Small Wars Journal

How the Syrian Battlefield is Preparing the Marine Corps for a Fight with Russia or China

How the Syrian Battlefield is Preparing the Marine Corps for a Fight with Russia or China by Shawn Snow – Marine Corps Times

While much of the conflicts across the Middle East tend toward low tech and low intensity, the fight in Syria is providing Marine commanders with a wealth of knowledge and experience for a future fight with near peer rivals like Russia and China.

 

The Syrian battlefield is littered with a host of tech and weapons that range from Cold War relics to drones, sophisticated anti-tank systems, Russian jets and anti-aircraft systems ― even aggressive electronic warfare tech.

 

The environment is providing invaluable experience to Marines and U.S. military commanders who deploy to the region, but it’s also pushing Marines to retrain skills more salient during the Cold War, like camouflage and reducing electronic and observable signatures.

 

Marine Col. George Schreffler III, the former commander of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command, told reporters during a media roundtable Wednesday that the Corps was learning valuable lessons about a number of high-end threats in the region. Schreffler and the Marines under his command deployed to the Central Command area of operations from April until December 2018.

 

“There currently are threats out there," Schreffler said. “And with our aircrews in particular operating in Central Command is a significant opportunity to assess and deal with these threats ... they’re gaining significant operational experience that’s going to make them more relevant.”…

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