces’ own artillery and airpower to destroy elements that attempt to come ashore whether over the beach or through ports.

Most of today’s Marine force consists of airmobile light infantry. This Marine force is designed for use in the developing world against incapable opponents from Haiti to Fiji, but not much else.

The use of Marines to assault Iraq’s southern coast during Desert Storm was dismissed out of hand as too dangerous, particularly when Navy surface combatants struck sea mines in the Persian Gulf. Subsequently, in 1991 Marines were used ashore to augment the Army where Marines followed an Army armor brigade from Fort Hood, Texas, all the way to Kuwait City.

The point is simple.

The capability to come ashore where the enemy is not present, then, move quickly with sustainable combat power great distances over land to operational objectives in the interior, is essential. The Marines cannot do it in any strategic setting where the opponent is capable (neither can the XVIII Airborne Corps!).

The Marines cannot confront or defeat armored forces or heavy weapons in the hands of capable opponents. Nor can the Marines hold any contested battle space for more than a very short amount of time, after which the Marine raid or short stay ashore is completed.

Adding vertical-and/or-short-takeoff-landing (V/STOL)  aircraft like the F-35B, to compensate for the lack of staying power and mobility on the ground is not an answer, particularly given the severe limitations of VSTOL aircraft, and the proliferation of tactical and operational air defense technology in places that count.

The real question is how much Marine Corps do Americans need? The answer is not the 200,000 Marines we have today.

Many of the same observations apply to the Army’s vaunted XVIII Airborne Corps. The Army’s airmobile infantry in the 101st have been used sparingly for similar reasons. Airmobile forces were used in 1991, but most of its value resided in its attack-helicopter force, not in its air-mobile infantry.

Proposals to use Army airborne forces to seize Tallil air field in An Nassiryah during Desert Storm were dismissed out of hand given the threat of Iraqi air defenses. A similar assault planned for Haiti was cancelled in 1994, and the large-scale use of airborne forces in Iraq and Afghanistan was also ruled out in 2001 and, again, in 2003.

There are several reasons for this:

– First, like the Marines ashore, Army airmobile and airborne forces are “soft targets,” extremely vulnerable to long-range air and missile attack, as well as heavy weapons in the form of self-propelled artillery, mortars and auto-cannon.

– Second, the Army’s airmobile division, the 101st, is extremely slow to deploy. Moving it requires as much cubic space as an entire armored/mechanized division. Its performance in Iraq in March-April 2003 was poor. Its alleged combat potential was never put to the test for the reasons already cited.

– Third, the rotary-wing aircraft in the Army are very maintenance-intensive with often-poor readiness rates. The airmobile force in the 101st is also a major consumer of fuel and requires enormous support, as well as expensive contractor help. Their rotary-wing aircraft are also susceptible to detection and vulnerable to widely-dispersed small arms and MANPADS, potentially resulting in substantial casualties and equipment losses even before the airmobile force is ready to engage the enemy on the ground.

None of these attributes make the force attractive for employment against any enemy with a modicum of capability in its armed forces.

In sum, we need airmobile forces from the sea for limited operations, but we can do this job with far fewer Marines than we have now, or even the 182,000 slated to be on active duty on 2017. We also need far fewer airborne/air assault infantry than the 80,000 in the Army’s XVIII Airborne Corps for equally-limited and unusual operations.

Clinging to the misguided, wasteful and self-defeating policies of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan as justification for no change in the Army and Marine forces is not an argument. The policies, strategy and tactics were flawed, if not disastrous. Reenacting these operations is about as stupid as reenacting Tarawa, Market Garden or the airborne assault on Crete.

In 110 days of fighting the German army in France during 1918, the U.S. Army Expeditionary Force sustained 318,000 casualties, including 110,000 killed in action. That’s the kind of lethality waiting for U.S. forces in a future war with real armies, air forces, air defenses and naval power.

Ignoring this reality is the road to future defeats and American decline. It’s time to look beyond the stirring images of infantrymen storming machine-gun nests created by Hollywood and to see war for what it is and will be in the future: the ruthless extermination of the enemy with accurate, devastating firepower from the sea, from the air, from space and from mobile, armored firepower on land.

141 comments
Mr.Jim
Mr.Jim

Mr. Mcgregor should check his history a little closer.  Naval gunfire and Air forces bombed, strafed, and re-bombed Normandy, and every beach the Marines landed on in the Pacific into submission, only to have the Marines AND Army discover this not to be quite so true. 27000 casualties on Iwo Jima alone, after what was considered one of the heaviest bombardments of the war.  Last I checked, Germany did not surrender after the initial bombardment OR the subsequent landing and victory at Normandy.  I suggest Mr. Mcgregor try a fly along in a modern jet bomber, and try to see the targets they must hit, without the "unnecessary" ground forces, at speed.  (without collateral damage!) 

