The Future of the Marine Corps; They’ve Fought This Battle Before

The Marines are in the news today battling (Barbary) pirates, good on ‘em; talk about getting back to their roots. As I read the news reports, and this post at Tom Rick’s blog on the future of the Marine Corps, I recalled a recent conversation with some department of the Navy types who expressed just how bad the relationship is between the sea services. Like most troubled relationships, the soured feelings revolve around money, or the lack thereof.

The Marines want to maintain a robust amphibious assault, enough to lift two Marine Expeditionary Brigades, and get them ashore via their Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) armored amphibian. The Navy wants capital ships and intends to cut maritime prepositioning force ships, possibly amphibs and the EFV. A real battle is brewing and it’s bound to get ugly as budget realities sink in.

The long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have turned the Marines into a much smaller and more poorly equipped version of the Army. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has made it clear he thinks the U.S. has too much amphibious assault insurance. Few defense watchers believe Marine numbers won’t come down in the near future; the question is will they go lower than the pre-2007 175,000 level.

Given all that, it was a bit amusing to hear Undersecretary of the Navy Bob Work declare at a forum at CSIS recently that “the future of the Marine Corps is bright.” One thing the Marines have going for them is they’ve been here before. As Ronald Spector writes in, Eagle Against the Sun, the Marines emerged from World War I with tremendous prestige, yet the budget knives were sharp in the economically depressed 1920s and early 1930s.

“At the end of the 1920s, a secret study by the army staff suggested that the army could well assume most of the Marine Corps functions. The chief of naval operations reportedly concurred in this idea, “recognizing that by shifting the Marines [to the Army], the Navy could save money.”

The Hoover administration, always interested in saving money, also greeted the plan with enthusiasm. Between 1929 and 1933, Hoover imposed a 24.4 percent manpower cut on the Marine Corps, as compared to 5.6 percent for the navy and none for the army.”

How did the Marines respond to attacks from the Hoover administration, and the army?

“[W]ith an impressive public relations campaign. Retired army and Marine Corps generals were mobilized to “speak for the Corps,” and influential Congressmen like Carl Vinson, Melvin J. Maas, and Fiorello La Guardia threw their weight behind restoring the cuts. In a showdown vote, the House Appropriations Committee voted down Hoover’s proposed cuts and held the strength of the corps at a little over 15,000 men. The corps had been “saved” – but all concerned realized that it had been a close call.”

The Marines have already embarked on a public relations campaign to sell themselves and are reaching out to influential pundits and making the rounds at Washington, DC think tanks. Yet, as Spector wrote, Marine leaders back in the 1920s knew a PR campaign would only get them so far. The corps needed a new mission; so began the Marine’s specialization in amphibious warfare.

Outgoing commandant Gen. James Conway has said the Marines must get back to their expeditionary and amphibious roots. Is that enough? Do the Marines need a new mission to win in the coming budget battles? If so, what?

— Greg Grant

104 Comments on "The Future of the Marine Corps; They’ve Fought This Battle Before"

  1. I was in the Marine Corps for 6 yrs and had to transfer to the Army because the Marines just aren't given the proper funding for things such as adequate training on the fire ranges or jump school. The Marine Corps could easily be airborne qualified if they were just given the opportunity to go. Only Marine Recon gets to go to jump school.

    I will miss the uniform, camaraderie, and trust in my Marines but greater opportunities are provided in a more well funded Army.

  2. First To Fight and First To Die- especially if they can't get the eqpt. they need to fight.The Marines are the branch of the service that is feared most-when the ememy knows they are coming they know they're in trouble.They should have the best weapons and most support of any branch of the service

  3. agree with bulldog. they are feared the most by the enemy and always have been. they are more efficient and have better traditions and uniforms and standards but we could get by without them honestly. i would hate to see them integrated or dissolved but if they would just be transferred to the army and still have the same mission as an amphibious force it would be better than nothing

  4. I am an Active Duty Marine and this is somewhat of a spit in the face. Honestly, I would rather get out of the military then transition into the Army.

  5. The USMC isn't going anywhere, that just isn't political reality to even discuss it. I think letting them do what they do best, forward deployed expeditionary capacity for short term campaigns, and pairing down the missions they have taken on to supplement the Army is what's best for them. They do need to go on a weight and numbers diet. Roll the savings into updating their gear and USN ship building. What is that magic number for them? Beats me, but it would be less than now. Accepting the whole massed BDEs storming ashore under fire is a thing of the past would be a good step in determining that number though.

  6. Not military, but a supplier of specialized equipment to the Marine Corps and others.

    The Marines need to get real and ditch the EFV. That water hog is just as unrealistic as the Army's FCS and their Crusader ( both 60T and 40T versions ) before that. it is realism that will prevail in the next decades regardless of administration, and romantic ideas about missions and the hardware to achieve them are destined for the trash can.

    Also, to Mr. Chops…I do hope that you are making that statement about the USMC entitled to the "best equipment and best support of all the services". Wow….talk about a spit in the eye of your fellow combatants ! Sounds like you are saying that your life is worth more than theirs ?

    Shame on you !

  7. The United States need a force that can go anywhere and do whatever is needed. An army that does yoga instead of pushups will never be capable of this. This is why there will always be a nned for the Marine Corps

  8. My strategy using US military is to use marines to lead, army to hold foot after marines conducted forward battle. Navy and Air Force can provide supports, so be it the logistics or CAS.

    Marines go in first, Army provide armors and artillery battery, and Army's push from behind can guaranteed Marines operation succeed. Gulf War 2, there was serious competition between army and marines, we didnt need that.

    My view on marines is that they're US sword and Army's US shield. do u understand what i'm talking about?

  9. WOW! First of all for the few soldiers, retired or active, who think that it is alright to bash either the Army or the Marines, shame on you. Friendly rivalries between the branches is fine but to say that the Army is not capable is ridiculous. I am a former Army Ranger and now a member of the National Guard enroute to becoming an officer and I bet I am in as good, if not, better shape than a majority of the individuals doing the bashing in this comment thread. So it is a slap in the face to the "brotherhood of soldiers" when people say that either the Army or the Marines are not capable or needed. We are all in this together so people should grow up and support all branches of the military, because one day we might just save you a**. Rangers Lead The Way!

