Do we really need MARSOC?

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
Stolen from another website: What is the consensus on this question? IMO using USMC people in SF roles, is a complete waste of time and money! :2c:

The MARSOC - Should the Leopard Change His Spots?

The United States Marines are shock troops, originally used in support of naval actions. Boarding enemy ships at the height of a vicious eighteenth-century sea battle with the air full of flying lead and wooden splinters developed a magnificent breed of warrior, one capable of intensely focused action while in extreme peril. In the twentieth century, the Marines paid a very high price to become the force most associated with amphibious assault landings, delivering troops by sea to sweep an enemy from the beach in order to conduct a brutal land action. Marines are trained to strike the enemy a crushing blow – direct action in the highest and most explosive sense of the word. An aggressive, high-visibility force, our Marines are ready, willing and able to take the will of the United States around the world.

Marines get in as quickly as possible and get out as soon as they can bring the enemy to his knees or obliterate him. Marines then reorganize, reequip, and stand ready for the next crisis. Marines are not used to occupy or repatriate, and the winning of hearts and minds has not been part of their on-duty agenda. According to the current Commandant of the Marine Corps, "The Marines are an expeditionary force, not a sustainment force."

At the other end of the spectrum of warfare, the unconventional soldier of U. S. Army Special Forces is also possessed of extraordinary courage, superb combat skills, and the ability to unleash our country’s military might. In the main, however, the true unconventional soldiers – the Green Berets – operate by conducting long term, low-key operations designed to gain the support of the local population in an area of strategic interest to the United States. Unconventional soldiers have a holistic approach to their complex mission. Green Berets must acquire a cultural understanding of the local populace as well as have the ability to conduct psychological operations and to coordinate civil affairs, all underwritten by a superior capability in conventional small-unit combat tactics, techniques, and procedures. By recruiting, teaching, organizing and advising people in critical areas of the world how to protect themselves, Special Forces soldiers deny our enemies influence in an area that is in our vital national interests to secure. Some of these missions consume years and require the patient attention of unconventional warriors whose training and experience provide an excellent return in terms of economy of force and economy of resources.

In order to conduct successful missions of this nature, a certain mindset is required. Among other things, the entire chain of command must understand the tactics, techniques, and procedures used by Special Forces in the conduct of Indirect Action missions, which are very different than conventional tactics, techniques, and procedures (TTPs). This capability is first developed while attending twelve months of schooling followed by serving three to five years in the SFODA, the basic operating unit of Special Forces, where the boots are on the ground. The Green Beret begins with the excellent Special Forces concepts and doctrine, developed over the course of fifty years, honed during the ten-year war in Viet Nam and in countless Joint and Combined Exercises and Training Missions (JCETs) around the world. Language training and area studies are important tools as the development of the matured and seasoned unconventional soldier evolves with time and experience. In addition, repeated service in the numbered Special Forces Groups is essential to train the chain of command to work with and to support the deployed unit in a way that allows maximum control to the men on the ground (within the parameters of the mission) in order that they can make decisions about what they need in the way of support and when they will need it. Repeated tours in the same area of operations develop valuable relationships between the Group and local leaders. Officers and NCOs need to practice this mindset, which can not be learned in the conduct of direct action missions, nor by merely reading about it. Although they talk the talk, officers and NCOs in conventional elite U.S. Army units such as the Rangers are not trained to conduct the indirect action missions which enable them to understand SF organizations or become adept in SF operational concepts.

Therefore, the notion that the USMC should organize a Marine Special Operations Command is difficult to understand. Yet it has happened, and the MARSOC now has its own website.

Apparently, the MARSOC will be under the operational control of USSOCOM. Will USSOCOM use these Marines to conduct direct action missions in support of Special Forces Unconventional Warfare operations? If so, they would be extremely capable in that mission.