   The elimination of Army airborne units might be justifiable, however, there can be equal justification for better tailored, smaller, airborne units.  Incidentally, every European country that has cut it's defense budget to the core, has started with air power, not Marines, or airborne units.  The UK did not have enough air power in the Falklands, but plenty of Marines.  That worked out pretty well.  Mr. Mcgregror might look for the after action review of the Navy Seals in Iraq to find their evaluation of Marine units in action.  He also might look to the current crop of armoured equipment he so highly touts.  Most of our current (and several future ideas/pet projects ie-Crusader.) are to large to cross 90% of European bridges, not to mention Asia and Africa.  Oh, and by the way, there is an international protocol against weaponising space, and I believe we are a signatory to it. 

    An opinion is great Mr. Mcgregor, however I prefer opinion backed up with a little more knowledge, fact, and research.

KennethMcGriff
KennethMcGriff

honestly i hope the Marines commenting here are Pvts.  i really hope they are not Officers

KennethMcGriff
KennethMcGriff

MacGreggor knows his stuff but this article intently or unintentionally antagonizes Marines.  Never a good idea.



RichardRuss
RichardRuss

With all due respect to Col. MacGregor, he needs to stick to Army pertinent ideas. He apparently has no clue as to what it is that Marines do. America NEEDS the Marine Corps. The Army is not trained nor is capable of performing the missions the Marine Corps performs. When I was in the Marine Corps, the Corps size was 174,000. From what I understand, after last years force reductions, the Marine Corps now sits at around 182,000 personnel.

ArchieHaase
ArchieHaase

As for a war with China we would have to borrow money from them to fight them. If people read history and history always repeats itself. The US Army will never be  prepared to fight a war on a large scale. The US has a distorted view of war. Many called Reagan a warrior president because he invaded the tiny island of Grenada, and daddy Bush because he invaded Panama to shut up Manual Noriega. I am surprised someone did not get a Medal of Honor in these wars to inflate the military's ego. Too many Generals too many civilians from Ivy league schools with no understanding putting their stupid non qualified understanding of the military.  The last two wars civilian and the hundreds of Generals's stupidity created thousands of claims for PTSD after returning veteran from war against a tiny nations, and very angry population in Iraq and Afghanistan which will never be our friend.   Of course paying compensation will never take away from their arms purchase because it is not in DOD's budget to pay for PTSD. It is in the Department of Veterans Affairs which is stuck with the US Army's absolute stupidity, and who is actually suffering from PTSD and who is trying to scam the tax payer. Yes we need the US Marines not only for their combat prowess, but for the integrity they install in US Marines which carry's over into civilian life.

MezzoForte
MezzoForte

Macgregor, your article is purest fantasy. The notion that a war can be successfully prosecuted purely through bombs, shells, and rockets delivered from high-flying, heavily armored or remote platforms is patently stupid. You've been reading too much science fiction.


CSMOccupiedNorthernVA
CSMOccupiedNorthernVA

Wow!  A tour-de-force in Army parochialism and a rah-rah session for the late arriving, overly heavy, conventional Army force structure. Ninety Percent of what the US military does falls into the range of military operations short of war, yet the retired Army journalist argues for more preparation for major combat operations and a reduction in forces configured for a tailored response to regional instability.

Horrible advise and myopic at best.Foolish and constituting unilateral disarmament in a world of diminishing US overseas influence and an excess of leading (poorly) from behind.

ChrisRossini
ChrisRossini

I wonder how many girlfriends he had to lose to Marines before he became this transparently jealous and vindictive?

darragh_scully
darragh_scully

Really! If we get in a fight with China which could be on the cards given the meetings that are about to take place this week eventually we will have to storm vast arrays of bunkers held by the Chinese. People die in Wars. What your probably right about is that for the first time in History since world war 2 the enemy is going to be well equipped and well supplied. You still think 200000 Marines is enough? So many people in China dreaming of liberation.  

James_R
James_R

Perhaps all the people who are ranting about how the author should "serve first" before writing this article should have "googled first" before commenting... Here's you author http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Douglas_Macgregor ... Remind me, what were you all saying about ignorance again?

vanwahlgren
vanwahlgren

But what about the V22 osprey?    We in the marines  have spent about $160 million per copy   Won't that make a difference?

