|Colonel Andrew Dziengeleski|
The Marine Corps is currently enduring another round of a very public discourse about how the service should be structured, equipped and focused for the future. This is not a new stage for the Marines, in fact, this is just the most current emergence of a discussion that has been on-going since the 1970s. There have been a lot of Marines, currently serving and retired, who have taken up the quill or placed themselves in front of the camera and let the world know their opinion about the new focus of the Marines.
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So this internal tension, and this absolutely mind-bogglingly difficult philosophical divide, is driving this discourse within the ranks of former, retired and current Marines. General Berger has already started changing the force structure of the Marine Corps, and as one of the more vocal and charismatic retired Generals, LtGen Paul Van Riper has stated, ““It will be a force shorn of all its tanks and 76% of its cannon artillery, and with 41% fewer Marines in its infantry battalions,” Van Riper wrote. “To make the situation even worse, there will be 33% fewer aircraft available to support riflemen on the ground.” This is being done in a belief that better communications, better concealment and deception efforts, and longer, more lethal weaponry will be required for the possible future fight in the Pacific against China. There is an old belief, and personally, I thought this was obsolete before Afghanistan and Iraq and those two wars made it even more obsolete, that if you structure, man, equip and train against your most dangerous enemy, you can do anything else relatively easily. At this point, the current Russia-Ukraine war should be placing a huge restrictor plate on the Marine force structure changes until a series of lessons-learned can be written, disbursed to the force, and understood by everyone from the Lance Corporal to the Commandant. I seriously, seriously hope that’s the case, but I am not certain it is actually in effect at the moment.
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There is a real good news story to all of this, and I am being 100% dead serious when I write this next sentence. I am extremely happy that this discourse has bled into the public sphere. This happened with the post-Vietnam reform efforts in the Army and the Marines, and I think it’s fantastic. There is a great deal of truth about the old saw “Sunlight makes for the best disinfectant” and getting all of this into the public eye is critically important. What would be even nicer, and I am not getting my hopes up here, is that Congress would start taking a real and present oversight role in all of this, primarily out of the Armed Services and Appropriations Committees, but everyone in Congress who cares about the future of one of the nation’s services should weigh in as they see fit.
I'm utterly unqualified to opine on this, so I won't.
Anything, and I mean ANYTHING that decreases the lethality of the Marine Corps needs to be shitcanned immediately. The one over-riding lesson we need to have learned is that whatever kind of war we think we are going to have to fight, our planners and thinkers have almost always been wrong and underestimated the difficulty of the mission.ReplyDelete