Small Wars Journal

Marines Were Trying to Get Back to Their Maritime Roots. How's That Going?

Marines Were Trying to Get Back to Their Maritime Roots. How's That Going? - Marine Corps Times editorial

The Marine Corps’ top leaders have talked a lot during the past several years about the need for the Corps to return to its maritime roots. Some Marine leaders like to think that the missions in Iraq and Afghanistan were anomalies, and that the Corps will soon return to its historic role of sea-based expeditionary force. 

But the reality is, the U.S. military continues to rely on the Marines as a land force for confronting the nation’s most challenging ground-level, ­infantry-oriented missions. For better or for worse, we’ve recently seen two stark reminders of how Marines continue to be deployed like a second Army…

It’s hard to know why, whether that’s because ground-level commanders are sending Marines into the more dangerous “advise-and-assist” missions. Or whether Marines have a cultural instinct to push in closer to the fight and make their missions inherently riskier. It’s probably a combination of both. In any event, the WIA stats reveal the prominent role Marines are playing in ­CENTCOM’s primary operation.

Marines welcome the opportunity to deploy for important missions. Yet the Marine Corps and the military and civilian leaders that oversee it should be realistic about what the nation is asking…

Read on.