JeffersonCooper
JeffersonCooper

This is the poorest article I have ever seen under the "TIME" banner.  The author appears devoid of even basic military history.  The Marine Corps' strength for 237 years has been versatility.  Marines have served in a vast number of different capacities because they are able to "improvise, adapt, and overcome".  The Corps is strong because it is flexible.  I was trained as an anti-tank missileman but wound up behind a .50 cal machinegun in Somalia.  The argument that future wars will be "he ruthless extermination of the enemy with accurate, devastating firepower from the sea, from the air, from space and from mobile, armored firepower on land." has been made at least since the invention of the atomic bomb and has consistently been wrong.  The fact is, we have no idea what future wars will require, but "boots on the ground" will definitely be necessary.  So will warriors who can engage in low-intensity and non-traditional conflict.  The USMC and Army Airborne will be needed for the foreseeable future.

Read more: http://nation.time.com/2012/12/03/usmc-under-utilized-superfluous-military-capability/#ixzz2Gf7VhP6j

TravisProefrock
TravisProefrock

This person did no research, I was one of the paratroopers in flight for Haiti WE WERE IN FLIGHT! The reason we were turned around was because Carter and Colon P showed the haiti leader a VHS of the 82nd boarding planes WE WERE ABOUT ONE HOUR TO GREEN LIGHT you idiot. Do your research before you start pissing of the Bad Asses that walk this planet Paratroopers, Marines, Airassult! When they send us in CHECKMATE GAME OVER!

notsofast
notsofast

Interesting conversation - but I prefer a serious discussion on the topic of nuclear disarmament.  

As a .50 cal gunner who protected the (Marine Corps) Combat Engineers who poked holes through the minefields in 1991 I can tell you we were the first through the breech.  In fact we were ordered to stop our progress only after taking thousands of POWs.  We were eager to retake the embassy however that honor was given to another unit (Good for you my green Army brothers).


DaveCrozier
DaveCrozier


While I agree with the broad argument that we need fewer Marines and fewer
Airborne/Air Assault forces, the author is quite misinformed as to the reasons
and much of his argument is false and based on ignorance. The Marines were
never designed or intended to be competition with the army for Light Infantry
roles, but post WWII that is what they have become. Even during WWII there were
only 7 Marine Divisions at peak strength, the army alone had 37 just in the
Pacific alone. Scale back the USMC back to their historical roles. The Army
needs fewer Airborne/Air Assault forces just because we don't need that many in
our current force structure (Btw, the XVIII Airborne Corps is composed of units
other than just the 101st.)

When he talks about Tarawa, Market Garden and Crete, he obviously is way
over his head. Five minutes on google would have tripled his military
knowledge, which appears to be just about zero. Crete was probably the prime
example of an Airborne success, but he is too ignorant to know that.
Interesting he seems to have forgotten the invasion of Panama where airborne
forces seizes A LOT of real estate in the opening moves, as well as the 2nd Gulf
War where units from Italy seized an airfield in Northern Iraq.

I don't know who the author is, but he is a complete idiot when it comes to
military issues. Besides a complete hack job for an article, I doubt he even
knows the battles or the equipment he mentioned.

brilor459
brilor459

To quote the author, "In sum", you are an idiot! You have either never served your country as a Marine, or you didn't learn anything during your service. The Marine Corps always have and always will be the force our country turns to in any situation where territory needs to be taken and held. Remember, the Marine Corps was establishd in 1775, a year older than our country, and  is just as necessary today as they were then. I would agree that the Marine Corps doesn't always have the latest gear, but we have what we need which is heart & training. No offense to any other braanch, but one Marine and his/her rifle is worth 2 soldiers anytime, anywhere, any situation, anyday. Why not save time, money, and a life? Send in the Marines! Ooh-rah! Semper-Fi!

boyd.greg
boyd.greg

Somewhere in his career the author appears to have missed the transition of DoD from single-Service oriented operations to Joint operations.  We all have our role, or we would not need the Services in their current configurations.  The Marine Corps is by far the most flexible between-wars force, while maintaining the capability to ramp-up to full spectrum operations as the situation dictates.  I believe there are thousands of Iraqis who would attest to the Marines' ability to fight and defeat armored forces.  There are Afghanis who will attest to the Corps' ability to fight in the mountains, Panamanians who can speak to the Marines' jungle-fighting prowess, and Lebanese who will have a lot to say about the urban fighting skills of the USMC.  The list goes on.  Bottom Line - we all have our part to play.  Live with it.

Tangent
Tangent

The author appears to be misguided in thinking that from here on out, only large and highly capable armies will fill all battle spaces.  We only need to go back to the Pacific island campaign of WW2 to prove the Corps worth in this respect: Did the Marines directly invade Japan?  Were they a central force in the invasion of Europe?  Did they assault Africa?  No.  Their mission and purpose was through the numerous series of small battles which opened strategic and vital positions and which ultimately made Japan vulnerable.  