  10. I always find it sad that the most efficient, best disciplined, most hard charging military service is always the one having to justify its existence/strength requirements.

    No – I am not a Marine, but I've worked with them a lot.

  11. This Army vet say Oh-Rah… (oh whatever they do instead of HOOAH!)

    The Marines know what they are about and that is fighting. They have stayed focused on being good at what they do and to the annoyance of the rest of the world they like to remind us, constantly.

    Yes they are the Army's retarded little brother, scorned by their upper class cousin the Air Force and sent off to live with their gay uncle the Navy. They talk funny, dress funny and do know that a wall is not a "blukhead" and that the toilet is in a "latrine" not a "head."

    But they excell at causing the deaths of enemies of the United States.

    And we love them for it.

  12. Army-Navy- Air Force-Marines–The people in uniform defending the United States against All enemies.God Bless em and support them, no matter what branch of the service they're in.

  13. The Marines haven't done a good job selling the role of an amphibious force, and lean too much on their "we are proud marines" and their history as a ground-pounder fighting force. To be honest, the only "real" amphibious actions conducted by the Marines were WW2, and landing at Da Nang and serving as a "force in being" in Kuwait. In that time, the Airborne did WW2, Vietnam, Granada, Panama and GW1. In all likelihood they have done jumps since then.

    I suspect many Marines could be turned into Reserve units with enhanced training schedules as opposed to being full-time Marines. This does not obviate the need to procure proper equipment, but when are we going to put 50k troops on the beach again? You may say "of course not, Marines are more than that"…but what is a Marine that a soldier isn't? Marines have been trying to sell themselves as a "second army" that complements the Army, but when budget cutters come in for the kill using that argument to suggest Marines are redundant, they fall back on their amphibious capability. So…you're a second army with amphibious or strike-from-ships-offshore capability?

    If the Airborne was spun off onto its own branch, they would probably do what the Marine Corps does, play up its own history and its role in our nations role, and demand a large piece of the pie while insisting it is more than Airborne, yet can do things tanks cannot. However, they are shoehorned into the Army (and have suffered for it, but thats another story…)

  14. Byron Skinner | September 9, 2010 at 6:49 pm |

    Good Evening Folks,

    Right now with a war in Afghanistan nobody is making any decisions about the future of the Marines. In fact it is assumed that the current two,three and four star will be long gone when it come time to do something. On a recent trip to DC I didn't hear anybody think that either Iraq or Afghanistan would be resolved before 2020 and that there is a likely hood that a third "small terrorist" war will pop up before then.

    Sec. Gates tossed out the assignment to the Corps to tell him what they can do and do better then anybody else and he excluded the amphibious role and the being "Army Lite". The Marines are starting to respond, see the story about the Force Recon Platoon of 15th. MEU working off the USS Dubuque (LPD-8).

    The Marines have made some poor procurement choices over the past 30 years and it's coming back to bite the in the six. Terminating the MV-22 contract which hasn't proved it worth, and not buying the EFV will help out a lot with the money problem.

    The problems are of course money, the Marines are expensive and the Navy wants more ships and planes, we are now, in at best, a zero sum environment with funding.

    Does the Navy want to support a 31-35 ship Marine Amphibious capacity and a 175,000 Marines, or have two additional carriers and 130 more planes and have a Naval Infantry force of about 75,000 and have 15-20 Amphibious Warfare Ships, which would still be the largest Naval Infantry/Marines in the word by better then a factor of two. This is only a single example of what the DoD is facing.

    These are the hard choices for hard time that the DoD is going to have to make.


    Byron Skinner

  15. Colby McCormick | September 9, 2010 at 8:06 pm |

    M167a1- I am a Marine, and even I fight that the funniest and most correct statement concerning our "relationship" with each other. Semper Fi brothers and sisters.

  16. army are a buch of winers

  17. Retired serviceman | September 9, 2010 at 8:41 pm |

    rrr are you drunk or are you Corp educated? The Army doesn't toot it's own horn it just gets the job done.

  18. Wow, you think the results the marines produce are guarantee enough.
    They fight with less gadgets for compared to the army, they fight harder, and they are almost always are leading the fight.

    Its funny, a friend of mine who is in an Army says the Marines fight as well as themselves and they think themselves better than the US Army.

  19. Everybody is bent on pride for their branch when the whole premise of these issues is the toll a 10 year war is taking on the US and it's financials and ways to scale back to help keep supporting all troops abroad and at home. You would think the combination of two services FY budgets would help to support all troops in a better way when it comes to equipment ideas/testing/procurement for an all around better support system. Me being in the CG maybe I have a seperate view point, if we were absolved into the Navy for similiar reasons, it could be beneficial to us and our Mission (if we were to still act on our own mission premise) by supplying funds to a cash strapped service whose strap is only getting tighter.

  20. St6eve Bailey | September 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm |

    the Marines are only the tip of the spear if and when they are coming off a ship. Other then that it's the Army that goes first and usually Spec Forces, then Airborne and/or Rangers.

    That's still a capability that's needed, but the question is how big a force. One huge problem the Marines have currently is they've been trying to do it all and everywhere. One of the biggest budget items is the Marine air force and one has to wonder if they can afford to maintain a separate set of planes and functions that are replicated by the existing USAF and USN aviation assets.

    Now EVERY supporter of the USMC is going to go off on me for proposing the elimination of the sacred USMC Air component of the Air/Land combined arms team. But in today's day and age of precision weapons delivery, which right now the USAF is a lot better at, and the USN is as good at the Marines, so why are we maintaining an air component force that's totally redundant. Roll the damned planes into the air force and navy and go buy as many EFV's as you need.

    Find the core mission again, which is attack from the sea, not the air as well.