Or are the Marines trying to stand up an organization capable of planning and conducting indirect action missions? If so, they are starting from scratch. Very little, if anything, in their two-hundred-year history will apply. Their website says they are conducting indirect action missions (Foreign Internal Defense) at the present time, but does their experience in these matters allow them to understand their vulnerabilities and shortfalls? The MARSOC may attempt indirect action missions, but the odds of success without the assistance of Special Forces are slim to none. They themselves admit to "a significant shortfall in the ability of an MSOC to be user-friendly" and have embarked on a "reorganization," according to the Questions and Answers page of the MARSOC website.

Their stated goal is to "establish the world-wide standard" in unconventional warfare and to "create a new warrior archetype." Perhaps they should stay in a Holiday Inn Express while working on that. LINK

The Marines did not decide to go in this direction themselves. They were directed to do this by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2005 with the cooperation of then-USSOCOM CG General Doug Brown. And – this is the amazing part – according to testimony before Congress by the USMC Commandant, they were given 1.6 billion dollars to produce between 1,200 and 2,400 Marines capable of conducting Unconventional Warfare.

That is 1,600 million dollars, folks. DOD and USSOCOM are giving the U. S. Marines 1.6B to set up a new command from scratch to learn and to teach operational TTPs dramatically different from the proven capability of the Marines. This new command will require years to establish, and will produce fewer than 2,500 additional unconventional warriors. This force will be less than one-sixth the planned size of the Green Berets, who already have the only demonstrated capability in our Armed Forces to perform unconventional warfare missions. This much smaller force is going to have a start-up cost of 1.6B, but the billions of dollars in the military budget that have been thrown at "Special Operations" over the last six years hint at the strong probability that the cost will escalate before the kinks are ironed out of MARSOC. In comparison, the Green Berets have never seen a billion-dollar budget, although they are the only force in our military inventory that can truthfully be described as warriors, teachers, trainers, advisors, and force multipliers. The 2007 SF budget was less than 120M to recruit and train about 950 new Green Berets. Why is the budget for a UW Marine more than five times the budget for a UW Green Beret?

Could the Marines have acquired the MARSOC mission as a cash-cow?
Would they slide some of the 1.6B over to other targets?
Does a Marine say “Oohrah?”

Could some of the MARSOC funds make up the 1.1B cut in the MV22 Osprey program in FY2007? Have the Marines and US Navy found a way to save the 19 MV22s that were on the Death List? There is an "Inside the Navy" column on Inside Defense.com entitled “Pentagon Cuts 1.1 Billion from Marine Corps’ Osprey Budget” which also dates from 2005. The article states, " . . . naval officials had planned to buy 14 MV-22s in FY-07, 19 in FY-08, 30 in FY-09, 35 in FY-10 and 38 in FY-11. Any reductions to MV-22 production numbers would be distributed over those five years." LINK

If the motivation of the USMC was to embrace the mission in order to get the money, the motivation of DOD and USSOCOM is more problematic. Why would they set up a competing force for the U. S. Army Special Forces, which has been conducting successful unconventional missions for fifty years? Why would they fund it at many, many times the funding received by U. S. Special Forces? There must be more here than meets the eye. Did no one suggest that money for Unconventional Warfare units might be better spent by beefing up U. S. Army Special Forces by restoring previously deactivated Special Forces Groups (6th SFGA, 8th SFGA, 11th SFGA and 12th SFGA)? Actually, under General Brown, USSOCOM did order a slight strengthening of Special Forces, then cut the budget. Do more with less, the Green Berets were told. These actions are strong signals that the contribution of U. S. Army Special Forces is not valued by DOD and that DOD is planning for the continued diminishment of the Green Berets. This devaluation of the smallest of the Army’s combat branches totally disregards the needs of our country and shows disrespect for the contributions of Green Berets throughout the years. It is reprehensible on the face of it. U. S. Army Special Forces is a unique part of our national defense capability, developed throughout fifty years of successful missions, paid for by Green Beret blood.

How does this project benefit USSOCOM? U. S. Army Special Forces are the largest unit in USSOCOM. Why would USSOCOM agree to divert part of their mission to the U. S. Marines? There must have been some really important returns for the money. Has USSOCOM given the Marines part of the SF mission rather than have them play a key role in JSOC, and compete directly with the Rangers and the 160th Special Ops Aviation Regiment for missions, assets, and promotion?

