Special Forces
Rest In Peace
Jul 16, 2008
Seattle, Puget Sound — PNW
Stolen from another place:

Here is an article written by a long time SF Officer. He expresses a lot of things I agree with and many things that make me wonder about them. I have my own reservations about some of them. I place it here to stem some lively discussion on the merits of some of his proposals.


When I teach martial arts, my main concern is teaching my students how to protect themselves from attack, rape, kidnapping, or abuse, so consequently I teach very functional self-defense techniques, but I also believe they should become “martial artists” and not just “partial artists.” So, in that regard, when teaching aesthetic things such as kata (forms), I employ traditional forms which have been passed down from generation-to-generation with very little change. This balance of martial arts instruction is a microcosm of what also works in the real world.

For balance, we must have tradition in our lives, but we must also have a functional lifestyle. By that same regard, but on an even much higher plain, so does our military. The US military is full of great, rich tradition, but it is also the toughest most functional fighting force in the history of the world. That however may soon end, if we continue to eat our own young, and then we will not suffer defeat from an external enemy, but simply implode from within. What I propose transcends political parties, and it is neither conservative or liberal, republican or democratic. It is simply common sense, practical, and pro-American.

Politicians talk smack, but few, if any, have the actual courage and fortitude to say out loud what many of us will say privately, and what some of us think but do not verbalize. Right now our military tradition is far outweighing the functionality of our armed forces, which costs us billions, but more importantly it makes our military less efficient and consequently less powerful. By making the tough decisions to actually change, like so many politicians like to talk about but never really do; we can make a more cohesive, less costly, and much more functional fighting force than the world has ever seen, but without tossing our hallowed, rich, military tradition out the window. We simply need to overcome our own fear of change. With an upcoming Presidential and congressional election looming, I think it is time to present this very controversial but cost-saving and efficiency-producing solution to our military, which may make some people angry at me, but hopefully it will make some leaders think.

The general overview I suggest will shock and outrage some, but it is what will work. In the very broad look, here is my proposal in a nutshell:

• 1. The US Army should be the one military fighting force that is in charge of and solely responsible for fighting on land.

• 2. The US Navy should be the one military fighting force that is in charge of and solely responsible for fighting on water.

• 3. The US Air Force should be the one military fighting force that is in charge of and solely responsible for fighting in the air.

That is the simple general solution, but let me get into more specifics before loading your firearm, donning your cammies, and looking for my house on Mapquest.

One of the main reasons I have been so proud that two of my sons followed my footsteps into the US Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) was because I naively thought that our military leadership had actually grown by lessons-learned from the Vietnam War, but we have not. We still make some errors in command.

We spend billions of dollars to train company grade officers (lieutenants and captains) and senior NCOs (Sergeants) how to properly deploy and protect troops in battle and accomplish unit missions, and then in the Global War On Terrorism, instead of trusting that small unit commander with “boots on the ground” and who knows the situation, we have “Chairborne-Rangers” sitting in air-conditioned offices and briefing rooms in places like MacDill AFB, the Pentagon, Qatar, Fort Bragg, Eglin AFB, and many higher headquarters all over the world micro-managing the war. That has previously been proven time and again to be a surefire formula for disaster in war, but nobody has the guts to tell flag officers, “Back off, General (or Admiral). Give a captain or a sergeant a job, and then do NOT tell them how to do it, especially when they, or their men and women, are the ones risking earning the Purple Heart (given for wounds or death), and they know the enemy situation on the ground.”

Now, in the Special Operations Command, the new big thing is MARSOC, the Marine Special Operations Command. After 50 years of the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) learning more than any other fighting force about how to successfully conduct Unconventional Warfare, they now want the Marines to take over and do the same thing. This is after five decades of success by USA Special Forces, which has had its operators (Green Berets) learn to speak virtually every language in the world, the customs of every country, and of its indigenous citizens thereof. Befriending folks in remote villages all over the globe, learning how to infiltrate behind enemy lines and interact, co-exist, and actually train and equip those indigenous forces to fight their own battles, so United States troops do not have to be needlessly sacrificed fighting for those countries, Green Berets have become synonymous with successful Unconventional Warfare.