  21. Retired serviceman | September 9, 2010 at 8:59 pm |

    who's whining now?

  22. Cut the Marine Corps and bleed the nation of its most precious asset. Since the founding of our nation we are and have always been of a great variety and mix. The Marine Corps represents the United States from how they fight, how they should act, and the what character should look like both on and off the battlefield. If you mix the Marine Corps in with the Army then you are doing a disservice to the American populace who “don’t need a Marine Corps” they “want a Marine Corps (Gen. Krulak).”

  23. Jimmy Morris | September 9, 2010 at 9:08 pm |

    When the crap hits the fan and the next President needs to get a tough job done the first question he asks is where are the carriers and how many marines do we have?If you cut defense spending start with all those high dollar Air Force planes and
    put the money where the action is. Go Navy and take the Marines with you.

  24. When all the cameras and flag waving is over, it's the Army yhat carries on the fight. By the way I agree with you on the girly boys in blue.

  25. The marines are just a hollow version of the army inflated by the hot air of incessant PR. Without a mission they concentrate on being a Hollywood version of the army that ironically attracts the sorts of people that need help in their life.

    It's not a coincidence that if get rid of it and you get rid of a lot of the useless equipment programs – VSTOL F35, Osprey, EFV etc etc.

  26. spend just 6 months with marines and you will understand this, wherever it came from: the marines started telling everyone about how great they were, pretty soon started believing it themselves, and ever since have set out to prove it.
    i've done army and marine training. you should see the differences just with the conventional grunts – marines are more efficient, hold each other to higher standards, and have more discipline.
    i have a friend who immigrated from central africa when he was young. he became a marine because they were the "wild-eyed tattooed freaks" that the rebels wouldn't eff around with – the only domestic or international force the rebels avoided.

  27. chops and bulldog and the rest you might want to get some facts. The SEALS lead the way and the enemy fears them the most when it comes to marine actions. The Marines are a leg of the Navy and always will be. They will get back to their roots soon enough there are more wars coming.

  28. ^^^Who say's that can't happen with an integrated force?

  29. We prefer in the rear with the gear, and it's not our fault no one wants to get in a good old naval battle with a CVBG.

    As a Navy man myself, I'd rather see money being poured into this fellow
    Rather than, old hat, building new ships, ship defense upgrades against rockets is smarter; they are cheap bangs for your buck when it comes to taking down billion dollar investments in Naval hardware.

    Upgrade our phalanx systems and give more to the amphibians.

  30. My opinion on the matter: We can't afford the Marine Corps AND the Army, and something's got to give.

    Both the Army and the Marines are very good at their jobs, I don't think anyone will ever doubt that, but I have trouble understanding why we need two organizations that fulfill virtually identical roles and have such a large overlap in capability. True, each one has their nuances (the Army is more focused on overwhelming force, while the Marines are more about maneuver), but are the nuances really that important and different that a new more efficient organization could not be determined?

    I would advocate moving the Marines to the Army, but not before reorganizing the Army and replacing a large chunk of its general staff with Marines. I would probably split off its fixed wing assets to the Air Force/Navy.

    Failing that, give 'em all to the Air Force. We could use some real warriors to knock some sense into us, and in exchange we'll take 'em to space!

    Not that it matters… since it sounds like the entire DoD will probably end up being reorganized into a single branch which has separate air, sea, and land arms.

  31. A soldier is a soldier. They might receive special training to fight a certain way (urban, mountain, airborne, jungle, machine gunner, hostage rescue, sniper, ect) but they are still basically a soldier. Since 'special forces' have missions that the regular military doesn't have I think the amphibious assault mission should be rolled under the special forces command. Have the army supply the soldiers, navy supply the amphibious assault ships, and the air force/navy supply air support. The 3 branches work together in similar fashions for other type of special missions so why not with amphibious assault?

  32. The Marines will always be the ones to call when we need to fight the small wars. Let the Army keep their tanks, the Marines will have their rifles.

  33. Give up the Marine Corp and you might as well give up the nation. It is more than just the marines as a fighting force, it is about their legacy and what they represent.

    The Marines should continue to work on being a lighter force that can rapidly deploy from the sea. In a more conventional conflict, they along with Army airborne units must be capable of fighting the enemy until the Army can bring in their heavy armor.

  34. All these suggestions of roll one into another make me shudder. Why even spend the money? The USMC needs to shrink and focus on what the Army doesn't do. That's their mission. Forward deployed mobile fighting forces on floats already in critical regions. That's their gig. No need to transfer things around, but the Marines do need a diet, and get over the notion of beach landings in the Pacific.

  35. The Marines can be absorbed by the US Army and the US Navy will save money to spend on ship building. This works provided there are no suprises (like Pearl Harbor) in the equation.
    I am a US Navy veteran and I can tell you from first hand experience that the US Marines take their jobs very serious. They consider themselves an elite fighting force and they don't seem to care where in the world that may happen to be. WikiLeaks seems to have exposed some lackluster esprit de corp in teh US Army as of late.

  36. As an Army officer, I say that the US defense formula needs to maintain a vibrant and diverse ass-kicking capability. The US Marines are the MASTERS of amphibious warfare. Why are we even discussing downsizing or eliminating one of our most capable warrior units? The thought of a diminished US Marine force is criminal on the part of the political class.

  37. Politians do a great job at creating conflict everytime they get involved. Rich vs poor, black vs white, union vs non-union, gay vs straight, man vs woman, and the list goes on. Now its Marines vs Army. They pick the winners and losers.
    Both the Army and Marines should be strong and eliminating the Marines should not even be thought of. The government does need to cut spending. They should look elswhere instead of our national security.

  38. The Navy has been taking over MC duties since they started the seals in 1962 doing what Marines were already doing and are on the same mission now

  39. Sheldon Nadler | September 10, 2010 at 11:24 am |

    The United Staes land locked the Marines in Vietnam and we kicked some serious ass. The Marines are a mobile force that should be used in that capacity whether it is on the land, sea, or air. We are the first to fight and usually the first to die. The Marines have always been a sea going outfit and NOT garrison troops. Let them do their job and get rid of the GOVERNMENT dead wood.

