The Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General David Berger, has just released his long-anticipated Force Design 2030. It proposes a transformation of the Corps’ force structure, types of ships, the mix of platforms and weapons systems, and operational concepts to address the demands of deterrence and warfighting in an era of great power competition. In response to this new environment, the Marine Corps must shift from its current focus on conducting amphibious landing operations and protracted on-shore missions. Its new focus will be as a “stand-in force,” deployed inside an adversary’s weapons employment zone (WEZ) in peacetime, to conduct sea denial operations from the outset of hostilities. General Berger contends that the new force design will provide a more potent deterrent to conflict and a more lethal war-waging capability. However, there are reasons to be concerned that Force Design 2030 will produce a set of “forlorn hopes,” which is to say small, under-equipped Marine Corps units defending forward positions against overwhelming odds while suffering terrible casualties. I have written a commentary on this here.
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