USMC Force Reduction and Reallocation

Blog Post
The Marine Corps won’t be your daddy’s corps and it won’t be yours. There is a completely new vision for the USMC on the way. (Link
The Marines are getting ready to confront China and it means eliminating all three tank battalions, bridging companies, law enforcement battalions, cutting back on MV-22 Osprey, attack and heavy lift squadrons, etc. Artillery batteries will be reduced from twenty-one to five, and infantry battalions will be reduced from twenty-four to twenty-one. The number of authorized F-35B and F-35C fighters will be reduced from 16 per squadron to ten. This means a reduction of 12,000 personnel over the next decade.
The rifle squads will be smaller. The 26th MEU was the first USMC unit to deploy with the fifteen marine squad model but they may be even smaller still. Think twelve.

“Infantry battalions will be smaller to support naval expeditionary warfare” and designed to support a fighting concept known as Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations — which will see Marines decentralized and distributed across the Pacific on Islands or floating barge bases.

Those are the planned cuts. 
The Marine Corps wants a “300 percent increase in rocket artillery capacity” with anti-ship missiles. The Corps is eyeing a remotely operated rocket artillery HIMARS launcher that uses the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle paired with the Naval Strike Missile to sink ships at sea.

Defense News reported the Navy requested $64 million for fiscal year 2021 for a program that pairs anti-ship missiles with existing vehicles known as the Ground-based Anti-ship Missile and Remotely Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary (ROGUE) Vehicle.

19 thoughts on “USMC Force Reduction and Reallocation

  1. It's always important for the new bureaucrats to put their stamp on things to show they're in charge and have big ideas.

    Used to be that we'd have a devastating war every once in a while to re-focus DoD on actually being a warfighting organization instead of just another vast bureaucracy. So, there's good and bad parts of being overwhelmingly powerful.

    In general, the lack of existential wars is an overall positive.

    -Kle.

  2. It's easier for a smaller organization, such as the Marine Corps, to reimagine itself for the next war than it is for Big Army, that is still to some extent, locked into the big battle in the Fulda Gap to save Europe.

  3. I'm intrigued by the Commandant's vision for the Corps. I've heard lots of doom-and-gloom prognostications from those who regard the changes as too swingeing, but I have to admit, if he's adjusting to an island-hopping, rapidly-mobile force that spearheads the heavier guns of the Army and Navy, he's making the right choices.

    Most interesting of all to me is the imminent advent of battlefield directed-energy weapons. I think very few people have anticipated just how devastating they'll be to a great many traditional weapons, including guided missiles, artillery and mortar rounds, etc. They've been developing better and better ones for decades, and the first truly capable battlefield units will be fielded this decade. I think they're likely to be a major game-changer. Armored vehicles, aircraft at low to medium altitudes, anything moving at all, is going to be a "see it, shoot it" proposition. With a beam moving at light speed, there's no windage or delay factor at all – it's a straight shot. I think that's going to demand as great a re-thinking of military tactics as did the introduction of repeating weapons, machine-guns and smokeless powder.

  4. Interesting and I'm sure they're right in thinking the USMC won't need tanks or bridges in a future conflict.

    Or is this primarily an exercise in cost cutting?

  5. My jarhead relatives have mixed opinions. On a positive side, this will be a focus on naval infantry as opposed to US Army light. Their concern is having to rely on other branches, more than now, for support. They are not convinced the support will be there.They speak on this point based on their personal experience.

    For some 20 years now the Marines have been required to wage land warfare. With all due respect, they don't do it as well as the Army.

    As a former Army bridge company enlisted grunt, having the means to build bridges means you have the means to get supplied. Kind of handy.

  6. This is all well and good, but can the New Corps restore a destroyed American economy? From were I sit it looks like Sun Tzu was pretty successful training chi-com economic ju-jitsu fighters.

  7. The USMC has been in search of a legitimate mission for a long time. The age of amphibious warfare as we saw massed landings in WW2 and at Inchon, Korea, have gone the way of the dodo bird and the iron horse. At least they're trying something other than light infantry, trying to be army.

    Marines are supposed to be light, and a land force to augment the Naval mission and I think that they're trying to be that.

    Energy weapons (on ships) make sense to me because the ship generates the power that they need. On land they may suffer in the short term from a lack of the power that they need to be effective in a battlefield environment.

  8. I think that cost cutting is part of it. The question was "does the USMC need to be the US Army"? And the answer is that they do not. They need their own identity if they are to survive. Otherwise, the Navy can just haul around the Army.

    The DLC does not have tanks, so why does the USMC need them?

  9. Bridging isn't as needed on Pacific Islands as it would be on mainland warfare. Nor are main battle tanks. Anti-ship missiles are useful in holding islands against the Chicom (People's Liberation Army's Navy) threat. Other than the Chinese, who do we train to fight?

  10. It will fare better in a reduced funding environment by selling its tanks and bridging equipment to the Army (inter-government journal voucher) and by reducing its force by 12,000 and by reducing its demand for F-35's.

  11. Frankly I always believed the Corps should be a Joint Force in the middle of the rest so studs from the other branches could “ try out “ for the Marines & go to Parris Island. When they are done they would return to original branch. Marines tears studs up , very few are able to retire. British Forces also have a joint force. Strength through unity.

  12. Not everyone wants to be naval infantry. One of the missions I had when I served in the Navy, was to make the beaches safe for the Marine Corps to land on…

    The Marine Corps is fully integrated into the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) with the Raider Battalions. So they are an integral component of a joint force. The present effort is for the larger Marine Corps to become more fully integrated with the Naval mission.

    There are presently 186,000 US Marines. The British Royal Marines are a force of 7,760. The British Army is just under 80,000. Thus the USMC is over twice the size of the entire British Army and Marine Corps combined. The British have been forced to create joint force operations because of numbers as they have drawn down the size of their forces. They've also been obliged in many cases to join with other nation's militaries as a component of a larger effort as a force multiplier.

  13. Good point, but I think we need to be lobbying jard for some of that soon to be surplus armor.

    Have to keep order this side of the Brazos.

  14. Was in a bridging outfit myself, and thought the same thing. I cant imagine that they will only be used for the pacific islands. I know thats the plan but that could change very quickly. Also, tanks are very nice tool to have in the tool box.

  15. You could brigade the USMC with Army units if you need heavy armor support. Remember that they have organic amphibious armor and rotors. Bridging units are useful but if they are light strike infantry dedicated primarily for ARG's in the Westpac, the new configuration might work well enough. We'll have to wait and see whether or not they get it right.

  16. The DLC could buy surplus British Ferrets. They're available in the US in several variants.

  17. Barely enough for defense of the home islands.

    The Royal Navy has 33 war ships (including the Prince of Wales, still under construction) and that number also includes submarines. If you use the rule of thumb that you can deploy 1/3, that means that they can keep 10 ships at sea. They don't, but they could.

    The British military is only a shadow of its former self. They're good. I am not diminishing their courage and training. But they are very small.

  18. Largest Regiment is the Royal Irish Regiment made up mostly of folks from the Irish Republic not NI. Uk needed a Republic before Cromwell. House of Lords is older then Cowboys & Indians. They almost lost Scotland a few years ago. I was in London last summer, was happy to see Hamilton show playing & popular. They need to join the revolution!

Comments are closed.

Scroll to top