The USMC is in the throes of fundamental transformation.
This is true not only of their equipment — you might not that the F-35s flying with the USAF bombers in the Korean deterrent effort are Marines — but of their training and approach.
This is animating Marine Corps training, exercises and thinking about how to shape an effective flexible intervention force.
It is less of a sledgehammer force than an insertion force which can disrupt the adversary and go for the choke points in the adversary’s ability to fight.
At the Modern Day Marine 2017 exposition at Marine Corps Base Quantico held this week, the Commandant spoke and focused on the transition.
Whereas in recent history the Navy and Marine Corps have been able to sail into theater uncontested, pull logistics ships into ports, unpack gear and organize troops before heading into battle, “I don’t’ think that’s what the future holds for us” when looking at a potential future fight with high-end adversaries, Neller told the audience.
“Our adversaries are not just going to let us go to the fight uncontested; we’re going to have to fight our way across the ocean or under the ocean or in the air,” he said.
“When Marines used to get on ship, the days of, okay I’m onboard ship, I need to know when chow is and where I’m going to take a nap – you guys are making me work way too hard for some laughs – but let’s be honest with ourselves, you got on ship and were like, okay, sailor, wake me up when we get there.
“That’s not going to be the way it’s going to be. So that’s what we’re operating on – we’re going to have to fight to get to the fight.”
In a piece by Jeff Schogol published by Marine Corps Times, the Commandant’s focus on getting the Corps ready for a “violent, violent fight” was the focus of attention.
Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller has repeatedly offered sobering — and at times ominous — warnings about the next war the Corps will face.
He says the next fight will be far more complex and deadly than the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan that have shaped the force and its leadership over the past 16 years.
“I don’t think the next fight is going to be a stability op/counterinsurgency: It’s going to be a violent, violent fight,” Neller said in May, while speaking at the 2017 Innovation Symposium awards ceremony.