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Gates and Co. to Axe Marine Corps EFV?

by Greg on June 9, 2010

Yesterday at a reporter’s roundtable, House Armed Services Committee chair Rep. Ike Skelton said he expects SecDef Robert Gates and his merry band of program killers in OSD will try to terminate the Marine Corps armored amphibian, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV).

Skelton said he’s pretty agnostic on the EFV and that the HASC would give the Marines time to conduct further tests on the vehicle. He did expect the Marines to fight tooth and nail to keep the program alive. I’m hearing the same thing from inside the Navy department; the Marines really, really want their EFV.

I’m also told that the Marines are embarking on a PR blitz in think tank land and among reporters to try to pre-empt Gates’ move and sell the EFV along with amphibious warfare writ large; for example, a couple of weeks back EFV program manager Col. Keith Moore did a “bloggers roundtable” (transcript here).

Gates told the Marines to explain how the EFV fits into the big strategy picture, I’m told, and, more importantly, he’s asking the Marine’s for their “vision” of how they fit into the overall force, beyond amphibious assault.

He contends that the EFV is a gold plated “niche” capability designed for a highly unlikely repeat of the Inchon landing.

The Marines say… well here’s how Moore put it:

“[S]o many of the capabilities that are in the EFV are specifically designed so you never have to do another Inchon, you never have to do another Iwo Jima, but you can still do that forcible entry mission when it’s required or provide a credible threat of a joint forcible entry so that you open up other opportunities for other capabilities that are within the suite of American military capabilities, whether that’s other surface means, aviation means or whatever, that by having a credible threat in one area you open up a window of vulnerability in another area that we can exploit.”

I’m told that planners in the Navy department are eyeballing the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC) as a more versatile means of delivering troops and vehicles ashore. Obviously it doesn’t have the “forcible entry” capabilities of an armored amphibian, but the idea is to use recon to find an empty beach and land there, instead of into the teeth of enemy defenses.

The feeling is that the LCAC, which is due for an upgrade, can deliver more relevant troops and material ashore much faster (carrying up to 75 tons at 40 knots) than a gaggle of EFVs.

– Greg Grant

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{ 109 comments… read them below or add one }

William C. June 9, 2010 at 7:40 pm

Personally I want the Marines to win this round, Gates already made a great enough mistake cutting F-22A production.

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kkcollin June 9, 2010 at 2:47 pm

Personal preference has nothing to do with the military budget, auditing the military saves lives.

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Bob June 9, 2010 at 8:01 pm

When will they learn that the nation just plain cannot afford all these gee-wiz expensive military toys. The U.S. is broke, broke, broke, and President Obama does not, and will not, spend all the money the military wants on over priced toys. In the future the U.S. will not be the world's policemen, and If the Marines ever need to storm a beach somewhere, LSTs, LCIs and LCTs are cheap and quick to produce.

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brilliant June 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm

Right, cause Obama is too busy shoveling money to his public sector union cronies. Screw the marines, they don't vote Democrat anyway, right? More money for left-wing government workers and Obama cronies.

Obama is a corrupt weasel. I'd listen to his calls to cut defense spending more if he showed the slightest restraint in govt spending in other sectors. The man is a crook.

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Bob June 9, 2010 at 9:36 pm

He may be a crook, but he is "The Peoples" crook. He was elected by a large percentage of the voters, over a war hero. According to some polls a large percentage still like him and what he is doing. The American people spoke and they said they wanted Obama.

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@7thwave June 9, 2010 at 10:49 pm

BOB…the nation can afford the things needed for the military. But it is people like you who waste money and cry budget when the money you waste goes no where. Let me give you an example….build more tanks for army and marines= more American jobs here at home. But wait…cut defense programs, keep people unemployed, and you have Obama's vision of America..broke,decadent, and ripe for civil war!

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Bob June 9, 2010 at 11:32 pm

I agree with you. Unfortunately, Obama, the democrat party and all the people that elected them feel differently. The country is broke and we cannot afford a large military, not without cutting entitlement programs that the voters and the unions would never allow.

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Chimp June 10, 2010 at 12:39 pm

The most expensive thing on earth is a second best military. Could have been Bismarck… and can't be bothered looking it up.

Me, I think the EFV is a shocking piece of kit. Then again, it's no weirder than the other Marine's (the Royal ones) armoured vehicle – and that thing is a miracle worker.

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STemplar June 9, 2010 at 7:55 pm

We haven't used the 'credible threat' in 60 years and we won't. We can't afford billions on programs to maintain a 'bluff'.

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Gatorsalior June 9, 2010 at 8:37 pm

WRONG – I guess you slept through the discussion of the faked amphib landing in Desert Strom 1. It split Sadam's attention between a possible landing and the Marines coming over land.
You'd fit right into Mr. Gates Defense Department – dam history – cut away!!!

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Donnell June 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm

You miss the point Gatorsailor, Why would anyone in there right mind do a frontal beach assault in this day and age.The threat of a beach assault in Desert Storm was only a bluff. Imagine the amount of dead marines littering the beaches of Kuwait. Is that something that you want to see? No! So why waste lives needlessly. It was only done that way in WW2 because that was all they had. Today we have so many more options to choose from to accomplish the mission and preserve the lives of Marines. If a Marine Corp general is pushing for this thing to take a defended beach, I would have to question his competence. Why not take the un-defended beach and attack overland to take the objective. hhmm!

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Gatorsalior June 9, 2010 at 9:23 pm

Good point Donnell – having served in a LST as a CICO guiding waves of AAV's in, I understand the danger of an opposed landing. If the LST / AAV or EFV approach were tried there would be a lot of dead sailors and marines.
But, if all we focus on is the soft landings we are limiting our selves and making it easier for the defenders. The EFV could give us the ability to land on light to medium defended beaches giving just that much more real-estate for the defenders to cover.

