United States Marine Corps: Power Projection On Global Scale

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Written and produced by SF Team: Brian Kalman, Daniel Deiss, Edwin Watson

Although much is written about the U.S. Special Forces and Navy Seals, these special operations forces are intended to be used mostly for asymmetrical, unconventional operations or to supplement the actions of larger military operations utilizing more conventional forces. The U.S. Marine Corps; however, is a large, independent, combined arms fighting force that can react to almost any military contingency at extremely short notice. Of all the branches of the U.S. military, it is without a doubt the most flexible, adaptable and effective fighting force that the U.S. can call upon in times of crises or all-out war.

Predating the founding of the nation that it serves, with the Continental Marines being established in 1775, the USMC has a long and storied history of discipline, honor, sacrifice and combat effectiveness. Having fought in every major conflict since the birth of the United States as a sovereign nation, the Marines have forged a reputation and battle prowess that is respected by both allies and adversaries the world over. While every other branch of the U.S. Armed Forces specializes at a specific form of warfare, the USMC excels at all manner of modern warfare. They exist to stand as the sharp end of the spear in any military or humanitarian crisis scenario. The U.S. Marine Corps are a jack of all trades, and a master of all trades as well.

Powerful, Flexible, Forward Deployed

The Corps numbers approximately 182,000 active duty Marines, with a further 38,500 in reserve status. Unlike other branches of the U.S. armed forces, the USMC is divided into a number of forward deployed units overseas and regionally deployed units within the United States that are meant to be blended together into various warfighting forces based on the task at hand. Tailored for flexibility and overall combat power, there are five main USMC operating forces structures.

The Marine Air Ground Task Force (MAGTF). The Marine Corps usually operates as MAGTFs, which are self-sustained, combined arms forces comprised of air, ground, and logistics units under a single commander. Each MAGTF consists of a command element (CE), a ground combat element (GCE), an aviation combat element (ACE), and a logistics combat element (LCE). A MAGTF is an extremely potent and flexible combat force that is well suited to respond to a host of different contingencies at very short notice.

The Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF). The MEF is the main Marine Corps fighting organization, and is capable of carrying out amphibious assaults and sustained military operations ashore. It is designed for fighting major theater war. There are three standing MEFs: I MEF based in the southwestern U.S., II MEF based in the southeastern U.S., and III MEF based in Japan and Hawaii. Although each MEF has its own established units, the size and makeup of an MEF can change greatly depending on mission requirements. Units from other MEFs, other military branches and special operations units (most often Navy Seals) may be attached to a deployed MEF. Marine Expeditionary Forces can be rapidly deployed to a target area via land, sea or air. MEFs make use of prepositioned ships from the U.S. Navy or Military Sealift Command to gain added equipment and ordinance for longer sustainability ashore.

Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB). An MEB is a subordinate command of the MEF, and is designed as a quick reaction force for smaller scale contingencies than the MEF. MEBs are the foundation establishments for power projection operations such as amphibious assaults and air assaults. They also link-up with maritime prepositioning vessels in order to gain additional equipment, arms and supplies in order to gain greater sustainability. There are three regionally oriented MEBs: 1st MEB seconded to I MEF which covers U.S. Pacific and Central Commands, 2nd MEB seconded to II MEF which covers U.S. European, Central and Africa Commands, and 3rd MEB seconded to III MEF which also covers U.S. Pacific Command.

Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU). MEUs are forward deployed expeditionary units which are maintained in the Mediterranean Sea, western Pacific, Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf. Each MEU is a self-contained, self-reliant, combined arms fighting force. Before deployment, every MEU must conduct a 26 week pre-deployment training regime and final certification test, where it must demonstrate the ability to plan and execute a multitude of simultaneously conducted missions within 6 hours of notification. There are seven MEUs. The 11th, 13th and 15th MEUs are subordinated to the I MEF, the 22nd, 24th and 26th MEUs and subordinated to the II MEF, and the 31st MEU is assigned to the III MEF.