If we pretend a large-scale war is eminent, does the author truly think that even China's half-Billion man army could supply ALL fronts with masses of capable armies?  Will every  beach, island, cove, peninsula, and (now, with the Corps ability to fly over and insert beyond these fronts) open field and mountain range will contain full opposition?  Doubtful.  The Marine Corps is uniquely qualified to move swiftly and decisively onto a small front or opening.  They pick the locks, kick down the gates, then move aside for the main force to occupy.  And they come turn-key capable to complete this task.  

If not the Marine Corps, then who should take on this responsibility?  It is not an insult to say the Army or other forces cannot do this any more than it is an insult to say Marines cannot fight a naval or occupation campaign, because it its not their mission.  It is beyond their scope.

Wars are dynamic.  The wisdom to concoct a plan now, which eliminates strategies and capabilities for the future battles are best left to the French and the Maginot line.

BrendanGabriel
BrendanGabriel

Other thing this Author did not get, is the commandant didn't say a damned thing in terms of what he said.  Not even close. 

Next, the Marine Corps in many ways is much better equipped with better vehicles then the Army and with newer weapon's, newer gear, etc. but thats because we're a smaller force so we get equipped a lot better. So the Author, please.... get your facts right or how about this, serve first

MajorF
MajorF

   Having served in both the Army and then the Marines (still serving), I can say that the author of the article does have some valid points.  However, he didn't really complete the article with solid answers to the problem that he posed.  It's almost like the article is half written.  Perhaps if he had done that he would not have attracted so much vitriol in the peanut gallery down below.  I do have to say that the article came off quite insulting to Marines.  Not a good practice.  These guys are warriors and will defend their beloved Corps.  Some of them eloquently and some not so eloquently as you can see.    

    I do agree that the United States is going to have a rough go of it if we ever have to enter a conflict with an organized force that has love of country like we do (such as China or Russia etc) outside of the middle east.  We have become spoiled with our foe figuratively and literally throwing down his weapons at first sight of American Soldiers or Marines.  

    If you dig down there is a tremendous difference between the Army and the Marines.  Much of it is attitude (god love the Marines!) but much of it is also mission and structure.  Generally a point that is overlooked is logistics.  Marine units tend to be more self sufficient logistically speaking whereas Army units tend to need more infrastructure and have a much bigger footprint.   It's almost as if the Army has become administratively crippled.  

    While I was in the 82nd Airborne and we were the Division Ready Force we were told we could be anywhere in the world in 24 hours.  As I rose up the ranks, I found it to be untrue.  When I got into the Marines, we were told the same.  However, it was more true as the Marines have the Marine Air Ground Task Force.  A MAGTF is easily googled, but in short it is a ready force that is constantly patrolling the world ready for any type of orders to deploy at a moments notice.  A MEF, MEB or MEU can deploy quite rapidly depending on the type of mission, and much more rapidly than an Army brigade in my opinion.   The Marines have their own taxi service (the beloved Navy takes us everywhere) and we have our own aircraft.  We do use USAF assets but our MAGTF's have their own mission ready assets.  

    There are many more differences that are tangible and intangible related to this conversation but I'm just a dumb grunt so I won't comment any further.  The bottom line is that every so often our commandant has to go before congress and justify the Marines and our structure.  Every time congress has seen the light, and has followed the recommendations of the Commandant.  While a restructure of our beloved Corps may be in order, you'll never get rid of the Marines.  Never.  

A Navy ship without Marines is like a coat without buttons.  

richardnsteiner
richardnsteiner

The writer should be made to go out with an Army Ranger unit for an op and then go out with a Marine unit for an op.  I think he would understand then.

JerrodGarrett
JerrodGarrett

Its not that were incapable of doing any of the above attacks. Its that the american people today are to soft to take the losses. Im in the marines corps and i know every one of my brothers are willing to lamd/fly/attack anything anywhere. We're being held on a leash becasue mothers of america care more about their selves than our country.

USAluvr
USAluvr

I would love for you to repeat this verbally to any Marine. I will, in fact, pay to watch the outcome of this author blasting off his uneducated, over-opinionated, self-righteous suck to one of those seemingly 'unnecessary' Marines. You, freakin P.O.G., are a waste of American air. You can take your demented, wana-be journalistic ass to Iraq and STAY there. As for me, I'll keep my Honor, my Courage, my Commitment, and most of all-my Beloved Corps.

Embarkgod
Embarkgod

This article is so full of half-truths and (bad) opinions, I really don't know where to begin!  Let me just share a few quotes...  