How will the MARSOC benefit the United States? It will be some time before the Marines have totally disciplined their aggressive tendencies, their quick trigger-fingers – those Lance Corporals, you know – but what they lack in subtlety, they make up for in stubbornness. When told to learn Unconventional Warfare, they will not quit. After having molded themselves into one sort of fighting force for more than two and a quarter centuries, why should they now try to modify their tried-and-true model into something so different? It is a stretch to imagine them involved in some of the remarkable but unsung actions in SF: quelling an outbreak of cholera in a village hundreds of miles from the nearest American base, for example. Did they think, when they were groaning their way through Parris Island, that they might be required to spend a week with liquid excrement running off their elbows while rehydrating dying babies and old people? No. When a Marine hears "cookout," does it evoke a memory of roast goat, even for a second? Probably not.

The real point is: why we would want to ask some of the Marines to reinvent themselves when we already have the ideal Unconventional Warfare force? The Marines are showing that by their imitation of the Green Berets. The new MSOT is modeled on the SFODA, with two more members (only no medics, certainly a lamentable omission, robbing them of one of the best entrees into their operational area). Is it a good idea to set up an artificial rivalry within our own military? Is this a time for duplication in the services, with every dollar in the military budget questioned, even threatened, by opponents of the effort in the Middle East? The old adage about not changing horses in midstream is particularly apt here.

How will the MARSOC benefit DOD? Now that General Petraeus has used the surge and some on-the-job training in Unconventional Warfare and Counterinsurgency to turn operations in Iraq around, does anyone remember that General Schoomaker, then Chief of Staff of the U. S. Army, said that our efforts there had "strained the Army to the breaking point?" Our years of muddling around in the Middle East after the successful beginnings in Iraq and in Afghanistan is likely, in part, to be the result of DOD’s refusal to allow input from senior officers with long years of Special Forces experience. Instead, they relied on the shock-and-awe leadership of conventional elite senior officers with perhaps one Special Forces tour at the company-grade level followed by decades of conventional elite service. This, in a confrontation that calls for leadership trained by long years of practice in indirect action missions in villages and neighborhoods.

DOD has established a record of failure to utilize Special Forces assets properly in the present conflict. Far from capitalizing on the initial 5th SFGA success in Afghanistan, DOD took BG Mulholland prematurely out of U. S. Army Special Forces Command instead of letting him continue with the mission. Subsequent American involvement in Afghanistan was turned over to conventional elite leaders, with a predictably degraded result and, as an incredible by-product, eliminating the DRB (Division Ready Brigade) of the 82nd Airborne Division. Equally egregious, the contribution of COL Charles Cleveland and elements of 10th SFGA to the initial actions in Iraq have received little acknowledgment. They tied up 12 Divisions of Iraqi Republican Guard in northern Iraq, while General Franks was making his drive to Baghdad. The Pentagon’s sad record of withholding recognition and reward for the contributions made by the Green Berets should give the Marines pause. Will the MARSOC receive the same treatment?

How will this project benefit the Marine Corps? That is hard to say. They have invested a lot of effort already. After another reorganization or so, the MARSOC’s UW mission could become sand in the gears of the USMC. They will have many adjustments to make. How will this project benefit the Marines who are a part of it? The MARSOC plan seems to be for Marines to serve three years in the MARSOC and then return to their regular Marine Corps units. After three years, an unconventional soldier is still an apprentice. Have the Marines selected their finest for the MARSOC? If so, are they now requiring them to have what will amount to a three-year career interruption?

Marines who have volunteered for U. S. Army Special Forces in the past made good Green Berets. As the MARSOC moves into the future, will Marines who like the new mission and excel at it be appreciated by the Corps, or will they find themselves, like the Green Berets in the Army, doing the impossible for the ungrateful?

Has the USMC asked for the alternate option of taking on the mission of the direct action Special Mission Units? Tailor-made for their talents, this would be a much more cost-effective pairing of men and mission as the Marines are already trained and equipped for missions of this kind. They have a robust command and control capability and arrangements around the world, and they have a delivery system enhanced by the M22-Ospreys and Navy amphibious ships called Landing Platform Helicopters (LPHs).

