Because geographic location does not equate to operational relevance, the U.S. Marine Corps needs to reshuffle its components to stay connected with the Navy.
The Marine Corps currently has nine geographic component commands and three “type” functional component commands. Over the past decade the service has expanded and codified these commands to provide component responsibilities to the nation’s combatant commanders (CCDR). However, the Marine Corps does not retain adequate resources, fiscal or personnel, to properly perform this function. In addition, the situation is quickly getting much worse. Our Corps will soon be well under 180,000 Marines and any excess money is already gone. In addition, we have created a larger and more serious problem by operating these component commands: The Corps has marched away from its Navy brothers. Current examination and efforts to reorganize these commands are steps in the right direction, however, reshuffling the deck chairs on the Titanic will not solve the problem. Our most severe problem, related to component structure, is leaving the Navy behind because of our desire to be “the big dog on the block.” Our historical approach to components is wrong for two reasons. First, we are not the big dog, and we will never have the personnel, general officers, or fiscal resources to mirror the other services’ component commands. Second, we are inextricably tied to the Navy.