Over-the-beach capabilities remain vital to U.S. maritime operations. Lessons from the annual Bold Alligator exercises can chart a course for the future.
The Marine Corps faces significant challenges as we emerge from a decade of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan and seek to reinvigorate our culture of conducting combined operations from the sea. A number of these challenges lie in what has been described as a “return to our amphibious roots”—an expression directed at highlighting our service-unique capabilities and countering the misperception that the Marine Corps is a second land army. Framing the problem in these terms, however, also contributes to the erroneous impression that we are looking back rather than forward; that tradition is somehow distracting the Corps from the important questions that will drive innovation required to succeed in increasingly complex future security environments.