Each MEU consists of a Command Element, and a GCE consisting of a marine infantry battalion reinforced with its own artillery, armor, amphibious assault, engineer and reconnaissance units; however, they can be supplemented with additional Marine and Special Warfare elements as the mission dictates. This reinforced marine infantry battalion is known as a Battalion Landing Team (BLT). Each MEU also has an ACE consisting of one medium tiltrotor squadron (V-22 Osprey),elements from one heavy helicopter squadron (CH-53 Super Stallion), one light helicopter attack squadron (AH-1Z Viper), a  Marine attack squadron (AV-8B Harrier), one UAV squadron, Marine air traffic control detachment, Marine wing support squadron, and one Marine aviation logistics squadron. Also, an LCE consisting of one combat logistics battalion completes each MEU.

Deployed MEUs often represent the first option available to the U.S. executive branch in responding to a crisis overseas, as they are forward deployed and always immediately ready to respond to almost any contingency. When deployed, MEUs reside on the amphibious warfare ships of an Amphibious Ready Group. These large and flexible vessels, LPDs, LSDs, LHAs and LHDS, carry the Marines of the MEU and all of their heavy equipment, armored vehicles and aircraft into their area of deployment. These vessels are commanded and manned by personnel of the U.S. Navy. Additionally, all combat medics in the USMC are actually enlisted members of the U.S. Navy and are known as “Corpsmen”.

Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (SPMAGTF). The core establishment of these special units are drawn from the standing MAGTFs, and are supplemented with additional units as dictated by the mission. They are normally considerably smaller than an MEU. These units are established to carry out specific special missions such as training exercises with foreign militaries, and humanitarian response efforts.

U.S. Marines, regardless of their specialized military occupation, are all trained first and foremost as infantry. For example, a combat pilot or logistics officer will both possess a detailed understanding of infantry small unit tactics and be proficient in their employment. The Corps maintains higher standards of physical fitness and rifle marksmanship than the other U.S. armed services. Historically embracing the idea that all Marines must be well-trained riflemen, the Corps was the last of the military branches to abandon the M16 rifle for the M4 carbine.

U.S. Marines must be ready for deployment and combat in any and all environments, and thus they maintain a strenuous and demanding training regimen that encompasses arctic, jungle, desert and mountainous environments. The U.S. Marine Corps excels at all manner of land warfare, amphibious assault, helicopter and tiltrotor air assault, large scale evacuation of U.S. nationals in times of conflict, and humanitarian and disaster relief (HADR) operations. In addition, all U.S. embassies maintain a small security of detail of U.S. Marines.

Adapt and Overcome

If it is one thing that the Marines are known for it is their ability to adapt to battlefield realities, change tactics rapidly, and overcome any difficulties encountered to win victories. The USMC has embraced this adaptability at all levels, maintaining old customs and weapons systems that have proven effective, while at the same time being willing to adopt very new ideas and weapons that are unconventional and unproven, but which promise advantages that the USMC deem beneficial. While being the most reluctant to approve the liberal policies of successive U.S. administrations, such as the inclusion of women in combat roles, once adopted, the USMC has refused to lower both physical and proficiency standards to the level of other branches of service. As a result, the women serving in the forward deployed units of the USMC are undoubtedly some of the toughest and most well trained female soldiers in the world.

While reluctant to abandon the M16 for the M4, and the last US service to do so (arguably a mistake in this particular case), and maintaining a number of older weapons systems that have proven reliable, such as the AAV7 amphibious assault vehicle and the AH-1 Cobra attack helicopter, the Corps has at the same time thrown their support behind very new and often controversial weapons systems. The USMC was an early proponent of the V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft, which it utilizes far more than any other service, and was also the first U.S. military branch to declare the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter operational. While still using the AV-8B Harrier jump jet in frontline ACE units aboard amphibious assault vessels, the USMC realizes that a replacement VSTOL attack aircraft is long overdue. In hindsight, a USMC specific replacement for the Harrier would have probably come out much cheaper and better suited to the combat role envisioned by the Corps than the F-35B, which has so far proven to be a disappointment.