Now, after 50 years of that great experience by the elite Special Forces, the US Marine Corps are being transformed to try to duplicate what Special Forces has done so successfully for decades. How ridiculous, arrogant, and short-sighted! I cannot believe the Pentagon has even allowed it to be a discussion let alone a reality.

Semper Fidelis! The US Marine Corps, I personally believe, has not only the coolest-looking dress uniforms of any of our armed forces, but also by far and away the very best esprit de corps. Marines have always been hard-charging, fire-breathing, butt-kicking, mission-accomplishing warriors, who distinguished themselves with a legacy of courage and honor in many wars at places like Tarawa, Bougainville, Iwo Jima, and beachheads all over the west and east. Do not think I want to do away with the Marine Corps.

However, I suggest that we no longer attack on beaches with Navy ducks or other amphibious craft. That was in the distant past, and this is now. So what is the solution? I think the US Marine Corps is the finest infantry force in the world, but the US Navy, in my opinion, has zero business possessing their own army. The solution is very simple: The US Marine Corps stays the same but simply becomes a branch of the US Army. However, MARSOC, I propose, would be changed to what it actually should be for function: The only Special Operations mission the USMC should ever have is Direct Action, such as Force Recon or Sniper teams, but not UW, unconventional warfare.

Yes, I said it and many, many of us have whispered it for years, because it is efficient and common sense.

So let’s say we have made the USMC part of the Army, now what happens to the US Army Rangers? That is simple: It becomes a reinforcing direct action force for the US Army Special Forces, and the 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force), which it is already doing effectively now. Ranger School can also specialize in Long Range Reconnaissance Patrol (LRRP) training and execution, which is what happened with the original Roger’s Rangers. No units will have LRRP members who have not first earned a Ranger tab.

Okay, Swabbies, I know. To be fair, the army has to lose something, right? Well, it’s not going to actually lose them, in my proposal, but just like the Navy, the US Army, US Navy, and US Marine Corps will turn over all of its aircraft to the US Air Force. Well, in actuality, all helicopter pilots on naval ships and with the US Army, including the USMC branch, will be part of and trained exclusively by the US Air Force, and then will be attached to Army or Navy units.

No more naval and marine aviators or army chopper jockeys. They will all be US Air Force pilots, with both rotary and fixed wings. As mentioned earlier, the US Air Force will be in charge of the skies and any craft that goes into them. Naval aircraft mechanics will still be responsible for maintenance of craft and all flight deck operations, because they do operate on a ship. Likewise, helicopter and fixed wing army mechanics will maintain aircraft on the ground unless a USAF airbase is within close proximity, but all pilots and all aircraft will be USAF, attached to army and navy units.

So, now we might ask what about Navy Seals. Again, I believe that US Navy SEALs have indeed proven their worth and have a legacy of valor. But like the Marines and Rangers, they should only be used for direct action missions, but their missions should only be adjacent to or on the waterways of the world. They will still do the shore-launched sabotage missions, submarine lockout, many underwater missions. Like now, they will be like UDT (Underwater Demolition Teams) on steroids in a sense. The BUDS training qualification for SEALs should still be there to challenge young sailors to the maximum. Navy SEALs however, in my opinion, have no business fighting in the mountains of Afghanistan or sand-blown cities of Iraq, unless they are carrying out a mission on a seaport or coastline.

The US Army Special Forces and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment-Delta (Delta Force) would still use SCUBA and HALO-SCUBA infiltration methodology in lakes and rivers and on oceans only where a SEAL mission would not be applicable. In other words, if it is a UW mission that should only be performed by USASF or Delta Force, such as a hostage rescue on a cruise ship, then a SCUBA infiltration could be used where apropos.

Now, I have suggested taking from the Navy a bit herein, so what about adding to them? Fine, that is simple and common sense. Since it is dealing with oceans, seas, and other large waterways, it will also be efficient, and cost-effective for the US Coast Guard to become a branch of the US Navy. They are their own little Navy already, but would become part of the real deal, but their mission will not change.

Finally, to go into even more detail, the primary unit in the US Army Special Forces (the Green Berets) is the ODA, or 12-man Operational Detachment-A, often called “A-Teams.” It is commanded by a Captain, with a Warrant Officer as Executive Officer, or second-in-command, who come from SF NCOs who attend Warrant Officer school.

