Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Marines Fight Battles?

Apparently, the Marine Corps isn't happy about being the Army's largest allied ground force in the Long War:

The U.S. Marine Corps is again threatened, this time with a sharp reduction in its size. In response, marine commanders say they would prefer to be a smaller force, one that concentrates on its main mission; amphibious operations. The marines were unhappy with the way they have been used as an army auxiliary over the past decade.

Interesting. The old saying is that the Army does war and the Marines do battles. You could see this early in the Iraq War when the Marines were just about pulled out of Iraq before being recommitted to fighting a growing insurgencies problem.

At the height of their commitment, the Marines deployed two regimental combat teams to Iraq while maintaining a regimental combat team in the Western Pacific and keeping a couple Marine battalion-sized units afloat in Marine Expeditionary Units. The Marines did this with eight regiments and 3 reserve regiments.

If the Marines want to avoid war to focus on amphibious battle by shrinking, won't they have to get down to fewer than four regiments so that they can't rotate even a single regiment in a long-term war?

I hate to lose the largest ally the Army has had at war, but if the Army gets the funding to add four brigade-sized units to its force structure, I say we should wish the Marine Corps good luck and a happy life.