First, a focus on a pacing threat that is both a maritime power and a nuclear power eliminates entirely the salience of large-scale forcible entry operations followed by sustained operations ashore. (1) [emphasis added]
There is no longer the slightest doubt. This Commandant believes that amphibious assault is a dead concept. Why? Why would he think that? Why would he believe that the [arguably] major reason for the Marine Corps is no longer applicable?
Well, we begin to get an understanding of the Commandant’s rationale for his radical changes in the following statement.
… even if there were a strong and credible requirement for large-scale forcible entry operations, such operations could not be carried out in the face of an adversary that has integrated the technologies and disciplines of the mature precision strike regime. (1) [emphasis added]
There it is, in black and white, plain English. The Commandant is prepared to give up without a fight! He’s just plain scared. He believes the enemy is invincible and there’s not a thing we can do to counter the enemy’s capabilities. Apparently, he believes that we have no capabilities of our own that can even remotely approach those of the enemy.
This scared belief utterly flies in the face of history. We faced daunting enemy defenses and capabilities at Normandy and a host of other places and managed to overcome them.
Of course we can counter and defeat the enemy! It just requires fortitude, determination, and strategic/operational competence. This Commandant appears to lack all three qualities.
Even more disturbingly disappointing is the Commandant’s assessment of our ultimate chance of victory:
… given the geopolitical realities of today and the nature of China’s society and strategic culture, it is highly likely that even if we did have an answer for the challenges of amphibious power projection in a mature precision strike regime, this capability would not be sufficient to deter or prevent our pacing threat from accomplishing its objectives in regions we judge important to our national security. (1) [emphasis added]
In other words, the Commandant believes that our enemy’s technology is sufficient to eliminate any hope, whatsoever, of a successful offense AND that, despite having the same technology as our enemy, we have no hope of stopping his offense even though he can totally stop ours.
It’s one thing to have a realistic assessment of an enemy’s capabilities – I try to define that all the time in this blog – but it’s another to have a doomsday, defeatist view based on nothing but fear.
Shockingly, after the litany of doomsday statements, the Commandant has the gall to pretend that his vision of the Marines can accomplish something:
“… most ready when the Nation is least ready,” remains a central requirement in the design of our future force, and one which I will keep unflinchingly in mind as I oversee the next stage of wargaming, experimentation, and analysis that will work out many of the specific details. (1)
Despite believing, in his core, that there is absolutely nothing we can do to defeat the enemy, he believes that a stripped down Marine force of platoons is the Marines at the ‘most ready’????
Now, here’s a closing thought to ponder … If the Commandant truly believes that our entire military might has zero chance of victory, how does he think a handful of platoon size units will win the war?
Thank goodness this Commandant was not in charge of the Marines in WWII. He’d have taken one look at the Japanese defenses on any of their islands, announced our inevitable defeat, and surrendered. Of course, if he was in charge, he’d have been immediately fired for cowardice.
I thought I could not be more disappointed in this Commandant but I was wrong – badly wrong.