This is good in that the XO has experience as a team non-com; however it hurts the US Army Special Forces significantly. One of the reasons I left the army as a young Captain was because my entire commissioned time as a Special Forces-qualified Infantry officer was spent serving in 4 Special Forces Groups, including the 5th Group in Vietnam in 1968 and 1969. I used to write suggestions and pass them up the chain of command and one suggestion, which many others wrote as well, was to make a new branch of the army called the Unconventional Warfare branch or Special Forces branch. Then it could attract young officers, like I was, who loved and believed in the role of Special Forces with a deep and abiding passion and could develop an entire career in that elite unit. In those days, with 4 SF Groups under my belt, my career was essentially ruined.

I had become a “guerilla leader” in the minds of the brass; “too unconventional” was the term often used. Like in my day, and still to this day, conventional military commanders do not understand the US Army Special Forces, or there is professional jealousy, or both. We were and are the soldiers who were and are taught and encouraged to think outside the box and color outside the lines. When you get right down to brass tacks, conventional generals and admirals cannot easily control such men, so they want to destroy and develop something else that they can control. Brilliant! The same type of thinking had lines of British soldiers marching to drums towards our independent-minded fledgling continental army, which they killed by the thousands until we started thinking outside the box and actually won the Revolutionary War by shooting from ambush, firing from behind rocks and trees, and using hit and run tactics.

The British commanders simply wanted to keep marching, halting, aiming, and firing on command. That, the protection of God, and our American fighting spirit were the primary reasons that the British sailed home, heads- hanging, and we became the United States of America.

A few years after I left the army, somebody actually thought and acted outside the bounds of military-thinking, and the branch like some of my contemporaries and superiors and I had proposed, the Unconventional Warfare Branch, was indeed created, but unfortunately we still have not learned, and it is now only a stop-off point for many young career captains. No longer are First Lieutenants ODA XO’s (Executive Officers) and Second Lieutenants ODA XO’s in-training. The USA Special Forces does not have 2nd or 1st Lieutenants anymore, none.

You must be a captain to even try to qualify for Special Forces, but then after qualifying many captains try to do just one tour on an ODA. Not wanting to get stuck in staff jobs, they move on to other units such as the Rangers or airborne infantry outfits so they can still command troops and see action. Most of the good lieutenants who want to go to SF when they are promoted are simply kept with the conventional units where they have served. Worse yet, many young qualified men, like my sons, have no desire to go to Officers Candidate School (OCS) and become officers, because they cannot even get into Special Forces until they reach Captain, if they are even then allowed to go to Selection (SF qualification).

SF Warrant Officers can only become Chief Warrant Officers and can only make more money, but they can never become Captains or higher. They can never command ODA’s or go on to become majors, colonels, and so on. Utilizing the same theory as the SF warrant program, I strongly suggest changing the process, and experienced Special Forces NCOs can apply for a direct commission to First Lieutenant if they are a Sergeant First Class(SFC E7) or higher, and they become an ODA XO, eventually making captain and becoming an ODA commander. Additionally, experienced Special Forces Staff Sergeants (SSG E6) can apply to become second lieutenants. Or already commissioned second lieutenants can go through Special Forces qualification and continuous training like I did, to get them ready to become an A-team XO and eventually CO. This gives young leaders actual incentive. Higher pay is not an incentive to them; Having an opportunity to advance and take on greater challenge is.

This will attract many more young officers to make a career out of Special Forces and not pursue command time in other units. It will also, like the current Warrant Officer program, afford Special Forces NCOs who wish greater advancement but actually keep being promoted to higher rank. Upon direct commission, the new officer will attend a short UW branch officers course. Current Special Forces Warrant Officers can also apply for commission to lieutenant and will be given priority.

At a higher command level, when I was in Special Forces, one problem was that senior SF officers had to deal with being the lowest rank there in command structure in theater during war. For example the head Green Beret in Vietnam, the 5th Special Forces Group commander, in charge of all A-Camps, special projects, and B and C team headquarters all over Vietnam was only a full colonel, while affiliated military divisions were being commanded by brigadier and major generals. I could not believe that still has not changed after all these years. I suggest that Special Forces Group command structure should change the TO and E (Tables of Organization and Equipment) so that Group commanding officers will be brigadier generals.

