Small Wars Journal

No More Army Adviser Brigades or Amphib Ships? This Proposed Report Could Radically Change How the Services Fight

No More Army Adviser Brigades or Amphib Ships? This Proposed Report Could Radically Change How the Services Fight by Todd South – Military Times

A Senate committee is asking for a report that could radically alter the “roles and missions” of the services - especially the Army and Marine Corps.

Senate bill 2987 calls for the services to put together this report by February. However, the bill is still in draft form and would require House agreement to become law.

The proposal for the report suggests the Marine Corps could take over all counterinsurgency missions from the Army, thereby eliminating the newly established and deployed Security Force Assistance Brigades.

The bill’s authors instead want the Army to beef up its presence in the “great power competition” against Russia and China by increasing the size and strength of its vehicle fleet. The service would also use more drones and fewer manned aircraft to support ground units in the multi-domain fight…

Read on.


The Marine Corps is much too publicity-savvy to allow itself to be binned in a low-profile, relatively low-budget niche.  Turning themselves into an exclusively special-operations force would relinquish their self-proclaimed role as the DoD's experts in forced entry operations, and SOF's typical small-unit orientation removes any reason to keep brigade-sized combined arms task forces afloat.

I used to be an advocate of small carriers, for reasons of fleet survivability and flexibility.  That viewpoint's evolved -- big carriers can shrug off most hits this side of a nuke (which will sink a task force as well).  More importantly, their size allows them to continue operating after taking a few hits, whereas a smaller ship could be put of the fight with a single hit.  More importantly, the bigger ships can carry a more flexible air wing.

I wonder if this will lead to:

- USMC becoming not only the primary COIN force but the primary special operations force for DoD.  I recall (but cannot find) a SWJ article about creating a separate special operations branch of service.  Could the USMC, possessing its own land, sea, & air capabilities, end up in this role…?  Could the Raiders absorb Navy SEALS, becoming Marine SEALs?

- A reduction in the number of U.S. Army SF Groups, perhaps even down to one beefed up SFG, with SF battalions aligned to specific Army Corps…?

- Adding cyber warfare capabilities to the “kitbag” of Army SF elements, or even a complete refocus of SF towards cyber warfare? 

- A reduction in the number of super-carriers in favor of smaller carriers carrying UAVs?


Just some thoughts on a dusty Thursday afternoon in Riyadh.