  40. The Marines are a department of the Navy, the Men's Department. Ha!

    "Take me to the Brig. I want to see the real Marines." Chesty Puller

  41. I need some help here. Step one in any amphibious invasion is that you must first have air superiority, right? So, if you have air superiority, then why would you choose an amphibious invasion of a defended beach instead of an air assault? With an air assault I understand that you can only land light forces, but with fire support from their air forces, they should be able to fight back to the beach and clear the way for the slow transports to bring ashore the heavy stuff.

    Seriously, I’d like to hear your comments.

  42. Robert A Schwehr | September 10, 2010 at 12:42 pm |

    Unbelievable that this is even being thought of never mind even being seriously considered.What is the meaning of the words "enemies foreign and Domestic".You think some trial balloons are launched during wartime by people inamicable to our country?Hope this trial baloon is deflated,sounds like someday maybe even by an RPA or UAS could assist somewhere in this difficult and recurring WARTIME problem—–former ANG member,Grateful as hell for the Marine Corps.USCG combat veteran —US ARMY officer still serving.

  43. To pvtrick who said "the navy and air forse are just delivery agents at best", you may want to check and see how many In Lieu Of (ILO) taskings with the Army are being filled by the Air Force. The Army doesn't have enough people to fill the billets, so they are tasking the other branches to help. Many of my friends in the Air Force have been running convoy ops for years now. Does this sound like "delivery service". Also, "delivery service"? When was the last time you heard of FedEx, DHL, or UPS providing close air support for the ground pounders?
    A s far as the USMC goes, I support everything they do and do so well. My saying for them is that it takes a special kind of a person to be a Marine, and I am damn proud there are people like them to do the job.
    20+ USAF

  44. Marines are the toughest infantrymen on the planet. Just ask them they will tell you.
    All joking aside, still no one has been able to argue that there is: 1. a multi-billion dollar a year need for a non-raiding amphibious capability, 2. A lack of existing capability in forced entry operations capability as represented by rangers or conventional airborne, 3. The need for a third fixed wing and fourth rotary wing (and potentially a third or fourth armed UAV) arm…emotional arguments are not arguments at all unless you simply want to guilt or shame the other party into thinking your way. They have no business in fiscal decisions or discussions of military capabilities.

  45. Robert A Schwehr | September 10, 2010 at 1:09 pm |

    Unbelievable that this is even being seriously considered!The United States Marine Corps is the most I repeat" the most elite military force in our nation`s arsenal".This comment comes from a former member of the USCG,USN,ANG and a still serving combat veteran now a tour of duty with the regular ARMY .Many ARMY combat veterans would never seriously denigrate the Marine Corps,inter- service rivalry not with standing. Some of us owe our lives to the Corps,the Nation owes an immense debt to the United States Marine Corps,if you don`t believe that visit a VA hospital!

  46. The Marine Corps should be switched from the Dept of the Navy to the Dept of the Army and into the Army. This is not to say one the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps are just a speciality in fighting force, just as the Army has it's specialty: the Airborne Corps.

    The Marine Corps should be integrated into the Army as a special corps: Like there is the Airborne Corps, there could be the Marine Corps. Of course, the Marine Corps would have to adhere to Army standards but it's the best route for putting proper use of ground forces. Just like the Airborne doesn't always parachute in, the Marines don't have to always come in amphibiously. (This allows them to maintain their "Few, Proud" motto stuff while being used more efficiently under a unified command).

    This is coming from a U.S. Army Soldier.

  47. The Corps is what you send when you need real War-Fighters. Not some place where women Drill Sargents are training men for combat and not having been there themself.

  48. Sgt. Gaynerd, USMC | September 10, 2010 at 2:52 pm |

    Enough words, if any branches of the U.S. military weren't entirely staffed by glorified Boy Scouts, they would settle this dispute in open internecine warfare.

  49. The Army can't be everywhere in the world and the Air Force can't alaways get them there, however when you got a fleet pre-positioned and augmented with a MEF or detachment there-of, you've got both the air and land element in place in the event there needed until the Air Force and Army can mobilize in the event they're needed(Conventional deterrant and 1st strike capability) in any potential conflict in the world.
    Integrating or elimainating the USMC is "nuts". That would be like transfering the Airborne ops. of the Army to the USAF. The Marines are the limited sea,air and land based fighting force that is mobile enough(thanks to the Navy and Air Force) to fight at the drop of a hat.
    The Marines have alaways had to do more with less and this will probably never change. Besides ask how many of the current Soldiers in the Army & Airmen in the Air Force would be willing to sit on a ship months at a time and take part in the inter-service rivalry that the Navy/Marines continuously trade licks over. Besides, the last time the Army was on a ship in force, was crossing the English Channel. ??? OK soldier grab your sea bag. ???

  50. Quick, name the last time the marines forced their way ashore in an amphibious landing. As Sec. of Defense Gates said, if the US cannot defend itself with a trillion dollar military, outspending all nations combined, we don't deserve to be protected. At some point, throwing dollars at the pentagon weakens the very nation they are supposed to defend. The most highly decorated marine in corps history, Gen. Smedley Butler, said it best. "war is a racket, and it benefits the few at the expense of the many."