Forward Deployed, Always Ready but No Longer Alone

No other nation in the world has a power projection tool as large, flexible and capable as the U.S. Marine Corps. There are many nations that maintain marine forces modeled off the USMC, and that maintain a close relationship with the Corps through annual training exercises, as well as training programs specifically designed to enhance specific skills. A cursory look at the marines of many nations reveals at least a similarity in the weapons, equipment and methods employed by the USMC.

The Chinese leadership has seen the need to further develop the strength and reach of its own amphibious warfare arm, the Peoples’ Liberation Army Marine Corps, while also expanding the amphibious mechanized infantry divisions (AMIDs) of the Peoples’ Liberation Army. The standing AMIDs have been expanded from two divisions to four in recent years, while the PLAMC is currently being increased from 20,000 men to 100, 000. These amphibious forces are being provided with the new ZBD/LBT05 family of amphibious assault vehicles and light tanks. The ZBD is the fastest amphibious assault vehicle currently in service anywhere in the world with a speed in the water of 45kph (27mph).

Although the force structure of China’s amphibious warfare forces are strengthening and expanding, the need for greater sealift capability is a crucial weakness that must be remedied. China has made major progress in remedying this shortcoming over the past decade, building 6 large Type 071 LPDs, modernizing its large number of Type 072 LSTs, and is currently constructing the first of an unknown number of Type 075 LHDs. It is apparent that the Peoples’ Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) intends to establish Amphibious Ready Groups/ Marine Expeditionary Units (ARB/MEU) on a similar model as the US Navy and USMC. While the USMC maintains a large edge over any rivals, in the case of China, the edge is slowly shrinking.

In light of China’s expanding maritime territory and area of operations, a larger and more capable power projection force is seen as key to securing its national interests. These forces will be vital in securing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, considering the contested nature of the region. China possesses a clear advantage over its regional rivals in this regard; however, the United States is reluctant to allow China to exert control over the South China Sea uncontested. The fighting forces of the USMC and the large and capable amphibious warfare vessels of the US Navy will play a key role in any theoretical conflict between the two nations in the South China Sea and in Southeast Asia in general. Hopefully, such a struggle between the world’s largest amphibious warfare forces, a struggle which would be a brutal and costly one for both sides, can be avoided through skilled, pragmatic leadership and a pursuit of common interests.

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  • Zainab Ali

    interesting article on yankees’ and china’s maritime developments … for me, russia will be the best of the three due to her soulful/sincere aspect of using her powers to help oppressed countries… God bless russia for aiding syria for 730 days and many more days to come

  • EmilyEnso

    The Corps numbers approximately 182,000 active duty Marines, with a further 38,500 in reserve status

    And each one little more than a terrrorist in fancy dress.
    Inflicting terror and projecting terror.
    Destruction and death.
    The USA is the biggest terrorist state and sponsor of terror this planet has ever seen in its recorded history.
    Lets pray that US terror will be ended in the new multi polar world.

    • RichardD

      Jewmerica is the most Jew infested nation on the planet and provides the military muscle to advance the Jew world order’s hegemony drive. America would be a much different and better place without Jews. Jews are responsible for much of the evil that the US is involved in. Their evil pedophile rape cult should be outlawed and their Israeli crime state extinguished and replaced with Palestine. A Jew free future of peace, prosperity and freedom from Jew evil is a batter future for humanity. The solution for humanity’s Jew problem is to get rid of them.

