ComNavOps has, for some time now, offered the observation that the Marines were out of the opposed landing business and that they had devolved to a light infantry force capable only of short duration operations at the low end of the combat spectrum. Predictably, many readers have taken issue with that observation. The thing is, it’s an observation not an opinion. There’s nothing to agree or disagree with. It is what it is. The lack of survivable connectors combined with the lack of heavy transport capability dictates the overall capability, or lack thereof. You can argue about what the Marines should or should not be but there’s not really any way to dispute what they actually are.
In any event, we now have the final, official word for those of you who refuse to accept what you see.
CSIS hosted a question and answer session with Marine Brig. Gen. William Mullen on the topic of amphibious connectors (1). During the discussion, Gen. Mullen made this statement regarding Marine Corps priorities,
“Our emphasis right now, in particular, especially with the, in the current fiscal environment, our Commandant’s priorities right now are crisis response at the expense of major combat operations. If we absolutely had to do it we certainly would but it would be a stretch. Right now, we’re focusing on crisis response.”
There you have it. The Marines are out of the opposed landing business. They are a very light combat, raiding, embassy protection/evacuation, and humanitarian assistance organization. You can debate what they should be but it’s clear what they are and are not, by their own admission.
(1) http://csis.org/event/future-amphibious-connectors-getting-ship-shore , Brig. Gen. William Mullen, Director, Capabilities Development Directorate, Center for Strategic and International Studies, “Future Amphibious Connectors: Getting From Ship To Shore”,