It appears that Marine Corps Commandant General David Berger may have told the story of how his Service needed to transform itself too well. As part of his vision for a new Marine Corps, the Commandant called for reducing the size of the Navy’s fleet of large amphibious warships and acquiring a new class of smaller, lighter vessels. Unfortunately, many observers, defense experts, and even some senior Pentagon officials concluded that General Berger’s modernization program required an either-or decision: either the Marines would be reliant on light amphibious warships, or the Corps would maintain its role as a multifunctional force, relying on large amphibs but in smaller numbers. This either-or approach is already being reflected in the Navy’s FY2023 budget submission, which virtually guarantees that the future amphib fleet will be too small and old to adequately support operations across the entire continuum of conflict. I have written more on this subject here.
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