Last June 4,000 sailors and Marines conducted a beach landing exercise near California’s Camp Pendleton. Secretary Gates and other officials have publicly stated such operations are obsolete in modern warfare. He’s ordered a review of the Marine Corps and said it needs to be trimmed in size and refocused.
The bipartisan Sustainable Defense Task Force bolstered his argument when they also recommended reductions in Marine Corps personnel and eliminating the $13 billion dollar Amphibious Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle project.
This modern version sought by the Marine command replaces the 40-year-old Amphibious Vehicle currently in use. It incorporates modern technology with better armor and firepower. The E.F.V. allows Marines to develop newer landing strategies. It can disembark over the horizon and keep ships away from possible mine fields or shore defenses.
Recent advancements in battlefield technology have been designed to meet the current wars’ demands with little thought of conventional scenarios involving beach landings. For the last ten years in Iraq and Afghanistan, Marines have been primarily utilized as a secondary land army with economics cited as cause. The United States Marine Corps accounts for six percent of the military budget and the cost per Marine is less than that of a soldier from another branch of the armed forces. The California exercise was unbelievably the first time many Marines had been on an actual ship at sea.
Source: Ed Hooper for Huffington Post.