Provided nobody leaks it to the media, they can come from over the horizon and achieve total surprise. Now that is an unmatched capability for direct action. ** Shock! ** Oohrah! ** Semper Fi!

If we really intend to win the struggle against terrorist factions worldwide and, at the same time, be prepared to defend against other challenges that may emerge as the century progresses, indirect action missions should be left to the Quiet Professionals, the U. S. Army Special Forces.

De Oppresso Liber
MG (Ret) James A. Guest
U. S. Army Special Forces
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
Let MARSOC do DA/SR type missions, and leave FID/UW to SF

IMO DA is a Great job for the Ranger BNs. I do agree; however, on the FID/UW missions.

Perhaps we should keep Strategic Reconnaissance as well. I think ODA's are better at this than most Marine units, because of the way they are trained and operate.

Keep the Marines doing what they do best! Breaking things and making head of the spear type frontal assaults! }:-) :2c:
 
B

Boondocksaint375

Guest
IMO, I think that since SOCOM tasked MARSOC to develop a FID capacity, it was probably needed to supplement (not replace) an overwhelmed SFG.

As a service component of USSOCOM, MARSOC is tasked by the Commander USSOCOM to train, organize, equip; and when directed by CDRUSSOCOM, deploy task organized, scaleable, and responsive U.S. Marine Corps special operations forces worldwide in support of combatant commanders and other agencies. MARSOC has been directed to conduct Foreign Internal Defense (FID), Direct Action (DA), and Special Reconnaissance (SR). MARSOC has also been directed to develop a capability in Unconventional Warfare (UW), Counter Terrorism (CT), and Information Operations (IO). Commander, USSOCOM assigns MARSOC missions based on USSOCOM priorities. MARSOC units then deploy under USSOCOM Deployment Orders.
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
15,901
Location
Not Afghanistan
Perhaps we should keep Strategic Reconnaissance as well. I think ODA's are better at this than most Marine units, because of the way they are trained and operate.

Marine reconnaisance units have done well by the fleet for a number of years. Given the intel driven nature of this conflict extra bodies doing that mission won't hurt and the Marines certainly have a background in doing that.
 

Diamondback 2/2

Infantry
Verified Military
Joined
Jan 24, 2008
Messages
6,798
Location
Tejas
SSMP
Military Mentor
I think its a good idea, however I feel they should go through the SF pipe line... They hit SFAS, Q course, MOS, DLI and operat in the same fashion as a ODA assigned to a SFG...

The more the better:2c:
 

riptide

Unverified
Joined
Feb 14, 2008
Messages
29
Location
Conway
You know i have thought about this issue myself. It doesnt make much sense to me personally. Green Berets have been conducting FID/UW since 1952, so well ya know. Personally i think that we should leave FID/UW to the Green Berets and MARSOC can have DA and SR
 

car

Old NCO (Ret)
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 30, 2007
Messages
2,403
Location
In Transit
IMO, I think that since SOCOM tasked MARSOC to develop a FID capacity, it was probably needed to supplement (not replace) an overwhelmed SFG.

Agreed. Not my lane, but I think Boon's right.

IMHO We've got too many missions for the guys we have available.
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
IMO, I think that since SOCOM tasked MARSOC to develop a FID capacity, it was probably needed to supplement (not replace) an overwhelmed SFG.

Who is 'we?' Are you talking about Rumsfield & Company? Or some of the more DA/Conventional minded Generals at SOCOM?

I would agree that our SF is overtaxed right now; however, I feel it is a mistake to turn this mission over to the USMC.

Keep in mind that it is the USMC's Generals that drug their feet on joining SOCOM for many years. They don't believe in elite units within the USMC, their idea to do the following "MARSOC plan seems to be for Marines to serve three years in the MARSOC and then return to their regular Marine Corps units."

