The Shrinking Infantry Battalion: How the Marine Corps Can Retain and Enhance Capability for the Future
MARINE CORPS UNIV QUANTICO VA SCHOOL OF ADVANCED WARFIGHTING
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The Marine Corps can retain and enhance the current capabilities of the infantry battalion by modifying force structure to increase the delivery of firepower procuring systems that improve the effects of fires and command, control, communication, computer, and intelligence C4I and further developing the proficiency of the infantryman by intensifying training. The argument assumes that the Marine infantry battalion will become smaller in the future, given anticipated fiscal constraints, reduced lift of forthcoming combat platforms, and a continued shortage of strategic lift. To maintain current capabilities, the Marine Corps needs to transition to a force that can significantly increase the delivery of firepower on the battlefield. This proposal reduces rifle company strength by decreasing the size of the rifle squad by almost 50 percent, and justifies the reduction by noting the historical trends diminishing the requirement for shock and increasing the need for firepower. The reductions in the rifle companies are offset by increases to weapons company structure. The headquarters company also sustains reductions, reflecting a more centralized unit support and administrative system. The increase in firepower is achieved through leveraging increased C4I and weapons capabilities and developing a wiser, more talented and more versatile Marine infantryman. The model proposed is not meant to be prescriptive, rather it is a point of departure for the examination of future structure. With the benchmark concepts of Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare in mind, the infantry battalion must get smaller, but not less capable. For this to come about, a shift in mindset must transpire fewer Marine infantrymen do not necessarily have to equate to less capability, in fact it can mean more.
- Administration and Management
- Military Forces and Organizations
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics