Marine Commandant Wants a Win in Iraq

23 Aug 2004 | Ms. Samantha L. Quigley

The sports world is awash with war analogies, and today the Marine Corps' top officer turned the tables by applying a sports term to war.

The Marines are looking for a big win in Iraq or, as Gen. Michael W. Hagee told an audience at the National Press Club here, a "Big W".

"We don't want a 'Little W,'" he said. "There is no one in Iraq who does not understand that if we wanted to come in and level Fallujah, level Ramadi, level An-Najaf, we could do that, but that's not mission accomplishment. That's the 'Little W.' We need the 'Big W' here."

The Marines, he said, are working with Multinational Force Iraq and with the interim Iraqi government headed by Prime Minister Ayad Allawi to bring about the right kind of victory in the war-torn country. The "Big W" - helping the Iraqi people -- is achievable with patience, he said.

Those comments came during a question-and-answer session after Hagee addressed the group on the future of warfighting. He cited a new twist on the "joint sea basing" concept as a key factor in future wars.

In use since, World War II, joint sea basing is not a new concept. Sixty years ago, it meant securing a foothold and building a "gigantic mound of supplies and logistics," Hagee said.

The new and improved version of this old tactic would keep the arrival and assembly of the forces at sea and employ selective off-loading of supplies and logistics. This concept would provide the ability to send forces wherever they need to be "without waiting for a permission slip," Hagee said, quoting Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Vern Clark.

When the new vision of joint sea basing becomes common practice, Hagee, said, the result will be the ability to place 15,000 Marines anywhere in the world within 10-12 days. This, he explained, will provide more capability to the joint force commanders faster.

Joint sea basing is only one concept currently in development, the general said. With a goal of excellence in warfighting, the armed services are looking at ways to more closely tie the services' resources, he added.

One such concept is TacAir integration. TacAir would meld the Navy's and the Marine Corps' strike assets into one team. Models demonstrate that by employing TacAir integration and tying the Navy and Marine air assets together to use as one force, more sorties and more combat capability are possible at less cost to the taxpayer.

But, Hagee said, it's not technologies or tactics that are the most important aspect of the Navy and the Marine Corps.

"All of those are important," he said. "But the most important thing to us, of course, is that individual Marine and that individual sailor. And I can tell you, the most dangerous thing on any battle field is an armed, trained and educated United States Marine."
Headquarters Marine Corps