The year 2014 will be remembered as a thoroughly awful year by U.S. military planners. From West Africa to Eastern Europe to the Middle East to the Western Pacific, the world was aflame with violence and suffering. The nicest thing you can say about this bleak landscape is that virtually all of the new security challenges can be addressed from the sea. That simple geopolitical fact explains why the Navy-Marine Corps team is likely to be very busy for the foreseeable future. It doesn’t need land bases or the permission of foreign governments to take action against emergent threats, because its bases are at sea. Five features of the Marine Corps make it uniquely suited to these troubled times. First, it is sea based and highly mobile. Second, it is forward deployed near likely trouble spots. Third, it is flexible and versatile. Fourth, it is focused on regions where combatant commanders are most in need of expeditionary warfare capabilities. And fifth, it possesses unique warfighting technology like the MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor that no foreign adversary can match. Put it all together, and the Marines are poised to become precisely what their leaders aspire to be: “the right force in the right place at the right time.” I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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