  51. If it wasn't for the USMC the navy would not be needed. Anything the navy can do the airforce and army can do with out all the money out lay. Sorry navy but your job is to get Marines to places where they can kill people. PPS sure helped the Army in the first months of D/S and D/S. No I'm not stuttering. Go ahead and pull the Marines out of Iraqu and AF and see what happens. It seems like this has happened many times before, I don't think it can really happen, if my ole memory serves me right. Get rid of the Corps and you better learn a new language and different money.
    I'd rather have my sister a whore house than belong to another service.
    Semper Fi

  52. Airborne this and airborne that, but the reality remains that you already have Navy/Marine Corps fleet located off some coast, anywhere at any time with full air and armor support. The Army needs extra time to put all those assets on site. Sure, airborne can be there, but how long until their support arrives?
    BTW, isn't the Army about to or has it already got rid of Bayonet and knife training because the feel they don't need it anymore? My point here is the Army's mindset towards conventional combat training is way different from the Marine Corps mindset. This is what makes the Marine Corps a better fighting force, they never forget the fundamentals of fighting and don't rely heavily on modern day electronics to their job.
    As for who fights first, The President has the abilities to utilize the Marines for 30 days before declaring an official war, which makes the Marine Corps Combined Arms a pretty lethal deterrent and especially because they are already floating somewhere off the coastline. Special forces units do go in but are used to gather information and call in strategic air strikes. But once the gloves come off, the Marines are there with ALL support elements in tact and fighting. That's what they mean by first to fight!

  53. Water and Army. I don't think it makes grammatical sense to put those words together besides to say that…you cant put those words together.

  54. Agreed. I see no reason to not keep the Marines as semi-autonomous within the Army, let them keep their uniforms, their traditions and their pride… but make 'em part of the army. It would be kinda like Army spec ops…. but instead of berets, it would just be a completely different uniform.

  55. I think they need to incorporate the MV-22 into all branches of service and begin replacing helicopters where this faster alternative would provide benefits. The EFV is a unique craft and I think that's probably the only thing that defines the marines these days, but it would be so easy to defeat with shore cannons, it's the culmination of almost a century of brooding over our inadequacies during the invasion of normandy. If I were planning a war the hovercrafts loaded up with bradleys would make more sense. Transform the EFV into a coastal patrol vehicle and assign it to the coast guard in limited numbers.

  56. If they eliminate the Marines, then who will guard the streets in heaven?

  57. Now that most of you have sized each others testicles up, I can clear the air. Each branch serves its intended purpose and maybe more. Airforce, you do a good job at air superiority and transport. Navy, you do the samething but in and on the ocean. Army, you do have the Rangers and Green Berets, but you do make a better occupational "prolonged war" force, then a quick reaction. As a former Marine, I might be a little bias. However, the Marines have their own C-130s, fighters, rotary wings, amphibs, tanks, light armor. Granted we might need some docs, C-5s, and a ship or two but we can get it done overnight.

  58. I was with the 24Mau in Beirut Lebanon, the Marines are the best fighting force in the world, if you need money take it from the boys in blue (Air Force)..I'm retired Navy

  59. The USMC.
    First to Fight.
    Last to Leave.
    Semper Fi!

  60. Roger that Marine. I was in the Navy submarine service during the Cold War, served in the National Guard briefly after that. Finally, at the age of 49, I served as a DoD civilian specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalions, Marine Logistics Group, I MEF throughout Al-Anbar, Iraq prior to, and during the surge. So, I have some good cross-sectional experience throughout my life of the services in war and in relative peace. The Marines hold themselves to a high standard. Nobody holds them to that standard higher than themselves. Notable, every Marine from the Marine commandant to every newly minted Marine private knows who they are and what their mission is. Meanwhile, the Navy is a two tiered service; the "Blue Water Navy," of which I was once a part, sees maritime warfare as a brief but epic battle with one or more Blue Water maritime enemies of similar capability. They see war on the high seas fought devastatingly fast and deadly with a clear winner emerging within days or even hours after the shooting starts. [See Part 2 …]

  61. Part 2: Totally contrary to the “Doomsday Scenario,” the "Total Force Navy" also sees a "global dynamic" in maritime warfare which includes an amphibious warfare fleet and the Marine MEUs and more comprehensive MEFs as the spear that plunges deep into the heart of the enemy. Meanwhile Navy carrier task forces would provide continuous air support until Navy and Marine air, medical and logistics assets afloat get established ashore in support of the shooters already engaged. All of that can be done faster than moving the Army’s mechanized infantry and armored divisions with their round-out and air brigade components via the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and the Air Force’s Air Mobility Command over a period of many weeks. Finally, the problem here does not originate with the Army or the Air Force. The problem is that of “some” thinkers in the Navy that have yet to decide what kind of maritime force they want the Navy to be. They have to decide if they want to just be that “Blue Water Doomsday Force,” or a comprehensive “Total Force Navy.” I hope that the latter decision wins out.

  62. Part 1: Roger that Marine. I was in the Navy submarine service during the Cold War, served in the National Guard briefly after that. Finally, at the age of 49, I served as a DoD civilian specialist assigned to Combat Logistics Battalions, Marine Logistics Group, I MEF throughout Al-Anbar, Iraq prior to, and during the surge. So, I have some good cross-sectional experience throughout my life of the services in war and in relative peace. The Marines hold themselves to a high standard. Nobody holds them to that standard higher than themselves. Notable, every Marine from the Marine commandant to every newly minted Marine private knows who they are and what their mission is. Meanwhile, the Navy is a two tiered service; the "Blue Water Navy," of which I was once a part, sees maritime warfare as a brief but epic battle with one or more Blue Water maritime enemies of similar capability. They see war on the high seas fought devastatingly fast and deadly with a clear winner emerging within days or even hours after the shooting starts.

  63. We are not a legacy in our own minds. We have proven it over 235 years of our history serving this nation and its people. I do not expect you to stand in "awe" of our accomplishments. Yes, their are the so called "dirt-bags and terds" of every service. Hell, I believe that only half of the Marines I have served with and trained should be a Marine, but that doesn't negate the fact that we have a true warrior-like culture that constantly strives for perfection in every aspect of our lives.

  64. I respect the other services greatly, but let me leave you with these questions: 1) Who has the only segregated gender training in the United States for boot camp? 2) Who has every one of their service members regardless if they are infantry-bound or not, complete infantry training after boot camp and before their military occupation schools? 3) Who has more tact and discipline? ANSWER- The United States Marine Corps! The Army is an excellent service, but I have also served with them and I've researched from primary sources, their lower standards in moral, physical and mental qualities needed in order to become a army of one. You have to lower standards to have over a million man army, compared to a more unique, smaller force of 241,000 active and reserve Marines. That is all.

