Saturday, May 21, 2016

Marine Corps leadership is talking about a conventional war soon against a credible foe.

Something is brewing in Marine Corps land...especially at the General Officer level of Marine Corps land.  What am I talking about?  Check out what the Deputy Commandant said via USNI News....
Gen. John Paxton said potential adversaries are developing new technologies and tactics at accelerated speeds, and the U.S. needs to keep up.
“We used to pay attention to the Spratlys and the Paracels, but now we’ve got shoals and reefs that no one knew was out there, and they’re a lot bigger and a lot more permanent than they were two years ago. They threaten the [United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea] and the freedom of navigation,” Paxton said during his speech of the South China Sea.
Afterward to reporters, he said of China and Russia, “we watch them in terms of their ability to integrate, their ability to accelerate, their ability to navigate. … There are areas where we believed we had a distinct advantage, and now we watch to see what they do. And this is more along watching what happened in Syria, what happened in Ukraine, what’s happening in the South China Sea, because they are evidencing capability, whether it’s offensive or defensive, that perhaps we hadn’t seen before … like [electronic warfare], like cyber.”
To prepare for whatever war comes next, potentially against these increasing capabilities the U.S. has seen from Russia and China, Paxton said repeatedly that the Marines need to “push the envelope” now.
“We need to keep pushing that envelop, both with our technologic purchases, what we do with operational test and evaluation, and what we do in a joint and combined arena so we have the ability to share techniques and share procedures and do command and control with allies and partners,” he said in his speech.
I find his comments noteworthy.  He was a personal favorite for Commandant and I've wondered why he's been so quiet.  But put that aside and recall the Commandant's words about two weeks ago...
“What’s the next fight going to be?” Neller asked.
“Inevitably we’ll guess wrong, but I think there’s some things we can say about what that next fight’s going to be. I think it’s going to be based on a maritime campaign: we’re going to fight with the Navy, we’re going to come from the sea, we’re going to seize some sort of naval base or maybe forward operating base. We may have to defend it against an enemy maritime threat. There may be eventually on that lodgment … sustained combat ashore. But I think our enemy is going to be different, I think it’s going to be a near-peer enemy. The enemy’s going to be networked, they’re going to jam our comms.”
Not to be outdone, check out what the Deputy Commandant for Aviation's words while on an F-35 stump speech via Havelock News.
 “The F-35 is quantitatively changing the way that we fly, much like the V-22 did,” said Davis. “When the big one happens, when the really big day happens, you are going to want your sons and daughters and your Marines to deploy from this base in the F-35 to go carry the day.”
I'll forgive the F-35 cheerleading and concentrate on the common theme.

You have the Commandant, Deputy Commandant, Deputy Commandant for Aviation all talking about a big war.  They're all talking about a "big" war that will tax resources and probably test wills.

I don't believe in coincidence.  So that means that Marine Corps planners have finally put the counter insurgency bug behind and are turning to on getting ready to fight a major conventional war.

I don't know whether to chest thump and say I told you so, or be chilled by the implications.

A major conventional war within the next 5-10 years?

The US isn't ready.

This is one time when I hope I'm wrong.  This is one time when I hope that this is just a passion play to get more budget.  If it isn't then that means the Corps "big thinkers" have seen what I have (with a 1000% more clarity) and know that time is short.  Still.  Even with a 5-10 year window....we won't be ready...not at current spending levels.

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