The Marine Corps has always been an elite force — and you’d hardly think they’d need to make resolutions for the New Year. The Army, Navy, and Air Force have things they need to work on, of course, but even elite forces have their fair share of problems. Last year, the Marines had a big problem with their Hornets and needed a boneyard bailout. So, what do the Marines need to work on in 2018?
5. Increase the dwell time for troops
According to a Heritage Foundation assessment of American military power, the Marines are shooting for a 1:3 deployment-to-dwell ratio. That is, one seven-month deployment, followed by 21 months to “dwell.” The problem is that budget caps could push the “D2D” ratio down to 1:1. This wears down gear and the Marines. This is something the Marines need to fix immediately.
4. Get new planes
Some of the mainstays of Marine Corps aviation, like the F/A-18 Hornet, CH-53E Super Stallion, and AV-8B Harrier, are getting older and older. The longer-than-expected development of the F-35 has forced these older planes to soldier on. Marines often operate as Air-Ground Task Forces, meaning they need to get new airframes, whether it’s from accelerating production of the new designs, or re-opening production lines.
3. Keep the Expeditionary Fire Support System
With aging aviation being stretched thin, why would the Marines dump one of their newer fire-support systems? Admittedly, the Expeditionary Fire Support System didn’t have the longest reach. What it did have, however, was portability, meaning it could rapidly deploy from a V-22 Osprey. It also frees up the longer-range systems like the M777 and the HIMARS to hit other targets. This is a very useful system — and the Marines ought to keep it.
2. Get a good replacement for the AAV-7 – the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
The AAV-7A1 has been around since 1972, when it entered service as the LVTP-7. Let’s put this into context: When Taylor Swift was born, the AAV-7 was old enough to have a driver’s license in all 50 states. The Marines had a good replacement, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle, but it was cancelled in 2011. Undoing that cancellation should be a top priority.
1. Add a few more good men (and women)
The Heritage Foundation’s 2018 assessment of American military strength noted that the Marines presently have the equivalent of 24 infantry battalions. But to really handle things, the Marines need at least 30, and possibly as many as 36. More Marines can help meet other resolutions, like increasing the dwell time, but it also can be a deterrent of bad behavior from certain countries and non-state actors.
What resolutions do you think the Marine Corps should make?