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@7thwave June 9, 2010 at 10:42 pm

Donnell…the reason why someone would do a frontal assault onto an enemy beach or harbor would be to seize that beach or harbor for follow on forces. Just like the 82nd airborne job is to seize air fields. And the Rangers job is to do the same. SO why be foolish enough to junk a capability that is needed just because someone thinks that it is too old and not needed?

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 12:03 am

To @7thwave, I have been a 19kilo,m1 tank crewman and 11b light infantry soldier,I know all about frontal assaults. They should they should be avoided if possible, but if you have to do it, you should have as much fire support as possible to help you. This thing is not a good "Infantry Fighting Vehicle" The only thing it does well is move thru the water faster than a AAV7 and its bigs as a house. I doubt that this thing will stack up well against an enemy IFV or tank on land which I'm sure it will face off with. During the beginning beginning of OIF, Bradley IFV's had head on encounters with Iraqi T27 tanks and defeated them. This thing combat ability is not better than a Bradleys and its 25 years younger, so I think the corp should go back to the drawing board and come up with something better.

praetorian June 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

Donnell, I think that was Gatorsailor's point, that it was a bluff.
But if we didnt have that capability, how could we have bluffed?
It's not like the AAVP7 is getting any younger

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Mudrake2 September 1, 2010 at 12:02 pm

There are some places where there ARE no alternatives to landing on an opposed defended beach. WWII is replete with those instances. If it were as simple as finding an empty undefended beach, they should have done that in the Pacific. We tend to be seduced by technology. You think helicopters or the Ospery are a better alternative? Yeah, until half a platoon goes up in fireball when one is shot down by a shoulder fired anti aircraft missle. We have been lulled by easy victories in the recent wars and tend to forget that against another conventional force we could easily have in a day, the number of casualties we suffered in the entire Iraq war. Anyone who thinks otherwise is a simpleton. Carriers? Big fat targets, and when they have been aerated by anti ship missles with the loss of thousands of sailors, we'll be back to making amphibious landings with rubber boats since we won't have any armored amphibians. it will be 1942 all over again.

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STemplar June 9, 2010 at 8:09 pm

It is far from essential. It isn't even a particularly good IFV and it is very expensive. This is about Marine generals trying to maintain the Glory days of the corps, period. We engaged in the beach storming warfare in WW2 and Korea because we had to, not because we wanted to. If we had PGMs and helicopters we would not have had Omaha beach and Iwo Jima.

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Lane June 10, 2010 at 2:50 am

Please tell me where you're going to middle school at, i need to send my kids there. If only we all had sound judgement like yourself. "This is about Marine generals trying to maintain the Glory days of the corps, period." Just get out, and don't come back. Thank god even the most uneducated Army/Navy/CG/MC officer doesn't think that.

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DaveC.0121 June 10, 2010 at 7:32 pm

Actually, the fanatical attachment to the EFV is about the Marines trying to find a mission other than being a second land army to justify themselves. "Forcible Entry" is amphibious landing by another name, and highly unlikely in the current and foreseeable threat environments. As regards the EFV as an IFV, the Bradley would be superior in a high intensity threat setting, while the Stryker would be better in urban/low intensity settings.

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@Earlydawn June 9, 2010 at 8:51 pm

This thing is overspecialized and too expensive. The Marines should certainly focus on their role as an amphibious combined-arms expeditionary force, but this is not the sliver bullet for beach landings. Amphibious assaults should be centered on good coordination between our fleet and the local land-based air forces, not trying to build a catch-all beachbreaker and getting a lame IFV out of it.

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WTQ June 9, 2010 at 9:52 pm

'bout time.

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Dean June 9, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Some issues here: 1.) any future major conflict isn't going to allow us the luxury of
establishing bases of operations in friendly countries next door. 2.) Secondly, the future of permanent foreign bases is in great doubt, there's no reason to not believe that we will have fewer and fewer foreign bases in the future. Because of these two reasons any major conflict will be a 'come as you are' type of operation. We're not going to be building airfields and army bases in the conflict area and we not going to be able to stage operations from friendly countries next door. The future lies in the Western Pacific, that future conflict area is what we must plan for now. Guam and our other island bases will simply disappear in the first minutes of a major conflict-they what do have-nothing but Navy power. There are no more "Fortress Europe" out there, no country has a defended border/coast line line with concrete batteries, big guns in caves, etc. out there. 80% of the worlds population lives on or near the coast. A lot of you are saying that the Marines would storm defended beaches and die by the hundreds, that isn't sound military thinking, one never attacks an enemies strong point, even if they can defend their coast to some degree, they can't defend everywhere. Finally if one is a student of history one cannot be smart and say 'we'll never need this capability again' and not look the fool as have many 'smart' people done in the past.

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STemplar June 10, 2010 at 1:42 am

When was the last cavalry charge with lances that was effective?

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Lane June 9, 2010 at 10:18 pm

STemplar- That's sound military thinking right there. We should deffinitely still be using steam boats and muskets too while we're at it. Any more advice for us you can think of feel free to post here whenever you feel the urge.

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Mr Rose June 10, 2010 at 8:22 pm

How did we do it in Afghanistan or Iraq 1 and 2 or Vietnam or Grenada or Somalia?

Just because a place has a shoreline doesn't mean that we have to do a WWII style amphibious assault. There are other ways to establish a base in unfriendly areas.

(I do realize that each of those campaigns, except afghanistan, had some amphibious landings, but they were mainly diversions or publicity stunts. Most soldiers were helicoptered or airlifted in. )

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Jack June 9, 2010 at 10:14 pm

LCACs are aluminum and burn easily. AAVs are old as dirt. Forced entry is not going away…but Gates needs to give us options instead of just cutting things. Readers to need to in tactical terms at Grenada, Gallipoli, Tarawa, and Normandy to understand. We spend millions on the USAF and it's pristine bases, the Army and their toys, and billions on new CVNs, but when the Marines need a vehicle to do it's mission MANDATED by congress, everyone starts getting nervous. Besides, knowing the USMC we won't have to buy new amtracks for them again until 2050….