In regards to Desert Shield/Storm:

"I can't say enough about the two Marine divisions. If I use words like 'brilliant,' it would really be an under description of the absolutely superb job that they did in breaching the so-called 'impenetrable barrier.' It was a classic- absolutely classic- military breaching of a very very tough minefield, barbed wire, fire trenches-type barrier."Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf, U. S. ArmyCommander, Operation Desert Storm, February 1991

and

"Lying offshore, ready to act, the presence of ships and Marines sometimes means much more than just having air power or ship's fire, when it comes to deterring a crisis. And the ships and Marines may not have to do anything but lie offshore. It is hard to lie offshore with a C-141 or C-130 full of airborne troops."Gen. Colin Powell, U. S. ArmyChairman Joint Chiefs of StaffDuring Operation Desert Storm

and a few others:

"The deadliest weapon in the world is a Marine and his rifle."Gen. John "Black Jack" Pershing, U.S. ArmyCommander of American Forces in World War I

and

"The safest place in Korea was right behind a platoon of Marines. Lord, how they could fight!"

MGen. Frank E. Lowe, USA; Korea, 26 January 1952

and

"Some people spend an entire lifetime wondering if they made a difference in the world. But, the Marines don't have that problem."Ronald Reagan, President of the United States; 1985

I believe this author should recall something stated by one of his company's former reporters:

The Marine Corps has just been called by the New York Times, 'The elite of this country.' I think it is the elite of the world.Admiral William Halsey, U.S. Navy

and lastly, 

There are only two kinds of people that understand Marines: Marines and the enemy. Everyone else has a second-hand opinion.Gen. William Thornson, U.S. Army

Obviously, the author of this is not a Marine...

  I won't waste anymore of my time with replies to anything Douglas A. Macgregor writes!  He obviously only knows enough about the military that was provided to him by skimming though a history book and playing a few XBOX games.  He should completely read a few history books before running off at the mouth about what the Marine Corps should be doing or what size we should become.  Please realize that I am not speaking on behalf of the Marine Corps...I'm just a Marine that has spent over 25 years in the Corps (and am still in) and could not read this trash without sending some sort of comment.  I am going to go work out now so that I am ready for whatever else our country has for me to do!  I hope Mr. Mcgregor continues to enjoy his freedom; and someday realizes how he obtained it!

Semper Fi, Devildogs!

RonaldLFleming
RonaldLFleming

LAST THING, the most important.. All the Coverage you see is the USA going against pretty much 3rd world fighters... Brother,, you Definetly do not understand.. If this was a Free-FOR-ALL FIGHT...   That my friend would be ALOT, and i do mean ALOT!!!! More DEVESTATION,  unheard of.. You do Recall Desert storm, at that time, the 3rd Largest Military at that time.. IRAQ.. Who just completed a 10yr war with Iran.. Do you not recall how DEVESTATING that was. AND that was 20 years, ago.. 20yrs ago gear..Last 10 years of IRAQ and Aphganistan,  the USA didnt UTILZE ALL THE MIGHT that comes with the US Marines.. Or Army..  Not 1-2 Apache Gunships, but 20-30 at a time..   Not 2-3 Howitzers but 8-16 GUNS, EACH with Max Range of 80 MILES.. With Capabilities to have 48 Shells ALL LAND AT SAME TIME.. Let Alone, the MLRS, IE the GRID Square Destroyers..  1000m by 1000m, with Munitions covering that Entire Area, AND THAT IS ONLY 2 MLRS's.. LET Alone if a Full BN of them, 24 Of them FIRING 6 Missiles, EA    

LEST WE FORGET.. a 1000+ Army HELO Fleet.. + LOTS AND LOTS of C5's I cant imagine 10,000 Airborne Troops landing at 1 site, let-alone, 3-4..  Get your facts straight.. For every 1 Marine Infantry Marine deployed over-seas.. there are 5-6 Marines, state side.. TRAINING, PREPPING, and this wonderful thing called, DOWNTIME.. 

