As world events unfold, crisis response, security-force assistance, and counterinsurgency will become part of conducting expeditionary combat operations. In the near future, the United States will need forces that can deploy quickly and arrive at their destinations prepared to conduct sustained operations while transitioning subordinate units from crisis-response operations and security-force assistance—as well as U.S. Army, host nation, allied, and partner military forces—into combat operations. The Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) is the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) best prepared to conduct expeditionary combat operations and support sustained combat operations ashore. One MEB aligned with each combatant command can plan and conduct operations across the spectrum in a geographical combatant commander’s area of responsibility (AOR) and integrate all units in an AOR into a cohesive combat force. Along with Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) and rotational forces (SPMAGTF), the MEB could be used to maintain the Marine Corps’ forward presence and relevancy in Europe’s new security environment.
A Proactive Defense
A regionally focused Marine Expeditionary Brigade in Eastern Europe would support NATO allies and friends at odds with a resurgent Russia.In the immediate post-Iraq/Afghanistan period, the Marine Corps must posture itself to influence events instead of simply reacting to them. The future of combat is operations against competent state and non-state proponents of hybrid warfare, and the Marine Corps’ ability to remain a relevant warfighting organization depends on its ability to counter these threats with capable amphibious and expeditionary forces. To do this, we must have clear and visionary thinking on the emerging security environment.
By Colonel William J. Nemeth, U.S. Marine Corps