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Rick W June 9, 2010 at 11:04 pm

Not to bust your bubble, but EFV's are also made of aluminum.

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STemplar June 10, 2010 at 1:42 am

…and forced entries went away with Inchon.

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Lane June 10, 2010 at 2:29 am

STemplar – I'm glad you brought up that good point, your genius knows no bounds. Forget SAM sites lets use catapults, while we're at it since we don't need tanks anymore in the modern day and age (y'know since any infantry AT- team can easily take them out) lets just use their scrap metal for something useful. Please go read about 1 or 2 books, only problem is that I dont think military history books are published for 6th graders, but I'm sure you'll like Twilight, my 10yr old niece loves it. On a serious note if anyone wants to read something very informational try "First To Fight" its a history of the Marine Corps and its not one sided for you Hooah dogs.

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citanon June 10, 2010 at 11:05 am

Last I checked NK is still there….

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Jack June 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

Not the same type. You can't hang armored slats off the side of a LCAC last time I checked. Gettng rid of the EFV is akin to saying the enemy "don't worry about it bro, you see this 500 mile coast line right here? we're not going to attack it. So move all your troops to the interior"

If you anybody here actually knows what went down at Inchon, it's a freaking miracle that the USN and USMC pulled it off. Don't take for granted what we did, it was not as easy as it looked, The whole point of the EFV is to avoid another 21 century version of Operation Cobra II.

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joe June 9, 2010 at 10:56 pm

"Gates told the Marines to explain how the EFV fits into the big strategy picture, I’m told, and, more importantly, he’s asking the Marine’s for their “vision” of how they fit into the overall force, beyond amphibious assault."

This looks more than just "axing" the EFV….Gates have a special agenda to do away with the Corps? Gates could save Billions by getting rid of one whole branch of Service…beware, it's been tried before.

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Dean June 9, 2010 at 11:15 pm

If Gate really wants to save money he should be looking at how each services spends the money they got 1.) why are all the Air Force bases and residences luxurious with fine golf courses, etc.? 2.) how can the Marines spend less $ per fighter then the Army does but yet have more effective fighters? 3.) why does the Air Force have THREE heavy bombers, B-52, B1 and the B-2? That's what I call a huge waste of money since they all do basically the same thing-drop big bombs. 4.) Why is the Army and Air Force in the ballistic missile defense arena when it has been shown that they don't know a damn thing about it? 5.) Lastly, I can't leave the Navy out, why are we spending money on the LCS that gains us nothing in war fighting ability, we should be spending on money on a new frigates-replacing the aging Perry class. Cheers

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Bob June 9, 2010 at 11:36 pm

Well speaking for the Army. It has to do the whole thing, medical, logistics, engineers, chaplins, combat support etc. The Marines have the Navy to do most of their support missions for them.

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Charley June 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Not that I'm an USAF fanboy – far from it actually. But I think that the people have gotten their money's worth out of the B-1, and especially the B-52 – that aircraft is still relevant after how many years now? The B-2? Different story.

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chris June 10, 2010 at 3:29 pm

First, lets start with the fact that Marines do NOT have more effective fighters. That is simple Marines hubris. The average Marine grunt is far less trained than the average Army infantrymen. Second, lets go with the fact that the majority of the USMC support function is performed by either the Army or the Navy depending on the theater of operations. Even their medics are funded by the Navy and those costs carried on a different budgetary line item. These acounting games make the actual Marine costs appear to be much smaller than they really are. If you were to factor the support costs from the Navy and Army onto the individual Marine grunt and then factor in the expensive equipment in their little air force and stuff like the EFV the average Marine grunt is far more expensive than their peer Army grunt. The Marine Corps as it currently structured is intended to support a dead mission. Reduce their strength to that necessary to support their pre WW1 mission and move the difference to the Army for a huge cost saving.

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 3:53 pm

Well said Chris, I wish every Marine could read that and stop preaching and believing in there own propaganda.

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Rick W June 9, 2010 at 11:16 pm

Here's the problem guys – If you have an enemy so strong you need the EFV's capabilities to have a viable 'forcible entry' option that enemy is so strong the mission will be suicide. As someone wrote on another board, an EFV would be nothing more than a 10 million dollar coffin for twenty marines.

The flip side of that is if the enemy is not that strong, you don't need this expensive boondoggle to do the job.

For me personally, I would like to see the Marines get a much inproved landing vehicle. But I'd like a concept that sets realistic goals, and that can be bought for a realistic price.

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@Earlydawn June 10, 2010 at 3:21 am

I think this is right on the money. The AAV7 is a good example of the sacrifices you make when you build a catchall vehicle for amphibious landings. Give them a nice, cheap and effective small landing craft for infantry, and a proper IFV for the follow-on LCACs.

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Howe June 10, 2010 at 12:33 am

I agree with Gates, beaches will never be taken like on D-day, these days…bombs and missiles will be the ones clearing out the enemy.

Cut Away Mr. Gates.

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MAC June 11, 2010 at 7:04 pm

There have been 200 plus amphibous landings in the past year. Amazing how ill informed people are.

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PTONE June 10, 2010 at 1:22 am

From what i hear its aluminum, good luck once you're on lands. I've read it can hurt occupants backs in choppy water going fast (which is its biggest asset) since it is designed for 'over the horizon' its a long ride. Helo's can skim the surface of the water so there not that much more of a target, go faster, maybe armed better, and prob. cheaper. Plus you've already softened the beachhead with precision munitions. Cancelled.

