Battlefield Tactics Change, So Should Training
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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After the United States and its coalition partners initial thrust into Iraq and the subsequent collapse of Iraqs political and military structure, ground tactics employed in U.S. military operations have diverged from what the Marine Corps has trained for in recent years. Operations have taken on what many refer to as an asymmetrical aspect, which is really a fancy way of saying the battlefield has become messy and not the way the Marine Corps would prefer to conduct military operations. The most notable element of this asymmetric battlefield is smaller, lighter, more widely spread, and harder to identify pockets of resistance occurring in or near urban terrain. With this change in operations, the need for tank units to operate in great numbers has been significantly reduced. Lack of the need for large tank units has led to the use of tank platoons working away from their parent units in support of infantry units. Tank elements and infantry elements working together in smaller units than the Marine Corps normally trains for has become common on the battlefield. Instead of tank company or platoon commanders working for infantry battalion or company commanders, there have been tank section leaders working for infantry platoon or squad leaders. This integration at smaller levels has been key to the Marine Corps being more effective in the current combat environment. The Marine Corps does not need a restructuring of its entire training system, but there are ways of modifying it to bring about the proficiencies it needs in its smaller unit leaders concerning tank-infantry integration. The Marine Corps emphasis on small unit tank-infantry training is insufficient, and changes need to be implemented as soon as possible to ensure continued success in Iraq and in similar future operations.
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Unconventional Warfare