The U.S. Marine Corps is reaping the benefits of a decade-long transformation of its reserve component. Its performance in the recent Iraq war—by units such as this sniper team from 2d Battalion, 23d Marines, one of four reserve maneuver battalions deployed to the Central Command's area of operations—demonstrates that the Marine Reserve is an effective member of the Marine total force.
In a 9 July 2003 memorandum entitled "Rebalancing Forces," secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld states three principal objectives: improved reserve responsiveness, a review of joint requirements, and increased efficiency of mobilization. Before the release of the memo, Marine Forces Reserve already had achieved 90% of the changes called for by secretary Rumsfeld. It now is engaged in an intense effort to implement the lessons learned from the recent mobilization.