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SSG.Hubbs 82nd Abn June 10, 2010 at 2:35 am

Seems like once a program gets cut because it's not needed it is invariably needed again. Remember how snipers were always dropped after a war was over, then we had to do it all over again hwen a new war began. Now finally there are ongoing sniper schools, lesson learned. What can it hurt to have a hard hitting amphib forced entry group around, one just never knows. Once all the tooling machines are melted, factories dismantled it would be a bear to reinstate a system. I say pull back from all these needless conflicts, consolidate where you can, arm the forces in a way they can fulfill their missions and pick our battles WISELY!!!

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STemplar June 10, 2010 at 7:38 am

Except we haven't needed to do a forced entry since Inchon. We don't fight like this anymore. We don't have to. We only did back in the mid 20th century because we had to, not because it was a very good way of doing business, it was the only way at the time.

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

Exactly STemplar and to SSG Hubbs you should do some research on the Mayaguez Incident back in 12 May 1975 and see how the Marines tried to do things like the good ole days of WW2 and got there asses handed to them…hhmm.

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Maurice June 10, 2010 at 2:43 am

This one is kind of hard to figure and non-Marines (Sailors rate the right, they help get us from ship to shore) dont rate the right to comment here. The Marines have always gotten what the Army didnt want or cast away (the LAV-25 was presented to them they didnt want it..then came up with the Stryker, which is a HUGE LAV 25) the Cobra (they got the Apache which is bad a$$, but we put 4 blades on the Cobra and she has a nasty bite).

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Maurice I would like to enlighten you on some things. The Marines could have gotten the Apache, Bradley and other weapon systems that the Army uses. But they chose not to. For instant, When the Army was developing the Abrams tank, it went thru some teething problems and once the army solved them, it was ranked as one of the best tanks in the world and the Marines didn't receive them until dersert storm. While the Army was using them for almost ten years. The Army footed the bill for the development. The Army being a heavier ground force than the corps did'nt need a vehicle like the LAV25 until after the cold war, so what did the Army do. They looked at the LAV25 and updated it and changed it to fit there needs.The Army developed the Cobra back in the 60's and during the 80's the Army focus was on defending western Europe from a Soviet attack and then developed the Apache which was to be a specialized anti-tank chopper.Before the Apache there was the Cheyanne which was canceled.

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Maurice June 10, 2010 at 10:45 pm

Donnell, you are a lil off. The Marines did not have a place at the table for the Bradley and most certainly was not in contention for the Apache. The Marines were told to basically be happy with the Cobra…which we were and made full use of. With the Abrams, that was a based on what the Marines needed in conjunction with the cost of up-armoring and putting plates on the M-60, was the budget approved. The Cheyenne was strictly army and was shot down. And as far as being heavy, the Army is now kicking itself in the butt on the Stryker because their focus NOW is to get LIGHTER!

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Maurice June 10, 2010 at 2:44 am

cont'd Looking at, as another posted pointed out, the Army has been through a bevy of vehicles with overhauls and new designs even before the Marines can get one upgrade (the Stryker is going through what, its 5th upgrade?!?!?). AF, you folks cant even begin to go there. We have been in the mix for almost ten years and most of your shiny aircraft havent been outside of the hangar…except for training. The only people you folks have worth talking about are FAC's, PJ's, medics,and CCT's. You guys should remain moot on this point hoping no one notices your financial SQUANDERS! We should give two spits what the Navy says simply because they sign our checks AND the commit bodies to our fight (SEALs, Corpsman, SWCC's, SeaBees). As for the vehicle, we definately need it; not just for ship to shore but for inland incursions. Some of these numbskulls think we only have beachhead capabilities when as a combined arms force in readiness, can deliver more of a quick strike punch in the mouth capability than most Army units. But again, the smallest branch of the service keeps getting picked on by the larger budgeted two…sort of like Cinderella and her wicked step-sisters…and we know who came out on top in that story!

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Taylor June 10, 2010 at 3:48 pm

You frogot AF has AC130 and Wharthog they have saved a good many people just throwing that one out there

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Maurice June 10, 2010 at 10:55 pm

I didnt forget the AF. The Marines, we have our own C-130's. The warthog has killed a number of good Marines in fratricidal incidents and serve the Army CAS needs mainly. The Marines, we have our Harrier, our Cobra, our F/A-18 SUPER HORNET, we have Naval Air and Ship to Shore fire support. In all honesty, the Navy/Marine Corps team, while not designed to win a war as a stand alone, is pretty self-sufficient and can handle a bevy of our problems with minimal support from the other branches.

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@Earlydawn June 10, 2010 at 3:32 am

I'd really like to ask the EFV supporters what they think about the rapidly expanding global arsenal of anti-shipping, cruise, and guided anti-tank missiles in inventories around the world. Conceptually, I really like the idea of Maneuver From the Sea, but the minimum safe distance keeps getting further from the shore in several cases.

Remember, your answer can't be "air power and Tomahawk strikes". If you assume that strategic fires are available, there's really no reason to risk forced entry.

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Locarno June 10, 2010 at 7:32 am

Good point.

Problem: The stand-off troop deployment distance you gain with EFVs versus the range of modern high end SSMs. Orignial concept was to operate outside artillery and rocket range (call it 20 miles) – is the EFV really capable of being deployed 70+ miles plus off shore now that C802 and any future successors are starting to turn up in national armouries?

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Jeff M June 10, 2010 at 8:23 am

Lasers

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Taylor June 10, 2010 at 3:52 pm

What about the ever more present surface to air missles so they ahave alot of those maybe we shouldnt use helicopters either??