RonaldLFleming
RonaldLFleming

The Irony.. ..  Yes, The United States hasnt fought a serious enemyin Decades. BUT. Even the 40+ Year old Tactics, can and will provedevestating against Say, CHINA..  Landing on a beach, May sound Borring,etc.. BUT, Here is the key.. IF ANY Country say for instance CHINA,Decided to Invade the USA, IT will have all the Fancy Jets, Subs,Carriers, etc.. BUT to actually get on shore, they HAVE to do a BeachAssault.. THERE is no way possible to defend 100 Miles of Coastal land,completely.. LET Alone 1000 Miles.  Old days = Direct assault on a beachhead.. TODAY, We as MARINES, can and will land, 30-40 Miles in EITHERDIRECTION..  Naval Gunfire + Airsupport + 2500 Marines landing within 1day.. 500 Within the FIRST WAVE!!!.. 30-40 EVEN 100 Miles AWAY. IT DOEStake an ARMY over 16 HRS to Reconfigure, 1 Batallion 100 Miles away.TheBeach = LANDING Point for a Batallion OR Regiment level strength.Getting hit from 3 Sides by Marines..   1= LCAC Which brings in ARMOR +LAV's + ALL THE SUPPORT Gear.   2= HELO Assault, with 20+ CH 53's andOspreys Bringing Marines in 150-200 MILES Deep..  3.. Zodiac's.. IE aCompany - Batallion level Assault, 20+- Miles in any direction..   Thekey points are, that during Desert STORM, an Entire MEF, 50,000+ Marinessat off the Coast, Which Forced IRAQ, TO Devide up its forces. TheOther MAIN THING THIS Youngling failed to Mention.. IT's CHESS notCHECKERS.... Its not they more then we do.. IT is an ENTIRE Operation..AND THIS IS JUST MARINES..   The Army, is devestating as well..   CANThrow 2500 + Airbourne soldiers 200-500 MILES Inland, and takeAirstrips, IN WHICH The REAL HEAVY GEAR gets Airlifted..  180,000Marines With 100,000 Being Infantry.. LOTS OF SUPPORT.. Airwings......Combat cannot be preformed for 12+ Months straight.. We have this thingcalled ROTATION..  Please stop doing Wiki Examinations, onsomething you really do not understand..  Even with latest greatesthardware, Its not like we wont have it..  Its like saying torture isineffective, yet has been done Since DAY 1.. of EARTH..   Its likesaying an arm-chair desktop commando, with all the informatin at hisfinger tips can actually explain something, in which he clearly has notEVER Scene in action.. That IN any type of warfare, the NAVAL SHIPYARDS, are indeed the NUMBER 1 TARGET. PERIOD.. IE, how does a countryget its fuel.. BY SEA.. ITS GOODS, BY SEA.. ETC..  That the USA has 20+NUCLEAR ARMED SUBS ALONE.. Let alone the Attack subs.. the Ships thathave things called JETS, that land on.. That we have Capabilities, inwhich the ENTIRE EARTH, 90% + Of the population lives within 100 Milesof the SEA.. DUDE, research first.. GIVE COMPELLING Reasons.. But sayingstuff because you googled it, just is not going to cut it.

DanielTurczan
DanielTurczan

The author of this article, Douglas Macgregor's recent remarks on the future of the corps can be summed up as: nothing new.In shorthand, “I know next to nothing about the capabilities and "staying power" of the United States Marine Corp, but will pepper my article with some military designations to appear to be an expert." 

Wrong.Here's a clue. There is an entire infantry specialty whose purpose is to defeat enemy armor. They are the 0351 - Assaultmen. Armed with a shoulder fired assault weapon, they are devastatingly effective against most armored threats. Then there are the 0352 - tow gunners. Not to mention infantry with radios who can call in mortars, artillery and air support. Please let me know how ineffective a Cobra gunship is against just about any tank in existence. 

ZachBrady
ZachBrady

If this article were to influence the govt and they cut our devils and hooahs numbers to minuscule amounts, id love to see the look on his face when the airforce and navy are not able to fend off a foreign invasion, because we didn't have any "troops that cant hold any area for a short amount of time "

JimmyBunn
JimmyBunn

Ask our enemies how effective the Marine Corps is.  

TrentonHarris
TrentonHarris

WTF is this BS.... The US Marine Corps is the most dominating force the world has ever seen...

KenSmith
KenSmith

Tanks don't last very long without ground troops!  idiot!!!

0311Grunt
0311Grunt

@MezzoForte  He is clearly a policy wonk, and Academy graduate-an academician with a severe Army bias. Not only is he wrong about the need for the Corps but  he is clearly out of touch with the likely scenarios for military action shy of a full blown theater conflict. Most conflicts will occur in places that are easily reached by Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) such as the Mediterranean. Doubt that? Look at the places that have had conflicts in the past decade: Egypt, Libya, the war Obama almost caused with Syria. Iran, etc, etc. Marines are Naval Infantry, not competing with the Army but performing their own mission. What does the Navy do in this modern era? Naval battles? Hardly-the General would have you believe otherwise. The Navy is power projection. When Obama rattled the saber at Assad, if he had proceeded the Naval group offshore would have launched aircraft and the Marines would have launched off Amphibious craft. Would the Army have been involved? Hardly. We are at the President's beck and call. We can be mobilized within a very short amount of time and packed up and deploy very rapidly-Thus the flexibility of the MEU or Marine Expeditionary Unit. The Army takes weeks to deploy and the closest the Army has to that sort of rapid deployment is the Rangers. I am a mere former enlisted grunt with an education in Political Science and I can pick through his theory. Maybe it's time to check your work General.


