Friday, June 08, 2018

Roles and Missions

In light of a renewed focus on peer competitors and conventional combat, the Senate Armed Service Committee wants answers about who does what in the military:

The Senate Armed Services Committee has proposed the most sweeping reevaluation of the military in 30 years, with tough questions for all four armed services but especially the Marine Corps.

I would absolutely not make the Marine Corps the counter-insurgency force. That could kill the amphibious warfare ability that is unique to America. And you know my views that any good soldier (or Marine) can be a counter-insurgent troop. The key is having officers who understand how to use the well trained troops in that mission.

If it was up to me, I'd make the Army heavier for mobile warfare and have the Marines the urban warfare force (supported by the Army), which fits with their amphibious warfare role. The latter may not be a mission that is as easy on a large scale against opposition, but I wouldn't want to give it up. And urban warfare is like assaulting a defended coast but without getting your feet wet, right? So it is complementary and focuses on a new role while retaining the abilities for the traditional core role.

In addition, the Marines are well suited to winning the first battle in a new theater before the Army can get there to fight and win the war. To that end, I'd like to see--as I argued at the beginning of this century (see the article starting on page 38)--that a Marine expeditionary strike group (a force of a reinforced battalion--a MEU--and warships to support the Marines) include a contingent of ships carrying the equipment for the balance of a Marine brigade.

By doing that, a MEU could seize a bridgehead or land in friendly territory to unload the equipment to be met by Marines flown in from distant Marine bases.

The Army should keep their Security Force Assistance Brigades for strengthening allied armies for whatever tasks the allied ground forces need to perform.

Also, I'd send the money, personnel, and responsibilities for close air support to the ground troops in contact with the enemy from the Air Force to the Army. I'd be very interested to see how the Army would organize close air support if it could own the fixed wing aircraft the Air Force has and not be limited to armed helicopters and smaller drones.

And make that up to the Air Force by making it the Aerospace Force.

The Navy, as it is well aware, must refocus on sea control and to that end make sure our sailors are far better trained than they appear to be after some appalling lack of skills has been exposed. As foes continue to catch up in numbers and in technology, the skills of our personnel must be kept up.

And return actual warfighting capabilities to the Coast Guard to support the Navy, while we're at it.