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@Earlydawn June 10, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Flawed analogy. Surface to air missiles are indeed a legitimate threat to aircraft, but the West has developed techniques and technologies to curb those threats down to an acceptable level. Additionally, the costs of a helicopter (well – pre V-22, anyway) are not prohibitive if you lose one to a SAM. They are "priced to go", so to speak.

Naval anti-missile warfare is still developing, by comparison. Cruise and anti-shipping missiles are extremely difficult to intercept by naval forces on a simple 1:1 ship/missile basis. When you factor in proximity to enemy shore, you need to start thinking about volley fire and over-saturation attacks. Consider the costs of a single amphibious assault ship, then add the lost aircraft (hypothetically, F-35Bs), plus as much as a complete Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

Get it yet?

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slntax June 10, 2010 at 3:51 am

guys look at this and look at the f-35 you cannot build a victor that does everything and expect it to be good at anything! look at the overblown costs! it would be wiser to for the army/marines to build a quality ifv and the marines to design a new delivery system for it when attacking shores. specificity is what works!

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E_Khun June 10, 2010 at 7:26 am

Hear, hear!

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danf June 10, 2010 at 3:55 am

We can no longer afford wars like Iraq and Afgan. The lesson we should learn is that counter-insurgency is a loser. That means we need to focus on strategic threats. Emphasis on power projection. Navy, Marines and Airforce. That means we must DOMINATE air and sea with 100% certainty. Gates keeps putting up the straw man of how does this help us fight our current wars. That is the cover to obscure the preemption of our future capabilities. In my book the 780b "stimulus" could easily have funded F22, ship building, submarines, anti missle defense, future bomber etc…keeping skilled people employed and providing unmatchable capabilities . But instead all these programs are being cut leaving us with a light infantry constabulary force.

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@Earlydawn June 10, 2010 at 6:03 am

I'm generally for revising the EFV project, but for the sake of playing devil's advocate.. how can a nation choose the battles it fights? If we get hit with a second major mass-casualty terror attack, are we going to shrug and say "sorry, we only fight first-world nations now"?

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Bob June 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Because a light infantry force is all we can afford. Mr. Obama has other plans for federal dollars and the military isn't on the short list. The stimulus money was spent on what gets politicians re elected. The democratic party that brought us the stimulus would never stand for it being spent on the military. As a general rule most of the military when it votes, does not vote for democrats.

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

Danf I'm a military man like most of the bloggers on this site and I love my Army and My country, but if I had to choose between the two, my country wins hands down. I would like for my country and people to prosper and if that mean that we have to cut off a weapon system, so be it. I would like to remind you that the US military budget is bigger than half the nations on this planet combined, that includes friends and foes. When is enought, enought for you…

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DOCHMCFMF June 10, 2010 at 7:47 am

Once again we are thinking of standing face to face with our enemy in 3 ranks with muzzle loaders- a nice neat western war. Huge portions of the third world Asia/ Pacific , South America and Africa have no road structure and shallow waterways are the main highway. I much rather face an enemy in these areas coming out of Amphibious fighting Vehicle than being dropped into the swamp off a chopper. We need a vehicle that can put squads not divisions into small mobile conflict areas safely and rapidly with fire power and face an enemy that fights us in shallow water, swamp and water accessible only land masses.
And yes it is time to stop replacing equipment, get rid of the Marines and the SeaBees, whole army divisions and many Navy ships because we have a democrat president and he will be able to brag how he cut federal spending and jobs and then they can blame the next Republican administration that has to restore all they have shorted -With the help of a willing media it has worked every time – results don't matter when no one will be told of them.

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Jeff M June 10, 2010 at 8:18 am

This is the same argument as missile defense, you could say why are we building this because if the missiles start flying we're all doomed anyways. Well it's simple, this makes doomsday less likely. The United States needs to maintain it's overwhelming firepower. When you're running a race you don't stop and take it easy when you pull out ahead of the pack, you keep running as hard as you can. We need ground forces and it's not always easy getting them over the ocean and onto dry land. If I were a soldier fighting a war along a coastline, I would want one of these.

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diablotakahe June 10, 2010 at 8:26 am

I ask myself in situations such as these, what would Reagan do?

Buy both of course. LCACs and EFVs

simple.

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Sean Wagner June 10, 2010 at 10:09 am

Whatever happens to this program, the Marines shouldn't give an inch on forcible entry.

The threat alone is an important military asset, and preparing for future conflinct has to mean the ability to inflict pain in multiple ways, not searching for the predetermined road to victory.

However, I do think that the present round of cutting and redistributing has many benefits – if we do not regain our ability to build relevant hardware in meaningful quantities and useful development cycles, we may as well pack up.

And since we do not know what hardware will really be relevant (because there actually is a revolution in communications and computing), we need lots of experimentation and flexibility, and maybe a greater atomization and variety of platforms.

What seems to be the Achilles' heel of the EFV is its size and the dangerous tendency of trying to be all things. When you separate systems, you lose a lot of complexity, gain a lot of flexibility, and get to optimize and replace subsystems more easily.

From an adversary's perspective, a force that can recon, raid and reinforce with impunity is a nightmare. Problem is, are vehicles of this size really the answer to the urban coastal environment? Threatening rice paddies is senseless.

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cabgx2 June 10, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Gates is still mad at the Commandant for his public stand against the repeal of DADT. Gates and Obama are on a witch hunt and the Marines are the target.

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Tony C June 10, 2010 at 12:49 pm

The point was made that the AAV is old and needs replacement, so why not develop a replacement with superior capabilities to the AAV? The same logic holds true for keeping the F-35 alive over the F-16 and AV-8. There is a price to pay for any new hardware, if the world was a static place, we wouldn't need to develop new capabilities. The EFV is an easy target for budget cutters since it has no place in the present conflicts. There will come a time when the DOD will have to make the decision to wither keep the Marine Corps separate and a forced entry force or delete the capabilities and disband the Marine Corps.
SECDEF Gates seems to want to disband the marine Corps altogether.

