The Marine Corps is not manned, organized, trained, or equipped to compete against near-peer adversaries in the current and future operating environment. The 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps General David H. Berger recognized this delinquency and directed the Marine Corps to focus on force design and warfighting as two of five focus areas in his July 2019 Commandant’s Planning Guidance.
As alarming, the Marine Corps infantry community, as currently designed, has limited utility in future maritime fights.
The 2018 National Defense Strategy (NDS) correctly identifies a future in which the advantage joint forces have over near-peer competitors is diminishing. This is most evident in the Indo-Pacific where China’s military and government trajectory threatens to invalidate previously successful operating concepts, especially for U.S. naval forces. The normal freedom of navigation, airspace dominance, and maneuver activities the Navy has taken for granted in the maritime domain is no longer a reality.
1. Navy Concept for Distributed Maritime Operations, January 2019.