      • EmilyEnso
        • PZIVJ

          So, you have over 30,000 comments and you are still a fricking idiot.
          This is quite impressive ! :DDDDDD

          • EmilyEnso

            And going on near 300,000 upvotes.
            Shame you have so few.
            By your comment I can understand why.
            LOL

          • PZIVJ

            “And going on near 300,000 upvotes.”
            How pathetic is this statement?
            To measure ones own self worth by how many upvotes on the net :/

          • EmilyEnso

            A better judge I imagine than you are.
            How arrogant of you to rudely discount other people’s viewpoints.
            You played the numbers game first.
            Shame you chose to only use the numbers that suited your opinion.

        • RichardD

          Along with all of the Americans who voted for America First and an end to the these criminally insane Jew wars.

    • SOF

      On its own the USMC has got it down with organizing, logistics and achieving the objective and they push the limits of human physical endurance and fighting spirit. The problem is they are like the hammer that instead of hammering in nails is being used as a murder weapon on the world, with the user being the Deep State and the (((Oligarchy))).

      • EmilyEnso

        You mean they are a threat and menace to humanity itself…
        Yep – who can disagree.

        • Dennis R

          oh god….yeah right, you must be the brains of the operation….Listen, I was a Devil Pup (like a Jr Marine program of full boot camp and training when you turn 15 to see if you wish to enlist) and if you are all almost, in your entirety, absolutely massive intellectual giants, let me tell ya lol…..oh my god…Deep State? REALLY? “The USMC is a threat and menace to humanity itself” LMFAO!!!! Wow….you made my day with that level of retardation. Yes, an organization run by humans lives to destroy humanity itself. Of course….why didn’t i notice when I was there….it wasn’t like we did rescue operations….Or volunteered at diff hospitals etc that were understaffed….When did you last do anything useful for mankind btw? ….hmmm…yeah other than post on here? prob never but thanks for your brilliance! Sharing it with everyone left me in tears laughing…THANK YOU

          • EmilyEnso

            The USA has killed some million people in the Middle East.
            Take a look at Falluja and Raqqa annd dozens of other towns.
            It has illegally attacked the Serbs.
            Attacked the Afghans.
            Attacked the Iraqis.
            Attacked the Syrians.
            Attacked the Libyans.
            All illegally.

            Thats just the biggies.
            And with DU.

            It has created, armed and trained, financed and supported many islamic terror groups.
            In Yugoslavia – the KLA, UCK, The Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda, ISIS, ISIL…..
            Judging from your bombastic semi literate post – you certainly will have been up to your neck.
            Do me a favour, drop dead before you slaughter more innocent people.
            You are indeed an operative for the Deep State- that you casually deny the mass murder, rape and injury inflicted – shows you are yourself a threat to humanity.

    • Thegr8rambino

      Amen 100% truth

  • Solomon Krupacek

    they are the best, because they have budget on level 3/4 of whole russian military budget. here is the end of the false methy about low-budget superiority. baut sure will cime jesus with is politruk agenda. :))))

    • PZIVJ

      Marines formed by the continental congress in 1775, to protect shipping along the coast.
      A very long history indeed. :)

      • Thegr8rambino

        And now they protect CIA opium fields in Afghanistan :/

        • Dennis R

          oh you mean as they BURN them? Oh yeah I remember now…..moron

    • Thegr8rambino

      And all they do is participate in zio-fueled wars

      • Solomon Krupacek

        and? i wrote, they are the best. they win wars. they do their duty. what about you wrote, is the problem of politicians.

        • Thegr8rambino

          Hahahaha which wars did they win? Afghanistan? How’s that going? LOL

          • Are they supposed to win Afghanistan? Better for some to have a continued war that needs more fighting than to have a war won.

          • Thegr8rambino

            Usually that’s what you want out of a war, to win

          • Indeed, though it may be beneficial for NATO’s military to have an ongoing justifiable low-intensity conflict for the purposes of training, budget justification, power projection, etc.

          • Thegr8rambino

            Translation: wasting money protecting opium fields for CIA drug operations

          • Yes, that’s one of the functions of having control over a perceived battlefield. Lawlessness & the benefits of controlling such lawlessness.