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Cowboy50 June 10, 2010 at 1:18 pm

You should put the top NCO's in charge of the military that knows what it's like to be in the trenches. Those lazy high ranking no goods have no business making decisions what the troops on the ground need when they are setting back in the white house drinking coffee and eating bon-bons. I've seen first hand both in Vietnam and Iraq that all those a–holes have to do is show up in country and they get more awards and ribbons than Audey Murfey for just being in country. It is a shame that the guys on the front off breaking down doors don't get to make any input into what gear they need to keep safe and get the job done quickly. This pussy footing around with these radicules in the middle east and in the courts back in the states is a bunch of B.S. When in Rome do as the Romans, off with their heads just like they have done in Iraq to some Americans and post it on their web sites so they get a taste of their own medicine. The bottom line is let the people on the ground do most of the decision making about what they need to get the job done!!

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jsallison June 11, 2010 at 8:54 pm

Senior enlisteds are frequently part of the problem right along with their commissioned counterparts. Too many figured out how to game the system to grab that next rocker thanks to EPMS, son of DOPMA which gave us a whole bunch of senior rankers optimized for self-promotion. I’d like to think that the clarifying fire of combat has burned off the rubbish but with it being a limited effort at any particular time I have my doubts. Too many places to hide, even in the war zones.

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Mike June 10, 2010 at 1:21 pm

I'm a Coast Guard veteran and I think this thing needs to be built for the Marines. Its faster than the vehicle the Marines us now. What the hell is going on with Gates he's a retard. Something that does the work of two. Win Win.

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Charley June 10, 2010 at 2:12 pm

Gates is faced with reality.

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Benjamin June 10, 2010 at 1:28 pm

Where is a safe beach? A couple of aircraft flying of the coast of a country with Hellfire missile's could cover an entire countries coast line. An unarmored vehicle would not survive this type of attack. The LCAC's are good after the beach head is secure and that will require the EFV.

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Jeff June 10, 2010 at 2:03 pm

I am and will always be a Marine… but I don't see the need for the EFV and I am increasingly concerned that my Corps, with its M1's, F-18's, Ospreys and all manner of heavy equipment, looks more and more the US Army. We don't, IMHO, need a second US Army and the Marine Corps should focus on its traditional First to Fight role. We are, and ought to be, trigger pullers and door kickers. We are the point of the spear! We are not the spear itself.

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Robert A. Fritts June 15, 2010 at 1:13 am

You are exactly right! The USMC needs to model themselves after 3 Commando, Royal Marines. The USMC is too big, too heavy. I'd like to see less Army number2 and more of a Special Operations oriented, and much smaller, task driven USMC. It cannot be all things, but it can be focused and highly effective. I served a 2 year exchange with 42 Commando Royal Marines and nothing in our forces come close. This would be a great goal for the USMC, kick in the door, breach the first obstacle, left the Army heavies do the big work. Not a knock on Marines, but it is what it is and Budgets are tumbling.

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Charley June 10, 2010 at 2:33 pm

The Marines need to rethink their acquisition policies. Why is it that they choose the most expensive options? The MV-22 – fantastic aircraft and fantastically expensive. Could we afford to lose these at the same rate as we lost helicopters in SE Asia? F-35B – it is not going to be cheap. Can a stealth aircraft be properly maintained in austere conditions? Is forward basing practical? Should we even think about a ~100m aircraft doing CAS where stealth is moot? Would an AH-1Z be better? An EFV than is expensive but is only good at breaching a beach? Inshore, flat bottoms and IED's (or mines) don't play well together. LCAC's and a new IFV designed for today's battlespace seem more prudent.

The Corps seems to have convinced itself that it needs these weapons to justify it's existence – a question that the Marines seem to struggle with periodically.

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@Earlydawn June 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

Agreed. Any kind of meaningful, contested amphibious landing is going to accrue casualties. The EFV puts too many men in one hull, is too expensive, and looks like it makes too many survivability conceits once ashore.

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waylong June 10, 2010 at 4:49 pm

No one in a VMM squadron thinks the V-22 is "Fantastic." It can't lift half of what a CH-47F can pick up, and most V-22s are broke down.

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Greg _R June 10, 2010 at 2:58 pm

So the tradition continues, Washington screwing the Coprs!

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Phil June 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

Because the EFVs must first be boats, they have flat bottoms, which means that they have NO protection against IEDs. Even a low tech enemy has those now.

Cut 'em.

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blight June 10, 2010 at 4:40 pm

I imagined the issue was high ground clearance necessitated flat bottoms. Only barges are flat-bottomed, and they don't do so well on the open ocean. There's always the possibility that the EFV is just charging the horse into the machineguns…who's the say when we buy the next upgrade just in time for the next upgrade is for an obsolete piece of technology?

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waylon June 10, 2010 at 4:52 pm

Can someone tell that Col. Moore that Inchon was a good thing that we'd love to repeat one day.

Gates may cut it before he leaves, but then the retired Generals will just have it reappear with a new name and the money flowing to the same contractors and GD. It was the AAAV, then the EFV, and next year it will be the MFV or something.

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pedestrian June 10, 2010 at 4:57 pm

I view the EFV in terms of how it fits in asymetric warfare. EFV should not just be sought as a litoral assault platform, but as an option of IFV with brown water capabilities. Strategy Page reported it has survivability of MRAP vs IED. EFV may also travel within the country via rivers as a method of avoiding IED, while that case might only happen, when it is moving to another base or preparing an offensive via river to a terrorist stronghold. EFV has potential strengths in environment similar to Iraq and Afghanistan. There are many rivers, and in that case, it would allow to travel with less encounters by IEDs. IED's in water is much more ineffective and easier to detect in case terrorists think they are smart inventing in water IEDs. EFV fits into the threats today and Marines future for its potentials in the guerilla warfare.