Does that make a lot of sense to you? It sure doesn't to me; however, it is typical USMC thinking! Ever wonder why they did away with their Parachute Division or The Raiders in WWII? IMO the same mentality! :doh:

MARSOC's first action in the 'Stan, wasn't much to brag about either.

Why not just expand SF? }:-) :2c:
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
Marine reconnaisance units have done well by the fleet for a number of years. Given the intel driven nature of this conflict extra bodies doing that mission won't hurt and the Marines certainly have a background in doing that.

Perhaps you missed the word Strategic Reconnaissance.

Typically Marine Recon units are not tasked with that type of Reconnaissance, mission. ;)
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
The Multiple Definitions Of Unconventional Warfare?

Precluding Confusion - The Multiple Definitions Of Unconventional Warfare?

From Merriam-Webster - -
Definition ... a statement of the meaning of a word or word group ... Clarity, Distinctness
Confuse ... to make mentally unclear or uncertain ... Muddle, Befuddle, Addle, Fluster

How many definitions does it take to eliminate confusion? Who was confused? Who is confused now?

What did Colonel Aaron Banks, General Yarborough, General Kingston and General Lutz miss? What part of Unconventional Warfare did they and other Special Forces qualified personnel not comprehend?

January 2007, Definition of Unconventional Warfare (UW) as changed by US Army Special Operations Command (USASOC) (Ft Bragg):

*****"Unconventional Warfare is operations conducted by, with, or through
*****irregular forces, in support of a resistance movement, an insurgency, or
*****conventional military operations."

October 2007, Definition of Unconventional Warfare (UW) as republished in the Department of Defense (DOD) Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms (JP 1-02):

*****"Unconventional warfare — A broad spectrum of military and paramilitary operations,
*****normally of long duration, predominantly conducted through, with, or by indigenous
*****or surrogate forces who are organized, trained, equipped, supported, and directed in
*****varying degrees by an external source. It includes, but is not limited to, guerrilla
*****warfare, subversion, sabotage, intelligence activities, and unconventional assisted
*****recovery. Also called UW. (JP 3-05)"

08/08/09, The US Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) (Tampa), Irregular Warfare "101" pamphlet, uses the DOD Dictionary Definition of Unconventional Warfare (as above).

Other US Army units and units from other Armed Services in USSOCOM have been assigned the UW Mission, which definition do they use? Do they have their own?

Does USASOC or USSOCOM have the capability to provide the force doctrine development support and promulgation that was provided by TRADOC prior to 1997?

Who benefits from the USASOC changes to the definition of UW?
Is it possible that some other service masqueraders are now able to strap-hang on the USASOC definition of UW, whereas they are not capable of performing the DOD and USSOCOM definition of UW?

Do the USASOC changes to the UW definition enable the assignment of the UW Mission to US Army units that are neither trained nor qualified to perform the UW mission as defined by DOD and USSOCOM?

What is the definition of "Graduate Level Unconventional Warfare"? Is it clarifying or confusing?

When individual units in USSOCOM write, teach and abide by their own different definitions of DOD and USSOCOM terminology, is confusion reduced or increased?

How did Congress define Unconventional Warfare when they recently directed USSOCOM to … "place greater emphasis on Unconventional Warfare techniques and missions"?
 

AWP

Formerly Known as Freefalling
SOF Support
Joined
Sep 8, 2006
Messages
15,901
Location
Not Afghanistan
Perhaps you missed the word Strategic Reconnaissance.

Typically Marine Recon units are not tasked with that type of Reconnaissance, mission. ;)


I believe Force Recon is. Regardless, I see no reason why they can't do SR. Besides, we don't have enough ODAs anyway, so it is all academic.

There's simply not enough ODAs to fight on two fronts at once AND rotate units in and out of theater. The Marines are here, might as use them well.
 

Trip_Wire

Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Joined
Jul 16, 2008
Messages
1,560
Location
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
Does it not sound familiar to you old man:D. Regiment?

