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Marine Corps will be smaller, lighter but just as deadly, commandant promises

Amos The Marine Corps of the future will be smaller and use lighter vehicles and lighter personal protective gear but retain its ability to respond swiftly and with intimidating firepower to any global crisis, Commandant Gen. James Amos said Tuesday night.

The Marine Corps will add more personnel and resources to its Special Operations Command -- the Marines' equivalent of the Army's special forces -- and to its force guarding against attack via cyberspace.

The Marines, Amos said in a speech at the Marine Memorial Club in San Francisco, will be a "middleweight force" ready to move quickly, probably from ships, to buy time for U.S. officials to decide on a long-term response to a crisis.

Amos pointed to the recent deployment of Marines to support a Camp Pendleton-based battalion in the bitter fight in the Sangin area of Afghanistan as the kind of capability that the Marine Corps will continue to provide.

Within three days of the decision by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Marines aboard ships off Pakistan were part of the fight in Sangin, including with their own attack aircraft. The Camp Pendleton-based Third Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment has been in a bloody battle with Taliban fighters since late September.

The new troops from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Amos said, are "in direct support of Gen. [David] Petraeus' winter campaign. Their efforts are further driving a wedge between the insurgents and the local Afghan populace."

Amos' speech was billed as his response to a speech made by Gates last year in the same venue in which he challenged the Marine Corps to define its post-Afghanistan role and to anticipate reduced budgets as the nation struggles with a sour economy. Congressional leaders have been briefed on the Marine Corps plans, Amos said.

Amos said the Marine Corps is ready to "right-size" its force. He did not mention numbers but most observers expect a reduction from the current 202,000 level to about 180,000 Marines.

Amos stood by his decision to support cancellation of the $14-billion project to develop what is called the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle that can take Marines from ship to shore. Rather, Amos said, the Marine Corps will begin developing a less expensive amphibious vehicle to do the same task.

"I want to assure you that the Marine Corps will remain our nation's expeditionary force in readiness and remain the force-of-choice for crisis response," he said.


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Photo: Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos. Credit: Department of Defense

Comments () | Archives (18)

And just as expensive.

Good luck fighting the Chinese Army!

The Marines will eventually end up like the Coast Guard, mainly non-existent in today's military force.

The Army can and will take over the responsibilities of the Marines.

-Go Army

I am a USMC Vietnam era Veteran. The Marine Corps will always be with us. "We are the Presidents own". We are the last line of defense to the President, and will always be there to protect him. Case closed. The Marines choose the "best of the best", period. My service with the USMC was the best of my life. I proudly served just like the Marines today. We will proudly do as he requests, no question. The Marines proudly served in Iraq and now in Afganistan. And we will clean up and take names later. Anybody messes with us will have to deal with Marines. The Army is a great institution too. You need special forces who can deal with special circumstances and that is where the Marines come into play.

My beloved Corps has always been the last to get the best in terms of technology, warfighting gear and the list goes on. What has never changed and never will is that each Marine is a Rifleman. Each Navy Hospital Corpsman with the Corps is a healer and warrior.
Smaller, faster, tougher..it is all good. The Marine/Navy team has proven lethal throughout time. Marine Air are not glorious flyboys as they know what it is like to have boots on the ground. We have 234 years of fighting for our country. We go farther and faster than BIG ARMY.
This is nothing new to the Corps. First in.
To call the USMC something like the Coast Guard is a slap in the face.
History has shown time and time again what the Marine/Navy combo does. Close with by fire and maneuver and kill the enemy. PERIOD. Semper FI!

The Marines still want to be the Army and we do not need two. Marines are historically Naval Infantry and need to be returned to their status as a component of the Navy- not a second Army. Take away their tanks and planes and put them back on the ship where they belong.
We cannot afford their ego anymore.

So much for counter insurgencey...The Marines, when it absolutely, positively has to be destroyed overnight.

No wonder the world hates Americans and America.

I have a lot of respect for the Armey. The Marines have ben here longer than the Army,and will never be replaced. Grenada is an example of the Armys enaptness to deploy at a minutes notice. Delta force was a desaster. Let the Army do what they do,and the Marines do what they do well. There is a place for both. The marines have always been known to do more with less. USMC OOH RAH

@ Eric M.-
I sincerely DOUBT that!

Til then the MARINES will continue to kick-butt and take names, it's what my beloved CORPS. has always done since the halls of Montezuma to the hills in afghanistan. SEMPER FI!

