Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The US Marines Amphibious Assault Capabilities, Round 2

The discussion regarding the future of the US Marine Corps and their amphibious assault capabilities going into this new century is still raging. It seems there are some who question just what capability is necessary. If it is determined that only a vertical assault capability is needed then what exactly is the need for the Marine Corps beside naval facility protection?

Before I go any further, let me make my personal position very clear. I am a strong advocate of the need for a Marine Corps and I believe its amphibious assault capabilities are essential skills for our military arsenal.

Having said that, I agree completely that in light of modern arms capabilities the vulnerability of an amphibious assault force positioned 25 miles from the beaches provides a tempting and ripe target rich environment. I also completely agree that the new Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) which the Marine Corps seems determined to purchase (at a cost of $13 billion), is not much more than an upgrade of last century Pacific assault campaign thinking.

The question has been posed as to jus what enemy we might face where an assault of this type is needed and who would not possess the rocket and missile arms capability to take these vehicles out prior to reaching the beach? In fact, following the same logic, wouldn’t the entire task force of littoral ships be vulnerable while attempting to support a landing? The question is valid and there is no good answer. Any reasonably advanced power we might oppose will have this kind of targeting capabilities (if not already, then certainly in the near future as technology spreads, which it always does).

I would, however, like to pose a question of my own. What military planner would have anticipated at the turn of the century, in 2000, that within 10 years we would be engaged in two wars in land-locked countries and in dessert and mountain environments, for a decade? More over, that the Marine Corps would carry a heavy part of the fighting in both conflicts?

Just because it is hard to imagine does not make it impossible, nor, unfortunately, does it even make it unlikely. It makes it essential to consider, to plan for --and, at the very least, be prepared for.

The EFV is an amazing piece of equipment. If you have not seen it in action, take a moment to watch the video below and you come away as impressed as I was. If they had had this capability at Tarawa or Okinawa or even on Utah Beach in Normandy, the casualty rate would have been significantly lower. Have we needed it since? No. Will we need it in the future? Whose Crystal Ball do you want to look in? Do you want us to lose the ability and skill just because you can’t think of an enemy at this moment? That kind of limited vision is what makes the difference between winning and loosing. Being prepared means exactly that. It means carrying matches when there is not need for a fire anticipated. It means having a pocketknife in your back pack and a flashlight in the trunk. It means anticipating, training, and having the basic equipment to respond when and where needed.

That is what the US Marine Corps is all about. Give them the tools and equipment. Keep them ready! Keep us safe!


Demitrius Rex said...

I completely agree with the questions posed here: Where, other than third world beaches, would such landings be effective,, considering the fact that every major country has defense capabilities that would make so much as an attempt at such a landing comical at best. China has an Aircraft Carrier killing missile (http://modernmarinecorps.com/knowledge/chinas-naval-game-changer/), so if they can strike carriers over the horizon why on Earth are we investing so much in these crafts?

Keith Turk Jr. said...

Im hearing a lot of incorrect theories.
The USMC is the most poorly funded branch of the military.
If they want a new amphibian fucking buy it.

1 While I think that having a 100% airborne insertion of our ground forces would be the best way to do things, but for all my life I've never seen the air force get its hands on enough cargo planes to make that possible.

2 The US Navy is where 2/3 of our strategic strength comes from and the US military's maritime transport assets represent a long build time yet robust transport volume capability that we wont even discuss lol.
3 The USMC exist for one reason only- forceful entry from the sea. they must get the appropriate dock facilities captured to open up for the larger operations that follow.
4 And that is why they need amphibious vehicles. when the shots are flying at them from ground forces they need to be able to spread out their invasion forces to mitigate the damage.

Cancelled you bet, but there are 3 other project going and by 2020 the USMC is going to secure some new transportation. They deserve quality vehicles.