  65. i might be a future marine so i think that the budget war onhand is crazy. yes it is a huge deal but congress needs to step up, take the blame, and think of a way to help our guys. like lincoln said that a house divided against itself will not stand. and that the men who give their lives for us should never die in vain.

  66. lets see, every time the army has got there asses handed to them the marines tend to pull them out. as for the army airborne rangers, ya you can land in any combat zone of your choosing. but like the 10Th mountain divison in afghanistan, if ya’ll didn’t have those marines to push the line your asses wouldn’t last to much longer waiting on the regular army. besides take a good look fellow soldiers, thous aren’t army pucks guarding those embassies. but hey the budget we receive comes mainly from the navy (thats no lie) so with all the tech the army maintains, we do it with less and get it done regardless the situation. cause we all now the navy spends their money on ships more than personal. so for the ranger i’m glad we got you to pull the slack for the rest of the army, but when ya’ll can get the rest of the ******* army to pull their weight, then you may have a reason to commit on this situation.

  67. "The Hoover administration, always interested in saving money,"

    Hoover administration had deficits. Hoover was far, far from being a pro free market.

  68. With over 22 MILLION military Veterans in this nation, MANY of which are Marines… Just call us ALL up and see whose ass hits the deck first. Semper Fidelis!

  69. In this day and age of terror, we will need ALL our resources…not cut them up.

    Just because the amphibious part of a campaign is not needed DOES NOT mean it should be eliminated. If it is cut down, shredded, or eliminated, we leave our fighting capability open to impending doom. As a former Marine, I experienced the amphib. prowess of my brethren, and with a little tweaking, can be needed WHEN the time is right. Of course, the time is not now, but situations can and do change over time.

  70. From a military standpoint the marines should have been disbanded decades ago. But there were good economic reasons why it remained. The Marines esoteric one of kind projects were ideal for maximizing stockholder profits and it provided a use full way to employ those that couldn't compete in the real economy.

    But things are changing, while the drain on the economy that useless capabilities cause doesn't seem relevant to those who are already facing burger flipping as an alternative career – it matters to the rich and politically powerful. There are now too many poor and working class to be soaked up and the profit margins are falling rapidly on the defense contracts. The marines look like a bad investment.

    The marines served their purpose during the good times, but those days are over, the whole armed forces is going to be transitioning out of a socialist worker paradise model and a silly call and soaking up too few of the economic losers just isn't going to cut it in a global economy.

  71. If all the BS the Marines tell you is true we wouldn't need any other force! The MEU's seem a rather expensive floating dormatory. I wonder what mode is faster-aircraft or ship? And I for one be in front of any Marine to "hit the deck" if needed. The do more with less is their typical Hollywood mantra!

  72. Interesting comments and replies. All of the branches of the service serve their purpose and do so proudly. As far as I know none of our braches of the service are fighting the war on terror on their own. All are placing their lives in danger for our country and for that I and all Americans should be grateful. What the Marine Corps does well is a lot with little funding and less people. What the Marine Corps does extremely well is deploy in a self supported organization with Infantry, Artillery, Armor and Air assets that continuously train together and support each other so they show up self sustainable. Budget cuts will come and cut backs are bound to happen. The Marine Corps as the smallest of the big three is the logical choice for the cutters to look at. Perhaps another point of view would be how do the Marines do the same with less and how can we apply that to all the branches of service. Thank you again to all of the service members past present and future who put themselves in harms way. It is a shame that people who have not done the same will be deciding their future.

  73. The truth of the matter is more Army Soldiers die in no-combat related mishaps and mor Soldiers have been convicted of war crimes than the Marines. Marines are traditionally placed in the areas of the worst fighting, this is why more die in combat. Fallujah is a good example of this. The 82 Air Born was there a year befor the Marines took control. Somalia, "Black Hawk Down" also comes to mind. Bigger is not neccesarily better. You are also forgetting the fact that the Marine Corps is the only branch of the US military that can go to war without Congressional approval. This is not something to be taken lightly. The facts speak for themselves.

  74. It seems the only reason the Army dudes who want to eliminate the Marines is to get rid of the competition. Jealousy I think. Why isn't there any talk about eliminating the Rangers or Green berets or some other redundant units in the Army.

  75. The Corps has always struck me as a force that does the most with less. They always find a way, and they are underequipped. I was not a Marine, but seems to me they gotta fight to keep thier funding. MAGTF is a real good concept, they carry everything they need. Why leave them hangin in the wind? they WILL find a way, im hoping. Alotta those Marines are gonna ride to battle in helos, a compromise somewhere? Air-Assault just for the Army??

  76. well let see, we've heard from the rangers, airborne, and green berets. anybody hear from the rest of the army? as for budget cuts, why would the marines be the first the government comes to if we don't do more for less. the biggest budgets in the military are the airforce, army and navy. the marines always get the scrapes from the budget, pay checks from the navy and anything deemed outdated from the army. but hey everything that comes out of our mouths is BS(marines). so why is it that a former marine can go to any branch of the service and doesn't have to do their bootcamp, who guard those embassies around the world along with the white house, and without a declaration of war what branch of the military is called on first excluding SF who are always active in remote locations. PR? you can only shot th BS so far before someone figures you out, unless you boys from the army buy everything you hear.

  77. Only the uninformed, or a plain idiot would attempt to belittler the importance of teh Marines as our most EFFECTIVE fighting force. If only the Army would use half of the Marines training expertise, they too would be better off than now? How can they be so effective, and the Army so ineffective, without some Congressional interests?

  78. There are two kinds of people.

    U.S. Marines… and everybody else.

  79. Services will never disappear because everybody knows somebody in the service, so HASC is never going to emasculate any of the branches. Instead, we'll just borrow more money from overseas. This is more of a "defense" thread than a "tech" thread, and the same arguments would pop up if this was posted here or on say, strategypage.