Contrary to some other posts, the Marines are not older than the US Army- nor is the Navy which the Marines re a part of.
Amphibious warfare is supposed to be the Marines calling card, but the biggest seaborne invasions- most notable Normandy- were done by the Navy and Army without a Marine unit in sight.
Make no mistake- Marines are well trained and have great unit pride & cohesion. They also have been brainwashed into thinking that a kid from Fresno that walks into a Marine Recruiter's office is somehow more elite than a kid who walks into an Air Force Recruiter's. Marines bleed just the same as any other troop.
The Marines should get back to boarding ships and stop playing Army. We cannot afford it anymore.

America should stop picking fights with everyone just to make some military industrial profits and line the pockets of our despicably corrupt and special interest owned Congress. WHAT exactly are we wasting the lives of our kids in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, and soon the rest of the middle east for anyway? A few bucks? It certainly isn't ANYTHING else. If America could get its OWN country in order, that would be a real surprise to the America people and a much needed relief to everyone else.


There was this thing that happened in New York on September 11, 2001, where terrorists attacked our country in spectacular fashion.

Well, if we don't go hunt them down and kill them in their own breeding grounds, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iran then we will be subject to attack over and over again on our own soil until our nation no longer exists.

I'm glad to have provided you with the answer to the question you had.

You're welcome!

DAG-the Army landed in Normandy using the doctrine and techniques pioneered by the Navy and Marine Corps in the 1930s, when the Army had no interest whatsoever in amphibious tactics. The Marines and Navy provided an amphibious warfare training group on the West Coast in 1941-1943 that trained 10 Army divisions in landing techniques. The development of the ramped landing craft, amphibious vehicles, naval gunfire support, and combat loading would never have occurred without the support of Marine officers.

The Army's amphibious operations could not have taken place when they did without the benefit of the work done by the Navy-Marine Team.

u know: You do realize that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11 or "terrorist" training, right? Neither did Iran. Our tantrums in the Middle East have resulted in the deaths of thousands upon thousands of civilians, not to mention the enduring hatred felt by those left behind who lost loved ones, and have hastened the collapse of both our economy and global hegemony.

I am amazed that there are still people out there willingly blind, deaf, and dumb to the truth.

The Army also landed in North Africa, Sicily, Southern France as well as in the Philippines largely with only Navy support. Many of the larger "Marine" operations were actually joint Army Marine operations (Okinawa comes to mind).

As to another comment about being the Army being inept at special operations, nothing could be farther from the truth. The Marines have had plenty of episodes of failure- most notably when over 240 Marines, Sailors and Soldiers were killed in Beirut under a Marine Commander. Some of the most basic rules of land warfare and security were neglected/violated. As a senior plans officer that was reviewing the After Action report said to me at the time: 'That's what happens when you send sailors (Marines) into do a soldier's job".

I do not disrespect the Marines but have not drank their Kool Aid. No branch of service has so carefully cultivated it's public image nor indoctrinates it's trainees with the fiction that they are somehow special, different or elite. I worked with and trained against Marines during my time in the service and know that they are good people who are in an organization that needs to get back to it's intended role- Naval Infantry.

Anybody that sits and talks smack about the Marine Corps I would bet does not have the balls to join the boy scouts. Read our history, it tells the story. DAG, its not our fault that our PR is great. If the ARMY learned to get the word out instead of throwing out money to join etc. it would be better off.

OORAAH! The Corps will never die. Unlike our brother and sister services we do not need an act of congress to moblize and deploy. The Presidant can deploy HIS Marines at any time to any place and for a longer than any other service.That's why we are known as America's 911 force. Semper Fi MEUs. The Army wins wars, Marines win battles. We pave the road clear, they occupy what remains. We are an American Armed Force, but we are governed by a slightly different set of rules. Mainly because we are a department of the Navy, thats where we get our funding. If the Navy decided, they would be the ones to make the call and be the ones to pull the cord on the Corps, something they will never do. The Army has been trying to fill our boots for years, nothing wrong with that. But we will never be replaced. We will continue to protect our President and our nation forever. We are the elite, the few, the proud...WE ARE MARINES!
"if the Army and the Navy ever looked on heavans scenes, they would find the streets are guarded by UNITED STATES MARINES."- Marine Hym

Ever since the invention of the airplane, and thus Army paratroopers, the purpose of marines has been in question. The Army is now much heavier and lighter than the Marine Corps. It's paratrooper and special operations soldiers are the real first responders in crisis; the time has come to reevaluate the USMC's mission. The Army thumps the USMC in every way on the ground, this country doesn't a second, less equipped and trained, army.

But there will always be a need for a Marine Corps. The USMC embodies elements and capabilities of the other branch. The USMC needs become a much smaller force, used only in times that other branches can not act. The USMC needs to stop "looking for missions", it should come naturally, and maybe the name has become out of date.


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