Small Wars Journal

Marine Corps Gazette Twofer: IW Evolution and a Response

Evolving the Marine Corps for Irregular Warfare by Captain Jason Topshe, Marine Corps Gazette

The concept of an evolution to a new type of warfare has been understood for decades, but the U.S. military, the Marine Corps included, has failed to adapt to the changing methods of waging war. The type of warfare that goes by the names irregular, counterinsurgency, low-intensity, and hybrid, among others, is not new at all. Although the methods used in this type of war may seem unfamiliar or un-warlike to a conventionally trained military, it is war nonetheless. While the Marine Corps still relies solely on the methods of conventional maneuver warfare, or even older ones of attrition and massed firepower, our enemies have adapted other ways of defeating us. Both state and non-state actors have used terrorism, propaganda, recruitment through social media, and combined regular and guerilla tactics to defeat far technologically superior forces. No matter what name we give to the poorly understood methods of irregular war, the fact remains that it is still war, and we must adapt if we are to be successful in it. As our enemies’ methods of war have evolved, ours must evolve as well if we want to remain relevant. It is time for the Marine Corps to change the way it thinks about, trains for, and carries out irregular warfare…

Read on.

Sprinting to Fight the Last War: A Response to “Evolving the Marine Corps for Irregular Warfare” by Major Ian T. Brown, Marine Corps Gazette

Every so often, a long-dormant idea is rediscovered by a new generation, dusted off, and proffered as a wise solution by the ancients to a modern problem. There are also ideas, which, while once valuable, eventually outlive their usefulness and require a new paradigm to replace them. Capt Jason Topshe’s article (MCG, January 2016) on irregular warfare and light infantry is a convergence of both phenomena. In this case, he resurrects the proposal to turn the Marine Corps into a light infantry outfit to fight “fourth-generation” wars, a concept, which, while once useful in characterizing certain conflicts over the last 25 years, should be discarded in favor of a new paradigm. Our current threat environment is dangerous enough without seeking to “fight the last war” using an organizational concept that the Marine Corps did not adopt a quarter-century ago when it arose, for good reason…

Read on.