RonAndrews
RonAndrews

@darragh_scully u think we can win a ground war against the Chinese? lol We couldnt even beat the Vietnamese.

CSMOccupiedNorthernVA
CSMOccupiedNorthernVA

Having served does not give the good PHD a get-out-of-jail card for service based parochialism and an excess of hubris.

cunninghammathew
cunninghammathew

@notsofast I was there too brother, we led the way, there were no Army units in front of Task Force Ripper! Semper Fi!

MajorF
MajorF

P.s.  You have about 18 incorrect statements.  I don't have time to elaborate on each, but when you say that the Marines cannot "confront or defeat enemy armor," clearly you do not have access to Youtube where I have found no less than 9 video's showing marines taking out enemy armor.  Secondly, you say the Marines cannot "confront"....WOW!....saying we cannot confront is a very immature statement.  We can confront and we DO confront them.  Have you ever heard of a SMAW or an AT4 or the Javelin or FGM-172 SRAW?  

The author's editor should be having a serious talk with this writer due to all of the factual inaccuracies.  It would take me another hour to list and retort to the rest of the factual errors and immature statements.

Sad.  Quite Sad.

brilor459
brilor459

I understand your feelings. I was a Marine. I served from 1990-1998. I served in Somolia, as well as many other over seas and state-side bases. I am now a mother of a Marine. I am lucky enough to undestand both sides of your aguement. It is not that we care more about ourselves or how America is perceived, but it is that we want America to weigh the "cost" (of life that is) against what and why we are fighting. It saddens me that you think mothers care more about ourselves than our Marines. Be proud, Marine! We ARE proud of you!

MajorF
MajorF

@USAluvr We don't usually win arguments by lowering ourself with such vile words.  Your spirit is admirable, your love of Corps respectable, but try to word your argument a bit more intelligently and you'll come out the victor without mud on your face.  

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

@USAluvr Funny thing about some one making that comment to a Marine. See the thing is smart marines at the command (or one day wanting to be command) level are already asking themselves and their fellow marines similar Qs

Why do we need landing craft when we haven't made a combat landing since the 50's?

Why do we need hover craft when its an open secret that they are flying coffins 

Why do we need 200,000 men when we have no mission that dictate those number and don't have the combat support to back up multi theater ops?

The marines don't have a mandate from God to be the worlds premier ass kickers and if you rest on your laurels you tend to get your butt handed to you.  In short you and quite a few of the posters here sound much like the Armies mounted Calvary in the 19 teens, They could not accept that 1st the machine gun then the car and finally the tank made them obsolete  The dumb ones died in horse charges, the smart one embraced change and ran with it (ref Gen Patton and F Connor)

MajorF
MajorF

@RonaldLFleming.  I started to read your post but your use of CAPS and lack of spacing made it too annoying and I'm quite sure I'm not alone.  Use caps less often.  

SwiftrightRight
SwiftrightRight

@ZachBrady If that ever happened we would all be dead from the thousands of atomic weapons we have sitting around long before the Marines could engage and destroy them in a decisive battle

darragh_scully
darragh_scully

@RonAndrews @darragh_scully 

Can I suggest you view Vietnam in HD the six part series on the War in Vietnam. Fog of War is another good one. Then look at the Body Count. You of little education. The war itself was very unpopular this was the main problem even though at the start of the War it was very popular. Fighting China is a very serious reality. Its something that's being discussed much. Nuclear powered and industrialized China is capable of defending itself well. China also has a very skewed Male Population, young to because the one child policy was only recent in History. Since the inception of the One Child policy the ratio has been said to be 10 to 1 in favor of the birth of boys. I am sure you can not compare the war that was Vietnam, which we won but did not fight for territory, with the kind of war that would be The War with China. However the concepts of The Air Sea Battle and Offshore control, two strategies, one heavily developed and one ripped out of the annals of World War 2 are two such strategies that might be used to Ice China into submission with out going over the nuclear threshold. This would involve sinking as many of Chinas sea assets, containing its Airforce, absorbing and defeating its ballistic missile threats, and blocking its ports from commerce. Since world war 2 not much has changed as far as control over the pacific with the exception of access to bases. Though there are still bases in Korea, Guam, Saipan and so on that are available and the aggrement with Darwin, and the re-return to the Philippines through Clarke Airbase and Subic Bay allow this strategy to evolve. Vietnam is now kind of buds with India whom have vowed to defend their assets in the South china Sea of Vietnam  that China tried to claim and Given the loss of face after the Vietnam war when China invaded and captured North Vietnam their maybe some lee way with the Vietnamese themselves. Remembering now that China is picking on everyone around them with the exception of Russia. 