  80. A Woman Marine | September 13, 2010 at 3:12 pm |

    I remember the draw downs the Marines experience in the late 70's and earky 80's, We could not get parts, so we would go to where the Army and Air Force got rid of their equipment and cannablize them to make our equipment work. Some of the Reservists had skills in which they could create a makeshift part that worked. Marines could make do with what they had. What the Marines need to do is to figure out where our next war or world war is going to be and decide how we can shine. I hazard a guess it will be Middle East, Korea, or Asia in general.

  81. Army and Navy wasnt for me
    Air Force was too easy
    I needed a life with a little bit more
    I need a life that is hardcore
    Thats why I joined the fu*k*ng MARINE CORPS!!!


  82. The American People appreciate that. Not a college education, not traveling to see the word on the governments dime, not flying in the "wild blue yonder". Fighting and winning battles is why the USMC is wanted by the American People. Notice I said winning battles and not wars. Winning wars is the responsibility of big army and once they begin to advertise that, then the American people will see the army in a different light. Stop advertising college, and all of that other crap. Tell it like it is. You are there to win America's wars. to kill the enemy…..

  83. ok now the usmc has been around for 230 plua yrs . live them the way .they are just as good as any of the rest of the branchs they have there part to play and do it well .just as the army navy air force so let nots put them down lets help keep them together. o by the way i do like the idea of starting with the top agetting rid if the dead wood at the top ret. ssgt usmc. bulldog70 fred handy

  84. Orly
    Sarcasim must mean that you have never been a soldier, once a Ranger always a Ranger! I am proud to take my leadership skills not only to the National Guard but also to the Officer Corps. It is known throughout the military that a high percentage of enlisted soldiers end up making some of the best officers. I might be wrong about how your reply reads but it sounds like to me that you feel that the National Guard has no right being in the same discussion as their active duty brothers, which would mean that you are wrong. With the National Guard mission growing everyday you could view them as the 5th branch of the military. Try serving before you start bashing!

  85. Instead of cutting the best fighting force in the world because there are to few of them. Maybe you could increase there numbers and budget and make them the largest fighting force? Huh what do you think?? This is called common sense!

  86. You'll run out of MARINES if you keep cutting them, and there will be nothing when you need them most

  87. history repeats itself, then a war happens and the marine corps regains its honor. the corps is the only force the president can send without congressional act. if moved to army that would end. if moved to the army the corps would be like the half the garbage the troops have to modify because some desktop warrior got pushed thru to have theirself immortalized, the army did not want rubber tired combat vehicles, but the marines proved it, the army spent millions of dollars to redesign the m60 machine gun, only to find out, post fact finding that the air force and army could not read the label on CLR bottle to shake prior to use to suspend the teflon. the air force had to have the a10 budgetarily forced on them in 1988 appropriations, army originally operated a10's. army talks up apache, but bought 3 super cobras for each one and apaches originally used comms setup as soviet forces. coms was to rear and not to each other, hence comco on shoulder, air to air comms. you can't fly everywere in the world to drop off paratroopers, there are enough weapons systems to knock out the entire force, airburst nuke. marine corps CAS has wheels on back, air force wants to be as high as needed to get laser guided on target. the USS United States was first super carrier, but congress took money away and put it into b36 air force bomber that never saw significant combat use.the reason that special ops forces work is because they train with the theory the marines live by. going into kuwait and iraq, marine recon units was moving hot and fast along with other special forces units. the marine corps is not a training plan, but an state of mind. on the british marine commandos their training time is because the basic education level is lower, and as an individual shows superior leadership. he is normally offered OCS. their training is not basic knowledge, but they are given all training to manuever around the globe and be fully combat ready. the demise of the corps is the end of this country, sorry for all you army and air force types.

  88. Marines have about 1/2 the manpower of the army.. yet still do yeoman's showmanship and chest beating. Methinks they have no unique mission ie the duplicate of army mission. Look where they be today.

  89. If if the government we all love and support would stop and get it's head out of it own buttocks for two seconds, they would see that there are way too many generals, etc. brass at the top not doing a damn thing to earn their pay. Send these distinguished gentlemen off to retirement already. Let close some of our forward bases in other countries. And for god sakes, let stop funding cold war programs that don't yield any returns.

    Canceling the F-22 Raptor and not the Osprey was one of the dumbest things our government ever did. We should be funding Future Warrior Programs full force for assymetric warfare. Not building bloated, cost overrun carrier battle groups that have no enemy to fight. We can build smaller, faster, deadlier ships and pocket carrier wings. We should be developing more vehicles like the Stryker and less like the M1-A2 Abrams.

  90. Terminal Leave | September 19, 2010 at 9:04 am |

    The US military would be wise to keep the Marine Corps a separate entity. In my experience as a Marine instructing at a joint-service school, I see first hand the different organizational cultures. Broadly speaking, the Marine Corps culture retains its combat characteristics in all settings. On the individual level, the typical Marine's mindset and perspective is totally different than his sailor, soldier, airman peers; there is a certain aggressiveness that the others lack. Although the Marine Corps is probably operationally redundant, I think it would be difficult to find a replacement unit with the same war-fighter qualities.

  91. Yes they adhered to USMC standards in the Invasion of Iraq and fought to a standstill with unorganized resistance, mostly untrained street gangs. This debate is only going on because the USMCs performance in Iraq and Afghanistan(and I recognize many outstanding acts of heroism and performance on many occasions) as a whole has been very poor, bordering on incompetance. You can shout "first to fight" all you want but the bean counters in DC see that the Army is usually first to fight. You see no Congressional or Senate comittees debating the complete reorganization of the Army because of performance. The bottomline is that lack of performance is why the USMC is under scrutiny. I started in the USMC and wish this was not so, but it is fact.

