Marine quick reaction force planned for Middle East
The Marine Corps is developing plans to establish a contingency force that will be based in the Middle East and be capable of responding to crises throughout the troubled region.I suspect it will be equivalent to a battalion landing team of roughly 500 troops. I think it is a further reflection of the poor response options that were available during the Benghazi attacks. It will probably have some special operators attached to it.
The force is being planned as the United States reduces the size of its force in Afghanistan and has withdrawn combat forces from Iraq, shrinking its presence in a region plagued by violence and turmoil.
Planning for the force reflects an overall shift in strategy as the Pentagon winds up two large land wars and develops a smaller military designed for limited contingencies.
"The U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf is shifting from land to sea," said Loren Thompson, an analyst at the Lexington Institute. "That means greater reliance on the Marines for carrying out any missions on shore."
The force would be similar to a unit that the Marine Corps established in Moron, Spain, in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and would be capable of dispatching troops on a moment's notice to secure an embassy or evacuate Americans. An Army-led force operates out of the U.S. base at Camp Lemonnier in the East African nation of Djibouti.