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Ted Kuhn June 10, 2010 at 1:02 pm

How can Rep Skelton be agnostic about EFV? Agnostic means a dis belief about God!

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Sam West June 10, 2010 at 9:36 pm

Those who think we will never need such a vehicle are foolish for thinking that you can predict what future wars will be like. Gates sounds pretty foolish when his remarks are put into historical perspective of the many times we've encountered unexpected circumstances in war. (Since I'm reading American Commandos about Carlson's Raiders in WWII their unexpected problems come to mind – they trained for what they considered every contingency and yet their first amphibious raid was riddled with unexpected circumstances.) You cannot accurately predict how war will unfold.

It's the Marines who will have to go in first and they will be in the line of fire. To fail to provide them with the protection they need is criminal.

And Byron Skinner – what have you been smoking!?!

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Donnell June 12, 2010 at 3:46 am

By your response its seems that you are stuck in the past with the Marines who are pushing for this thing. No one is advocating doing away with amphibian landing capability. But the corps need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something better than this thing. By the way the Marines donot always go in first. The unit with a specific capability to do a given mission goes in first and always the SF units are out front before regular units show up.Example; the invasion of Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq both times. Since you're reading about WW2, how about D-day the largest amphibian invasion in history done by the Army with no Marines hhmm…

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Philip June 14, 2010 at 6:42 pm

http://old.nationalreview.com/smitht/smith2004060

Before pointing out someone else's faults maybe you should do some reading yourself. If you click the above link you will see that the Marines were involved in the DDAY landings. they helped trained the army and then even had a unit sitting off the coast getting ready to support the Rangers at Pointe de Hoc but dont listen to me just click the link and read for yourself. YES WE were THERE.
Former CPL
USMC 96-00

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Donnell June 15, 2010 at 12:54 am

WOW! It seems most Marines really hate to hear about D-day or get real sensitive about it, why is that?

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Bob Sheridan June 10, 2010 at 11:12 pm

Impeach Obama

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Bob June 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

For what?? He has not been caught at anything, and about half the voters love him.

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jsallison June 11, 2010 at 8:41 pm

I’m still convinced that the very doctrinal concept behind the EFV is what is flawed. You want to assault onto a beach and then continue inland but a vehicle optimized for the former is not going to be optimized for the latter. I’ve thought the Bradley was too bloody big for it’s own good all along but this stupid floating boresight panel is outrageous. Get the guys to the beach in whatever way seems best but to push inland use land AFVs. Marine tankers are apparently able to use M1′s to good effect without being overwhelmed by army cooties, I suspect their counterparts in the rifle companies will do just fine with Brads and Strykers.

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IronV June 12, 2010 at 1:21 am

Here's how it is people. You can't have it all. Limited resources dictate prioritization. And the question is, is the EFV a PRIORITY? I trust Gates to make that decision.

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Benjamin June 13, 2010 at 8:12 pm

Sec. Gates was good at getting stuff out to the troops in the field but has shown that he is out of his league when it comes to weapons development and budget decisions. (F-22, EFV, JSF and Tanker)

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blight June 14, 2010 at 1:22 am

I find it hilarious how the Marines think EFV alone would be enough for a contested beach. If they really believe in contested beaches there'd be amphibious tanks and artillery, etc.

Nopers, just infantry. Definitely want a repeat of Omaha Beach, man versus direct and indirect fire. It just shows that the Corps is interested in repeating the operations of yesterday verbatim, but with more spiffy technology. Taken to its logical conclusion, we'd have tanks that charged each other on the battlefield with lances made out of shaped charges…

New times and new technologies call for new tactics and new equipment, not new equipment and old tactics/strategy. And if the Corps wants to go brown-water again, I suspect there are better vehicles for the job. It's easy to insist on "jack of all trades" stuff but the corollary is "master of none". Do you want an expensive turkey that can't do anything well?

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howard June 14, 2010 at 3:08 pm

i think the USMarines are missing another aspect of this type
of weapon. to my mind, it's not the fact that it is
carrying troops to a WWII beach head that is so important.

the issue i see is that with three changes
it's a new weapon systems changing the
balance of sea power; and the role of the
Marines in it.

1 – retrofit our 'in storage nukes' to be
micro power plants and power the EFV
with them for essentially unlimited range.
2 – seal the EFV so that it can achieve a modest
underwater cruise depth of say 50 meters.
3 – design water tight missle launch tubes
and put 2 of them on each EFV. in this case
i'd second guess the strategists and
suggest these tubes be ship to ship extended
range types. even hypersonic ones.

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Sgt. Wade June 14, 2010 at 4:30 pm

I wonder what Gates would have done as SecNav in the 1930's when the Marines were developing Amphibious Warfare and the weird Alligator?

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Robert A. Fritts June 15, 2010 at 12:52 am

The Marines need a Superior IFV family not a miss-match of equipment they now have. Quite frankly the Army has the right Idea, but the Stryker is a very expensive and only adequate in performance. While on my last rotation to Afghanistan my Stryker Scout platoon was paired up with Polish Mech Infantry with their Patria Rosomak(Wolverine) 8×8 IFV. How does a similar vehicle that is SUPERIOR in every important aspect Protection( i saw one hit by a RPG-9 @ 250meter detonated-no penetration), mobility, Fire power(30mm,40mm and 2x120mm AMOS motar), crew comfort and ease of operation cost 1/3 of the price of the Stryker. While crossing a river we looked for a fiord point. The Poles just plunged in to find a low spot for us to cross.