Part of the OC plan is to force China into Submission. It would be costly on all sides. For us winning a war with China would be just that. Making them abide by International Law of the Sea for example would be one of the conditions of allowing trade to re commence. Maybe you could read more about the OC in the Proceedings Magazine, its free on the Naval Institute Website. I think the high cost of equipment at first would soon disappear mainly because the losses take so long to recover from given the length of time it takes for modern military equipment to be rebuilt. At present China would have difficulty fighting outside of the Second Island Chain on the ground. Thats if the made it across to the first Island Chain. For example they have many Helicopters though in the US arsenal there are over 10000 MANPADS in stock before war time production was commenced in said war. China has all of 100 or so helicopters. If you factor in a few SA's for training for the Philippians and give them 200 or so more then you have a good chance of eliminating the entire helicopter threat. Meanwhile Clark Airbase is now rotating B2 Spirits, B1's and F22s around the pacific bases from Hawaii, Japan, South Korea, and Clarke Airbase. There are already many assets in place to help deal with the Airbase before this new policy emerged. You can read more about that over at Wired Magazines site in the Danger Room section, just so you know, its a reality. 

As for Marines you might want to ask the 31st marine squadron what they think about only having 200000 Marines to fight a ground war in China should incursions into Chinese Territory ever become necessary. I for one can only see it becoming a reality after China triggers off said Air Sea War by attacking one of its neighbors. 600 
8X8 Terrex Irish Designed and Made armoured personnel carriers may come in handy in that scenario though I think that sort of detachment would also need a very heavy Army Support Crew and Heavy and Light Cavalry and so on. Said situation would probably usher in War time Production mechanisms for new technology such as the German Made Automated Howitzers and a whole array of other weapons you can learn about on the Future Weapons site. This is where it starts to get murky. While it might take a few years longer to reduce China down and disrupt its industrial power it would then get dirty. When you have a population of 1.3 Billion people whom are angry and upset your going to see many consequences including China breaking up. Your also going to see die hard gorilla warfare. God knows what the Global economy would be like at that stage. Its Ironic though all through world war 2 large corporations were trading like the war meant nothing. For example coca cola invented Fanta just so it could continue to make money in Germany given that there were laws against trading with the enemy, much the same way that some people try to trade with Iran now or when some people trade our Secrets to China now. 
Yeah I admit, fighting China would be hard word. Harder than Afghanistan however its not something were about to shy away from if were pushed to far and anything could happen. We might loose if we think like you but dont worry, once it started you would start to think more like people were thinking after 911 or maybe your going to settle and become a communist. No you don't have to worry about that. Its very unlikely china is going to get past the first Island Chain never mind past the second across the pond all the way to California, god help them if they ever go that far.  

You know the funny thing is that just before the latest Taliban leader drone attack he was going on about how we lost the Vietnam war...lol. 

 


 



James_R
James_R

@CSMOccupiedNorthernVA and having a thesaurus doesn't mean you should go around misusing words that you think make you sounds smart. Your comment has nothing to do with my comment. The author is more than qualified to have the OPINION that he presents, even if it offends your delicate sensibilities.

MajorF
MajorF

P.s.s.  The author of this article is a retired Army Colonel.  He has written some other very good articles.  However, for some reason this one was way off mark.  If you click on his name above the title of the article, you can see his other work.  

DanielTurczan
DanielTurczan

@SwiftrightRight @USAluvr Excellent point, SwiftrightRight, the US Marine Corp should always assess its combat readiness. But you are wrong about one thing. We do have a mandate from God to be the world's premier asskickers. The proof is in the laurels. For the last 50 years Marines were accomplishing missions that the US Army deemed impossible. Often if not always with less men and material available to the Army. For whatever reason, espirit d' corp, better tactics, different attitude, the US Marines simply represent the best infantry the United States has outside of special forces. And infantry will never be obsolete as long as people engage in war.

KennethMcGriff
KennethMcGriff

@cunninghammathew @James_R@CSMOccupiedNorthernVAi should think he is, the man is a retired Col. he was operations officer for 2nd ACR during the battle of 73 easting in the Gulf War, he also has a PHD in foreign relations.  His argument is not that the Marine Crops can't do its mission its that we don't need to be involved in most of the "interventions" we are involved in.  As for combat power he is right the USMC is mostly a light force, and would take heavy casualtys against an enemy who had even modest capabilitys to hit back.  we have been spoiled by weak enemys.


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