Aside from bravery and devotion to duty, the most distinctive feature of U.S. Marine Corps culture is its focus on amphibious warfare. Marines have fashioned a warfighting posture that relies on naval mobility to get them to every conflict first — which matters a lot in a world where 80% of people live within a hundred miles of the sea and land bases are hard to secure. But once the Navy delivers expeditionary units into the war zone, the hard task of getting ashore and prevailing there must be addressed. That’s where the Marine Corps’ modernization agenda is focused — on aircraft, warships and vehicles suited to the rigors of projecting power ashore. The F-35B joint strike fighter and MV-22 Osprey tilt-rotor enable Marines to inject cutting-edge air power and tactical mobility into the thick of the fight, but there is a shortage of amphibious warships and efforts to develop new landing vehicles have lagged. I have written a commentary for Forbes here.
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