            This is similar to the “War on Drugs” & the “War on Cancer”. Drugs & Cancer are mere markets to be controlled & to extract profit from.

          • Dennis R

            Oh god…enough already….I bet yer a Brit or from somewhere intellectually challenging to have such insight. Because let me tell you….the double digit deployed vets I know would be laughing their asses off at you and posting your name all over to made fun of….protecting the poppies? The same ones they set ablaze with the DEA FAST Teams??? Wow……watch out folks. Deep thinker over here

          • John Brown

            So no come back Denis? You must be a Mosaad troll. I gave you your proof the USSA (the racist supremacists Jewish government of American, not Goyim Americans) backs ISIS and Al Qaeda under the orders of their master Israel. I have a lot more but this case where it is even in US Texas courts is irrefutable

          • John Brown

            So do you support pedophilia? Can’t you see when children are sexually tortured and murdered on USA military bases by their allies that you are serving your lord Satan and Satan’s demonic racist supremacist Jews?
            Yes, our troops were ordered to ignore Afghan pedophiles
            By Michelle Malkin September 25, 2015 | 8:37pm
            Modal Trigger Yes, our troops were ordered to ignore Afghan pedophiles
            American soldiers are being punished for blowing the whistle on the systematic rape and enslavement of young boys at the hands of brutal Afghan Muslim military officials.
            Honorable men in uniform risked their careers and lives to stop the abuse. Yet, the White House — which was busy tweeting about its new feminism-pandering “It’s On Us” campaign against an alleged college-rape crisis based on debunked statistics — is AWOL on the actual pedophilia epidemic known as bacha bazi.
            U.S. Troops Told to Ignore Sexual Abuse of Boys by Afghan Forces, Report Says
            By Mark Rivett-Carnac September 21, 2015
            http://time.com/4042104/us-military-afghanistan-sexual-abuse-soldiers/
            U.S. soldiers were instructed to ignore the sexual abuse of boys by Afghan allies, even when it occurred on military bases, according to a report in the New York Times. The policy of looking the other way was designed to maintain good standing with the U.S.-trained Afghan police and militia in a country where the practice of bacha bazi (boy play) is widespread. In some cases, the U.S. ended up arming suspected pedophiles.

  • outer_rl

    At 13:25 “These forces will be vital in securing Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea, considering the contested nature of the region” – your map looks like it points not to the South China Sea, but to the Persian Gulf. Are you about to tell us about China’s new Middle Eastern ambitions?

  • Thegr8rambino

    The USA needs to be stripped of all its military so it can’t keep starting new wars and bringing death and destruction wherever it wants

    • Dennis R

      Oh yeah, because the Middle East and it’s “SUCH crucial oil fields” is worth stripping a superpower of it’s military and only real defense….lol….seriously, that is flawless logic.

  • Travis Kelso

    Former U.S. Navy Veteran here. The U.S. marines are tough as nails but terrible in a bar fight.

    • Dennis R

      I remember sailors running out of the bar once they started losing on MORE than a few occasions….even when it was bigger dudes than us!! LOL…..I wouldnt brag about being USN if you saw what I saw. I was a devil pup so trust me, I don’t favor the USMC either, but if I enlisted, it would be Army (better food/pay/tech/career choices). Either way, point is….USN didn’t impress me.I got several buddies (i’m turning 35 soon) who DID enlist in the USN (I was from San Diego and my older brother and I worked with the guys under Mark Divine @ SEALFIT) and they ended up finallly getting to do BUD/S and be NSW. One of them was EOD for six years, and an assaulter for ST3 for the rest, and being a frog didn’t make him the toughest dude on Earth, despite what TV and people would have you believe. He would be the first to admit that too…

      • Travis Kelso

        Ha, well my bar fighting days in Tijiana where when I was newly enlisted way before the Marines learned how to fight.

  • The scum of the Earth.