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Robert A. Fritts June 15, 2010 at 12:57 am

The Rosomak is fully amphibious and can attain 35Kph in water once the mechanics give them a tweaking. Polish Naval Infantry drive them right off the back of their ships. It is also tranpsportable in C-130 and CH-53E which Stryker is not. The most expensive version, 2x120mmAMOS motar cost about the same as a plain LAV25, so Just do not let an American Defense Contractor get involved. It will be too heavy, too tall, too slow, be 15 years late and cost 20 million a piece and still will not swim. Oh! Sorry! thats my Stryker.

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Robert A. Fritts June 15, 2010 at 1:03 am

In reality it will do nothing as the USMC needs to specialize and change into a actual Commando brigade with the capabilities of 3 Commando Royal Marines. 1-2 of such Brigades with 3 Battalions a piece is what the USMC will be left with soon . Armor needs to be in the Army as well as most Combat Aviation( my experience is that USAF, NAVAIR and MARAIR do not real want to fight wars, theyjust want to fly jets around looking pretty). Its time to realize that in the future our defence budget will be set by our Creditors. If India called on all US notes currently due we would be bankrupt, and we owe Chine 8 times more than India. We wanted to sell them the Kittyhawk, They could ask for the USS Truman and get it. Sorry USMC its time to change!

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Bob June 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm

I could not agree with you more. The fact ism, he was elected by a large majority, and unfortuntely under our system, idiots, uninformed, homeless and illegal alians all get to vote and their vote counts, some of their votes count more than once.

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Clement June 10, 2010 at 1:18 am

I'm sorry Bruce, I couldn't disagree with you more. I voted for Obama, so I may be a little biased here, but some of your claims just aren't true. More taxes? Obama has lowered taxes for 95% of Americans, that's a fact, please don't swallow up that tea party ********. As for bigger government, the trend towards a larger federal government began decades before this current Presidency, and even conservative icons such as Reagan and both Bushes are guilty of expanding the bureacracy. The difference is liberals view government as a solution to many problems, and thus are in favor are expanding it, and conservatives claim to be against big government but have a track record of expanding it anyway, often in the name of national defense or national security. As for the military budget, my personal opinion is that either way the military needs to be careful about what weapons systems it spends its money on. I'm ambivalent about the EFV, but it's clear that the F-22 has no clear utility on the battlefields we're currently fighting on, seeing as their sensitive electronics are immediately swamped by GIs rolling around with RC toy cars trying to detonate IEDs. the SecDef did the right thing in axing the F-22 imo, going against Congress, who, let's face it, wanted the F-22 production to continue because it would bring jobs to their districts. just my 2 cents.

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IronV June 12, 2010 at 1:20 am

Bruce. I'm sorry that not agreeing with your monopoly on The Truth makes me less intelligent than you. No one is more responsible for the election of Obama than the Bush administration that preceded it. Across every major functional area of government: fiscal, environmental, defense, law enforcement and education the Bush administration was an unmitigated disaster. A product of ideology rather than calculus and and common sense.

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 12:06 am

sorry about the type o's I did'nt prove read what I wrote;-P

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Lane June 10, 2010 at 2:10 am

What everyone fails to realize (and maybe not everyone) is that the Marines have constantly been up against the wall regarding amphib assault. People not to stop saying "well back in WWII it worked…etc etc." Right before WWII the Marines one of the most troublesome times of their history. EVERYONE was calling for them to disband and mold into the Army, and we're not talking the 1910's and 1920's, im talking about 1937-1938. It was WWII that made everyone realize the neccessity of having the "OPTION" of an amphib assault. Anyway that you disect it there is going to be a lot of casualties in an amphibious landing. But we also have a higher volume of special forces now as well as precision munitions. Plus I'm not sure if everyone knows this but by the book we should be prepared to take 70% casualties in Urban assaults and thats not happening.. Anyway the point is the option of having that capability greatly overcomes the option of not having it. Now do I think we can afford the EFV, I just dont know, but it's that or face a possible technological enemy with 30+ yrs old AAVs.. and if you've spoken to an AAV crewman lately you would know the answer to that. Thanks.

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Lane June 10, 2010 at 2:40 am

Dean you bring up good points. Also, the EFV is made to be much more then just a landing force, The purpose behind is to take the beach head and move inland a few hundred miles. For example what we did in Iraq. The problem is AAVs, especially after the Iraq war, cannot handle that burden. Its the oldest concept, if your on the enemies heels you dont give up chase, The ability to be able to protrude into a country a few hundered miles until you hit organized resistance is remarkable to say the least. And eventually, maybe not now or in 10-20 yrs, but eventually we will need that capability.

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Rick W June 15, 2010 at 12:19 am

Simplistic? Let's try this:

The EFV was designed to operate from a ship 20 miles off shore. Tens of billions of dollars and a decade later it has not achieved the mechanical reliability to be able to perform this mission. That's my first problem with the EFV. In the meantime, the Navy now thinks that against a well armed enemy they will have to operate 75-100 miles out. The EFV has insufficent range to swim a 75 mile combat mission. Even if the Navy should move in closer than they consider safe to launch the invasion, a return will trip be imposssible. Literally every mission will be a one way trip. It will also be a four hour ride in a vehicle that only averages five hours between major break downs. Odds are that almost half of the EFV's will be floating dead in the water before they even reach the beach. The rest will be almost out of gas when they hit the shore.

Of course if the enemy is not that well armed, then the Navy can be much closer to shore and most of these problems go away. But then you could use a vehicle without the EFV's problem causing tech, couldn't you?

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J Weich June 10, 2010 at 9:21 am

Why is it that the ones that call others ignorant and uninformed are always the ones that can't spell?

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Donnell June 10, 2010 at 4:43 pm

Man you got to be Crazy to even believe that. You must be a Marine because you preaching the corps propaganda. Learn military history and by the way, the British Royal Marines have always been rank better than any other countrys marines.FACT

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Moose June 10, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Noticed that too, eh?

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