Confusion in the USMC?

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by Gook, Dec 19, 2005.

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  1. The Norwgian Marines thread and talking of the different firepower and doctrine between the US Marines and the RM made me wonder is it true that the USMC has now almost completely split from the US Navy? That they have their own Joint chief of staff in the Pentagon and don't come under whatever the Spams call their First Sea lord? CNO?

    When you look at the role they fulfil in Americas orbat they seem to be a "second army" rather than the idea of marines like we, and most other countries use them. As the arm of the navy for fighting the battle ashore, amphibious landings and commando raids and to "kick in the door" to gain a beachhead for the Army units to offload and drive inland. Sure, booty ends up functioning as a rapid reaction force, as a replacement for regular Infantry (overstretching and all) and in other general soldiering tasks but thats because they just happen to be well suited for these tasks. Thats a byproduct of training hard for amphibious landings and commando raids, their primary reason for existing.

    Whereas in the USMC you have Marine divisions mounting up in armoured amphibious APCs and driving on Baghdad, which I'd say is a job really for the Army, the Marines should be concentrating on landings and beachheads to allow those tankers etc to get ashore in the first place. Plus they have a crazy interest in Marine aviation, having their own fixed wing fast jet air force. Someone once told me that the USMC air wing is larger than the RAF, probably bullshit but they're definitely packing more than booty does up aloft! Maybe the USMC has such a voice and influence in Congress that they can ditch the USN and go into running whatever sort of op they want, whether that be massive armoured columns hundreds of miles into the desert or being like the fighter pilots they should've joined the air force to be!

    At the end of the day booty fights on land, has Army sounding ranks and Army looking uniforms, and find themselves working with squaddies probably more than matelots I'd think, but they're still used as part of the naval service, and their role is pretty clear. Whereas the USMC seem to be expanding into whatever roles they can, whilst I heard the USN is forming its own "naval infantry" again now that they have been divorced from the USMC effectively. Its supposed to be out of failed SEAL candidates, but this was so dose of salt to be taken here! Guess its not all that disimilar to what we had in the Royal Naval Commandoes and Royal Naval Division, and Russia has always called its marines "Naval infantry" with navy rates and uniforms as apparently Marines are a symptom of imperialist Western manipulative powers don't you know!

    So where does all this indicate the USMC is heading? A second army and air force of its own, with the USN running its own landings etc with sailors ashore? Surely they need to get back to basics and why the USMC is maintained - and why cant the Army be trusted with some jobs Marines have been doing lately. And do you think that Britain is heading in the opposite direction, with the establishing of a "second Marine Corps" by stealth out of segments of the Army, by putting "The Rifles" regiment into a seaborne role?

  2. I've rather got the feeling that if the cabbageheads had even a vague chance of getting the budget for armour and organic fast air, they'd be doing exactly the same thing as their Spam opposite numbers.
  3. USMC aviation is in fact more than twice the size of the RAF, at least in terms of fast jets:

    RAF (after latest cuts):
    7 x Tornado GR4 sq.
    3 x Tornado F3 sq.
    4 x Harrier sq (2 are RN)

    12 x F18A/C sq
    6 x F18D sq
    7 x Harrier sq (at 16 aircraft per squadron, somewhat larger than RAF squadrons with 9, IIRC)
    4 x EA6B sq

    USMC also operates more Hercules than the RAF and more helicopters of different types than the entire UK armed forces.

    And BTW, the USCG is actually larger than the RN, at least in terms of manpower.
  4. Their aircraft are also a damn site better than ours too!
  5. USMC confused? Who told them! 8)
  6. The USMC are still part of the Dept of the Navy and come under the Secretary for the Navy. Gen Pete Pace is currently the Chairman of the JCS (CDS equivalent) and will be for the next 4 years. Gen Pace is the first CJCS to come from the USMC. Their role is protected by the US Constitution and it would therefore take a constitutional amendment to get rid of them! They are still 'America's 911' force and are responsible for forward presense, e.g. the three MEU/SOCs permanently at sea year round. The USMC does not seek to usurp the US Army but if something is happening it will be impossible to keep them out of it, particularly if it takes the US Army months to raise a force and deploy it. It is not true that the USMC is splitting from the USN, indeed, through concepts like the Expeditionary Strike Group the two services are coming closer together.
  7. If I remember rightly, the USMC is held at below 200,000 in strength by congress. This still makes it bigger than our entire regular forces, but don't know if that number includes guard units.

    On the other hand our army is only slightly above 100,000. By definition, if it sinks below that number it becomes a militia.
  8. IIRC, current USMC strength is about 175,000 with 40,000 reserves.
  9. Giving them a combined IQ of around 107,500. :twisted:
  10. Think this state of affairs is probably a result of WW2/ Cold War needs: broadly, post '45 US Army was focused on Europe, whilst USMC - having done most of the "Island Hopping" in the Pacific War - was left to take care of that region. WW2 Pacific experience convinced USMC of need for integral armour, heavy artillery, air close support etc, and so it evolved into an integrated "all-arms" force in its own right. Politics, as noted, also has much to do with it, plus the fact that MEB/ MEUs are formidable self-contained formations to have up your sleeve - Congress knows that the US would be foolish to get rid of them. No confusion, I feel, just sound military thinking - and they're prepared to pay for it!
  11. The USMC sees amphibiosity as large scale but unadapable ops, were as RM sees amphibiosity as small scale highly adaapable ops.
  12. The USN is developing a kind of Naval Infantry corps seperate from the USMC, to deal with things like guarding port facilities.ships and rigs, etc., and riverine warfare.
  13. the "jobs" you described seems very coast guard to me.
  14. Given the size limits of Uncle Sam's Misguided Children, they rely on the Navy for a lot of non-front-line support. For example, there are no medics in the Corps. All medics are in fact US Navy Corpsmen given a green uniform and told to go play with the Muddies. It means that their 200,000 limit includes a higher number of trigger-pullers. I don't see the interdependence stopping any time soon.

  15. The USMC is, and has been for some time now, a "second Army". This is not about necessity, rather it has become an emotional issue. There is a saying in the Corps: "America doesn't need the USMC, America wants the USMC". It is abundantly true. The Corps has a powerful lobby and if challenged will play every emotional card available. The Corps understands public relations and marketing better than tactics, thus they ensure survival.

    The situation has become faintly ridiculous, what with the USMC duplicating Army and Air Force functions. But, at the end of the day, they've become a hallowed institution and we are stuck with them.

    In case any are wondering, I was a Marine for four years prior to serving in the US Army.