Marines begin training for big wars after emphasis on small wars for two decades

The Marine Corps wants to focus its continental U.S.-based forces training for a high-end large-scale war, in case a conflict on the Korean Peninsula or elsewhere requires a massive surge force.

Whereas most training over the last decades has focused on smaller-level operations – training for a Marine Expeditionary Unit deploying aboard a three-ship Amphibious Ready Group, or training for a deployment to the Middle East – Marine leadership today wants CONUS forces training for a joint fight that might include 20 warships, Air Force bombers, a hefty Army presence and Marine Reserve units.

“You may see two different MAGTFs (Marine Air-Ground Task Forces) emerging all within the same Marine Corps. There’s the constantly forward-deployed aspect of the Marine Corps on Navy ships that’s going to be inside the adversary’s area, if they decide to light up their systems one day. We have to be the contact and blunt layer. Someone’s got to do the job, and those Marines and amphibious forces – in addition to the rest of the surface navy or subsurface navy and air, cyber – are going to deny the adversary their initial capabilities,” Lt. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, the deputy commandant of the Marine Corps for plans, policies and operations, said at an event cohosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and the U.S. Naval Institute.

“We will disrupt their plans. We will buy time and space for decision-makers in Washington that then can make a decision to be able to surge the force from CONUS. So you’re going to see a MAGTF that’s operating inside the contact and blunt layer … that’s got to be survivable and lethal and disruptive, a denying force; and then the rest of the MAGTF that’s coming in from places like Camp Pendleton or Camp Lejeune or Okinawa, assembling at the right place to then serve as part of the surge layer — the war-winning force.”

The “two different MAGTFs” won’t be manned or equipped differently, Beaudreault said, but they will be trained differently. Today, all Marines assigned to a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) train for MEU-type events: humanitarian assistance missions, embassy reinforcements, non-combatant evacuations, recoveries of aircraft and personnel and so on. Land-based Marine units may be trained for counter-terrorism operations or to serve as a quick-reaction force, for example. Instead, Beaudreault wants only the next-to-deploy units focused on that training, with the remainder of the MEUs and Marine forces at home station focused on what it would take to be a surge force in a high-end war.
There is more.

Marines have always been ahead of the curve on dealing with threats, and it looks like they are planning on big threats rather than fighting terrorists after they get in country.  They are now planning on having to fight just to get to the battlefield of the future.


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