  92. after the revolutionary war the marine corp was disbanded. however by 1780s teh we realized we made a huge mistake and revitalized it. Im sure congress wont make that stupid mistake again for when history repeats itself, its for hte worst and disbanding the marines would go under that category

  93. From M167A1 – Infuratingly in Safwan a POW asked us if we were Marines… He was relieved when someone said no.

    A Iraqi Armor Officer who surrendered after we destroyed his 14 T-72 and 28 BMPs just East of Karbala asked us if we were "US Marines"? When we said no just 3rd ID, US Army, He too was relieved. Then we had to tell him the Marines were bogged down 95 mile South of our location fighting gangs of teenagers and old men from the local Bath parties with AKs, RPGs and Isuzu trucks.

  94. Being that it is I am leaving for Parris Island around the April-May timeframe, I may be a bit biased in saying, the Marines deserve to stay as they are, I think they've earned that right. They were the ones who fought this countries enemies before it was a country, do you think the Continental Army just had mass stores of arms? The Marines raided the Bahamas to get rifles (almost said guns) cannons and cannonballs for the Army to use. In Somalia, while the Marines were stationed there, the warlords were hiding, when the Marines pulled out and the Army came in with its Rangers, 10th Mountain, the Air Force with its PJ's and the Navy with its few seals, what happened? Yes a few Marines did stay behind (read the book Shooter.) Now the Marines have a very distinguished combat rapport, and yes a lot of the major battles, Army units were present. I'm not about to slander any branch, I have friends in almost all of them, I am thankful for all the men and women of every branch of service. This country and its military gave me 18 years of life its about time I repayed that.

  95. @Robert A. Fritts
    Did you mention to the Iraqi Officer that your unit's tanks outclassed his on an immeasurable level? Their tanks lack the shock system or whatever it is that keeps the barrel of the Abrams pointed at the target while going over bumps and hills. Did you also inform him that the Marines were fighting in a city, where collateral damage always looks bad. The Iraqi units may not have surrendered as easily as they did in the first Gulf War, but they did surrender, do these "Gangs of Teenagers and Old men" surrender? Not until the Marines had busted down doors, and level weapons into their faces. Those "Gangs" were being payed by Iraqi military and extremist groups, just to pop a few shots off at the americans.

  96. I dont think people understand the significance of the MAGTF.
    Combat, Logistics, Air all under 1 commander. Its just a great idea.

    All the talk about the Marine Corps needing to find something relevant to do. When a ship shows up off your coast with a battalion of grunts, that changes minds to the scale of political change.

    Average Army grunt is as good as the Average Marine Grunt. Where the difference comes is all the other MOS's. How many Admin or Finance Army officers can coordinate attacks, call for fire, defend in depth, Qualify out to 500m w/ iron sights….its a rabbit hole.

  97. @ Robert Fritts

    I have met your type, the “started out in the Marine Corps.” It is no suprise to me that you would verbally jab the record of the Marine Corps, since you were likely a s#it bag or a 4 year LCpl. I have fought in Iraq 3 times and Afghanistan once. If we pull out a victory in Afghanistan, thank the Marines for securing Helmand (if you know anything, Al Anbar, also the homeland of Sunni insurgency. Sounds like you soldier need a history lesson of both wars after your National Guard unit returned to Kuwait to feed incoming troops in those long chowhall lines. Thanks for your service and I am sorry you propably couldn’t make it in the Marine Corps. We are the Few, the very Proud…..Marines!

  98. While the Marine Corps likes to say they are "First to Fight" in fact that has not been true for more than 50 years. In fact, the Marines say they are the best at everything they do, when their recent combat record belies their opinion.

    The Marines ALWAYS claim they are underequipped and under budgeted. Yet they spend money to buy their own camouflage uniforms, fund the Osprey, and even specify their own rifle configurations. They seem to care more about being Marines then being Americans. You would think they'd learned by now that Hubris and Pride are deadly sins.

    The Marine Corps is like France. They can do whatever they want, because what they do isn't very important. The Army could do it all better, and without the constant ego stroking.

    An amphibious landing in the face of modern artillery and missiles would be slaughter: that's why the Marines conducted a straight-ahead ground assault in Desert Storm, with an amphibious feint.

    Without any reason for amphibious assault, there really is no reason for the Marine Corps other than historical precedent. Those few Marines who could make it as Paratroopers would do so, fighting the same assault mission only more effectively. The rest could fill out the Army's straight-leg infantry units.


  100. SGT TOM COLWELL | December 6, 2011 at 8:39 pm |


  101. NOT downgrading the army but ii is pretty clear that the average us marine is somewhat of a better fighter. In fact marines probably fight more with special forces than regular army units. if you look at the capalibilities of the marines they are unique among any military organization in the world. marine meu brings small unit (force recon) has combat divers, air assualt, amphip assualt, tanks, artilary, logostics, medical, etc, along with the natural aggression us marines have. instead of us marines being absorbed by the us army how about special forces being absorbed by the us marines. imagine us spec ops plus us marines and there capailities combined. and one other item of note not all future wars maybe against countries that are landlocked or do not have air forces or air defenses. if the country can hit our ships with missles don't you think they can hit c 130s loaded with paratroopers. the us may not always have the luxury of having nearby countrys that support us and allow us the use of their soil. when that happens how do you intend to put boots on the ground? we should expand us marines role not decrease it.

  102. PVT. carpenter | May 9, 2012 at 6:26 pm |

    By a land slide the army has a higher GT and IQ scores than the marines. Why give a force advanced equipment if they are not intelligent enough to operate them. In a study in 2007 70% of the marines incoming recruits said the joined the marines simply because the uniform w as black………. case and points the marines are idiots.

  103. From a non-American point of view, it seems to me that the Marines are more highly regarded by their foreign counterparts in the ISAF than their Army counterparts. JOke going around is them bloody Army have the equipment, but they don't have the balls.

  104. ReconChiro | July 23, 2014 at 5:28 am |

    It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. Marines do more with less.Fighting and Fking are what Marines do best. Sgt of Marines

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