JUST IN: Marine Corps Building Navy Buy In for 2030 Modernization
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The Marine Corps is working more closely with the Navy in war games and experimentation to demonstrate the value of the amphibious force, according to a senior Navy executive.
While fiscal pressure can sometimes pit forces against each other, the Marine Corps’ new modernization plan will require the Navy to fully participate in Force Design 2030, said Gen. Eric Smith, deputy commandant of the Marine Corps.
Marine Corps Commander David Berger introduced the new Force Design in 2020 and released an updated version earlier this year. The document calls for divestment from legacy systems such as tanks and investment in platforms that give the force more mobility.
Smith said building personal relationships is not enough to strategize to win the future fight.
“You have a candid conversation with the fleet commanders with the naval staff about the value of the Navy-Marine Corps team, this ability to be forward deployed 24/7 with organic mobility which is played out at the fleet level,” he said. said Nov. 4 during an event at the Harvard Kennedy School Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs.
An example of the collaboration taking place is the Marine Expeditionary Units which are made up of Marines and Sailors who “are completely bonded”.
Force Design 2030 includes a change approach learning campaign, which means there is constant conversation internally within the Marine Corps and with its counterpart, he noted.
“We’re actually playing war games and experimenting and having daily debates about the effectiveness of this platform, this platform, and I would say the Navy and we are a lot closer than I think is portrayed in the press,” he said.
He noted that budget pressures can exacerbate tensions. The Marine Corps saves money by divesting legacy platforms, but still needs to purchase the latest platforms such as long-range precision munitions and anti-ship cruise missiles.
“Where it always boils down is when there is the last dollar allowed to be spent or appropriated to be spent, where are we going to spend it? That’s where the rub at the Pentagon, frankly, because you know, there’s an ice cream cone, two kids,” he explained.
The Navy and Marines must understand that amphibious forces alone cannot achieve the goals of the National Defense Strategy.
“The goal is not the amphibious force. The amphibious force is there to enable the national defense strategy, which is to deter, to counter aggression, to provide a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said.
The Marine Corps is also prioritizing relationships with Congress to help achieve its 2030 goals, Smith said. The force was able to implement some of the Force Design 2030 changes so quickly because senior leaders are in constant conversation with leaders on the Hill, Smith said.
“But we have good support on the Hill because the Hill understands what the threat is. And the hill is a place, it’s not a person,” he said.
As the Marine Corps gains buy-in from the Navy, Pentagon and Congress, leaders could have done a better job connecting with the retired Marine community, Smith said. The force has seen a blowback from this community, mostly around end-of-life legacy platforms.
“Where we failed, I think, was with — it’s for institutional change management — your other shareholders, so our retirement community could have done a lot better,” Smith said. “Active community is a little easier because when the commander says move, you move.”
Topics: Marine Corps News