US Marines to ‘Start Fresh’, Shed Land Combat Units for Naval Warfare

For decades, the US Marine Corps has served more as a counterpart to the Army than the Navy, but all that’s about to change. By 2030, the service wants to shed vast parts of its land combat forces in favor of new naval units in preparation for conflict in the South China Sea.

Since the US war in Korea, Marines have more often found themselves fighting land battles alongside Army soldiers rather than storming beachheads from landing craft like in prior eras. However, due to new strategic demands, the Corps is once again remaking itself and returning to its roots as an elite maritime outfit.

‘Throw Out Old Assumptions’

The Marine Corps commandant’s new plan for reshaping the service is due to be released soon, and it calls for cutting about 12,000 personnel, or 7% of the Corps.

“The Marine Corps is not optimized to meet the demands of the National Defense Strategy,” Marine Corps Combat Development Command spokesperson Maj. Joshua Benson told USNI News for a Monday story.

“In the summer of 2019, the Marine Corps began force design activities focused on adapting capabilities to properly shape the Marine Corps’ contributions to naval warfare and the joint force. These planning efforts led to a modernized design which incorporates emerging technologies and significant changes in force structure to deliver a Marine Corps the nation needs by 2030,” Benson said.

In February 2018, the Pentagon announced a new National Defense Strategy that heralded the pivoting…

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