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Marine commandant reconfirms Marines as expeditionary

By Cpl. Scott Schmidt | | January 13, 2011

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The relevance of the Marine Corps as America’s expeditionary force in readiness was among the commandant of the Marine Corps’ key talking points during a visit to the Surface Naval Association Jan. 13.

Gen James Amos discussed the Corps’ success in the last decade in Iraq and Afghanistan – a success that began with a partnership between Marines and the Navy surface warfare community.

“Weeks after 9/11, Gen. Jim Mattis, current CENTCOM commander, rapidly aggregated two Marine Expeditionary Units of 4,400 combat-ready Marines, and launched from six amphibious ships north into Afghanistan.” Amos recalled. “They provided decision space for our National leaders, and facilitated the introduction of follow-on forces.  Their efforts maintained pressure on the Taliban and Al Qaeda, enabled special operation forces and interagency operations, and facilitated the prosecution and subsequent processing of high value targets.”

Amos also pointed out the Corps’ many humanitarian efforts in the aftermath of disasters like Hurricane Katrina, the earthquake in Haiti and the flood in Pakistan, which were made possible by amphibious capabilities. 

His anecdotes continued on one common theme that in the past decade, the Marine Corps has reaffirmed its signature role as America’s expeditionary force in readiness.

Recent Defense Department budget cut proposals have called into question the very nature of the Marine Corps. Amos said this is not a question of if the Corps is amphibious, but rather how today’s operations will define that amphibious capability.

“I refer to our Marine Corps of today as a middleweight force,” he said. “We fill the void in our nation’s defense for an agile force that is comfortable operating at the high and low ends of the threat spectrum or the more likely ambiguous areas in between.”

Amos added that for Marines, expeditionary, “is a state of mind that drives the way we organize our forces, train, and procure equipment. You’re either ready to respond to today’s crisis…with today’s force…today…or you’re late and risk being irrelevant.”

The Marine Corps success as a “middleweight force” means the Corps will not be irrelevant.   

Related:

Gen Amos’ speech to the Surface Navy Association
Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II: Making Progress
Marines lose EFV during DoD spending cuts
Despite budget cuts, Marines remain amphibious


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