EDIT* Reference to Wickam/Sullivan Charters

Actually no, I'm not getting what your trying to say 'kid.' :D

Take the SF Regiment though, what if we rotated 18xs through the ODAs every three years? IMO it takes in excess of three to train an individual, in all the needed skills to operate on an ODA and be worth a damn. Then you send him back to the conventional Army or Corps? Doesn't make any sense to me. (Especially XO's Team Sgts and Medics.) :doh:
 

Balls

Leonidas in '08
Unverified
Joined
Jun 26, 2008
Messages
7
Location
N 34.1719 W 118.3245
IMHO:

- Marines are trained to break, destroy, obliterate, and kill. It's the mentality. (See MARSOC, Stan)

- Marines are relieving some of the pressure from overtaxed SF units in FID/UW missions. I believe that SF wrote the book and should lead that charge, but I don't see problem in MARSOC lending a hand where units are stretched thin.

- Marines are very good at DA/SR. SF is very good at DA/SR. SEALs are very good at DA/SR. There's more than enough to go around. This is everyones "SEXY" role.

- USMC is not flexible enough. They need to let loose of MARSOC if they are to be successful. Can't stress that enough.

- Marines are trained to break, destroy, obliterate, and kill. It's the mentality. }:-)}:-)
:2c:
 
8

8'Duece

Guest
Actually no, I'm not getting what your trying to say 'kid.' :D

Take the SF Regiment though, what if we rotated 18xs through the ODAs every three years? IMO it takes in excess of three to train an individual, in all the needed skills to operate on an ODA and be worth a damn. Then you send him back to the conventional Army or Corps? Doesn't make any sense to me. (Especially XO's Team Sgts and Medics.) :doh:

Ouch! :D
 
B

Boondocksaint375

Guest
Who is 'we?' Are you talking about Rumsfield & Company? Or some of the more DA/Conventional minded Generals at SOCOM?

You lost me here.... I don't think I said 'we' once :uhh: If you mean the tasking, look at MARSOC's directive. The Marine Corps didn't just decide they wanted to do FID, SOCOM specifically directed that they have that capability.
 

Rabid Badger

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
May 20, 2007
Messages
3,173
Location
The 'Ville
The MARSOC - Should the Leopard Change His Spots?

According to the current Commandant of the Marine Corps, "The Marines are an expeditionary force, not a sustainment force."

Their stated goal is to "establish the world-wide standard" in unconventional warfare and to "create a new warrior archetype." Perhaps they should stay in a Holiday Inn Express while working on that. LINK

If we really intend to win the struggle against terrorist factions worldwide and, at the same time, be prepared to defend against other challenges that may emerge as the century progresses, indirect action missions should be left to the Quiet Professionals, the U. S. Army Special Forces.

De Oppresso Liber
MG (Ret) James A. Guest
U. S. Army Special Forces

The 'misunderstanding' of the red ink statement above is quoteable in that this mindset is what will doom MARSOC to failure.

There can be no 'worldwide standard' in UW Ops.

Every continent, every theater, every commander of an insurgency is different and must be dealt with differently.

For the Marines to think, much less SAY, we want to standardize 'UW' is idiotic.

Shock troops should stay shock troops. QP's are cultivated. MARSOC could trim down the projected numbers to a more reasonable amount by selecting the best of the best soldiers that are able to 'flip the switch' when they need to.

MARSOC hasn't shown this capability.

Gotta love General Guest. :cool:
 

demo18c

Special Forces
Verified SOF
Joined
Feb 12, 2007
Messages
89
Coming from a DA company in Group taking away DA/SR from SF bumps us out of alot of missions. Wont be that go to guy and lose some funding. Besides the guys behind the fence there isnt anyone better at our SPECIFIC mission set which makes DA look like cake.
 

Marauder06

Intel Enabler
Verified SOF
Joined
Sep 9, 2006
Messages
10,717
Location
CONUS
These actions are strong signals that the contribution of U. S. Army Special Forces is not valued by DOD and that DOD is planning for the continued diminishment of the Green Berets.

Why do I hear so many people clamoring about DoD doing away with Special Forces? Is that even a serious consideration at this point? Didn't each Group recently get authorization for a whole other battalion?
 
Top