USA — Gates Orders Marine Corps Force Structure Review

SAN FRANCISCO — Defense Sec­re­tary Robert M. Gates has ordered a thor­ough force struc­ture review of the Marine Corps to deter­mine what an expe­di­tionary force in readi­ness should look like in the 21st cen­tu­ry.

Gates gave the order today in a speech here at the Marines’ Memo­r­i­al Club & Hotel as part of the George P. Shultz lec­ture series.

The Marine Corps review is part of a much larg­er effort through­out the depart­ment to under­stand the world as it is today and what the mil­i­tary needs will be tomor­row.

“All of the mil­i­tary ser­vices have been chal­lenged to find the right bal­ance between pre­serv­ing what is unique and valu­able in their tra­di­tions, while at the same time mak­ing the changes nec­es­sary to win the wars we are in and pre­pare for the like­ly future threats in the years and decades to come,” the sec­re­tary said.

There are ques­tions about the mis­sion of the Marine Corps, Gates said. Before World War II, the Marines very suc­cess­ful­ly con­duct­ed “small wars” in the west­ern hemi­sphere. The ser­vice also devel­oped the ratio­nale and logis­tics need­ed to con­duct amphibi­ous war­fare.

Dur­ing World War II, the Corps was whol­ly ded­i­cat­ed to land­ing on the beach­es in the South and Cen­tral Pacif­ic. America’s first offen­sive of World War II was when Marines land­ed on the beach­es of Guadal­canal and began the cam­paign against Japan in August 1942. Tarawa, Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima and Oki­nawa are just a few of the land­ings Marines made.

Since then, Marines have fought on the beach­es, moun­tains and trench­es of Korea, the high­lands and rice pad­dies of Viet­nam, and the deserts of Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan. Although many of these oper­a­tions saw Marines ini­tial­ly pro­ject­ed from the sea, “they soon turned into long, grind­ing, ground engage­ments,” Gates said.

The nation does not need a sec­ond land army, Gates said, but rather forces that can deploy quick­ly and sus­tain them­selves for a short peri­od of time.

“Look­ing ahead, I do think it is prop­er to ask whether large-scale amphibi­ous land­ings along the lines of Inchon (Korea in 1950) are fea­si­ble,” the sec­re­tary said. Anti-access tech­nolo­gies, such as more accu­rate cruise and bal­lis­tic mis­siles, will work to dri­ve the start­ing point for amphibi­ous oper­a­tions far­ther and far­ther out to sea.

All will gain from a seri­ous and bal­anced look at mil­i­tary mis­sions, with an empha­sis on bal­ance, Gates said. “The Unit­ed States will con­tin­ue to face a diverse range of threats that will require a flex­i­ble port­fo­lio of mil­i­tary capa­bil­i­ties,” he said. The mil­i­tary must be equal­ly adept in coun­terin­sur­gency and full-spec­trum oper­a­tions. Any ene­my is going to con­front per­ceived Amer­i­can weak­ness­es, and how the mil­i­tary responds to asym­met­ric tac­tics must be con­sid­ered, he added.

Gates said he is wor­ried that in a time of aus­ter­i­ty, that the Defense Depart­ment may be seen by some leg­is­la­tors as a cash cow to fix fund­ing issues in oth­er gov­ern­ment agen­cies. “One of my favorite lines that I have invoked time and again is that expe­ri­ence is the abil­i­ty to rec­og­nize a mis­take when you make it again,” he said.

The Unit­ed States has uni­lat­er­al­ly dis­armed four times since World War II, and each time it was a mis­take, the sec­re­tary said. The Unit­ed States cut its mil­i­tary sig­nif­i­cant­ly after World War II, Korea, Viet­nam and the Cold War.

“After Sep­tem­ber 11th, the Unit­ed States again rearmed and again strength­ened our intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties,” the sec­re­tary said. “It will be crit­i­cal­ly impor­tant to sus­tain those capa­bil­i­ties in the future – it will be impor­tant not to make the same mis­take a fifth time.”

The spig­ot of defense spend­ing that was turned up after the ter­ror­ist attacks is clos­ing, Gates said. Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma has agreed to about 1 per­cent real growth in the base bud­get, but the depart­ment needs rough­ly three per­cent growth. Gates has said he will find the sav­ings and allow the ser­vices to rein­vest the mon­ey in more crit­i­cal pro­grams.

Part of this effort was his announce­ment of a series of effi­cien­cies that will elim­i­nate two depart­ment agen­cies and the U.S. Joint Forces Com­mand. His ini­tia­tive calls for reduc­ing the num­ber of con­trac­tors, elim­i­nat­ing 50 general/flag offi­cers and 150 senior exec­u­tive posi­tions.

This is the first step in an effort to reshape the “cor­po­rate cul­ture” at the Pen­ta­gon to make every dol­lar count, the sec­re­tary said. The cul­ture must be agile and effi­cient and such that all per­son­nel look at deci­sions with an eye to invest­ing in warfight­er needs, he said.

Gates worked with Sec­re­tary of State George Shultz dur­ing the Rea­gan admin­is­tra­tion. “For more than six years, (Shultz) and Ronald Rea­gan formed one of the most suc­cess­ful part­ner­ships of a pres­i­dent and his chief diplo­mat in mod­ern times, a true mod­el for how the rela­tion­ship is sup­posed to work,” he said.

Source:
U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

More news and arti­cles can be found on Face­book and Twit­ter.

Fol­low GlobalDefence.net on Face­book and/or on Twit­ter

Team GlobDef

Team GlobDef

Seit 2001 ist GlobalDefence.net im Internet unterwegs, um mit eigenen Analysen, interessanten Kooperationen und umfassenden Informationen für einen spannenden Überblick der Weltlage zu sorgen. GlobalDefenc.net war dabei die erste deutschsprachige Internetseite, die mit dem Schwerpunkt Sicherheitspolitik außerhalb von Hochschulen oder Instituten aufgetreten ist.

Alle Beiträge ansehen von Team GlobDef →