Since a Special Forces battalion is much different than a conventional battalion, SF battalion commanders, under my proposal, will be full colonels, unlike the rank of lieutenant colonel now.

We are most definitely winning the Global War on Terrorism, and “the surge” has positively shown it is working much better than ever expected. We have the finest and toughest fighting force in the world, but the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have also shown us our weak areas where we can and should significantly improve. If US military command truly wants to improve, and if congress truly wants to cut costs, I hope someone will actually read this editorial and give it some thought. These are suggestions, not cast in concrete, but written in pencil so they can be revised and improved upon.

The problem with my proposal and what faces us, is two-fold: will professional jealousy, Pentagon politics, and competition between military branches eventually destroy us from within, or will we become smarter than that and learn it is also okay to shoot from behind trees and rocks, use hit and run tactics, and even let some of our elite troops color outside the lines.? The second question is: Aside from General Petraeus, do we still have any flag officers with the guts to think and act against the grain, or have so many of our senior leaders only developed the courage to speak out against their own chain of command on national politics because of a promised political position after retirement, then wonder why their own troops will not even follow them to the mess hall let alone to hell and back?

To me, a true warrior is willing to grow and innovate. The American fighting spirit and initiative that created Roger’s Rangers, defeated a much stronger, more highly-trained, and much larger army and navy that could only think and act the way it had previously performed . . . for centuries. It was not just our fighting spirit and valor, but by actually thinking and acting outside convention, that we became the United States of America and not South Canada, a proud but subservient British possession.

Don Bendell

Can you PM me a link, or the article w/ a source so I can send it to my father? He's ex-Army and would enjoy reading this.
This is BS and really nothing but thinly veiled attack on the Corps and a way to drum up more business for the Army. When the Army stops trying to be expeditionary, then we'll talk.

The Corps has been doing all these things (FID, UW, etc) as long as if not longer than the Army.
This is BS and really nothing but thinly veiled attack on the Corps and a way to drum up more business for the Army. When the Army stops trying to be expeditionary, then we'll talk.

The Corps has been doing all these things (FID, UW, etc) as long as if not longer than the Army.

I'm not doubting you, but can you back that up? I'd like to read about it.

I would disagree that Army is trying to drum up more business however. I can't imagine possibly having any more business than what we have at the moment.
I'm not doubting you, but can you back that up? I'd like to read about it.

I would disagree that Army is trying to drum up more business however. I can't imagine possibly having any more business than what we have at the moment.

Read about the Banana wars. Or even the history of Chesty Puller.

The Small Wars Manual is a United States Marine Corps manual on tactics and strategies for engaging in certain types of military operations.
The USMC's role in small wars has a long and complex history. During the early years of the 20th century, the Corps was widely viewed as the nation's overseas police and initial response force. Moreover, the actual execution of these roles were a natural adjunct of the Corps' officially directed mission of sea-based power projection, in turn buttressed by its fundamental expeditionary operational character; i.e., the availability for "sudden and immediate call."
As a result of this "natural fit" and the experience of a series of guerrilla wars and military interventions loosely known as The Banana Wars, the Marine Corps began to systematically analyze the character and requirements of operations short of war proper, or "Small Wars". Major S.M. Harrington of the Marine Corps Schools delivered a formal report The Strategy and Tactics of Small Wars in 1921. In addition, Major C. J. Miller wrote an 154 page report on the 2nd Marine Brigade's operations in the Dominican Republic titled Diplomacy and Spurs in the Dominican Republic in 1923. Versions of these and other reports were serialized in The Marine Corps Gazette and additional articles on the subject appeared in The Marine Corps Gazette and the Proceedings of the U.S. Naval Institute.
This is from Wikpedia if you want to look it up. It also lists the chapters of the book. The Army SF has taken it to a new hight and profesionalism, but the Marine Corps has been doing it for a long time as well on a much lower level.
This is BS and really nothing but thinly veiled attack on the Corps and a way to drum up more business for the Army. When the Army stops trying to be expeditionary, then we'll talk.

The Corps has been doing all these things (FID, UW, etc) as long as if not longer than the Army.

whoever it may seem like he's "bashing", the truth is obvious. There is too much one-upmanship, too many pissing contests, and too much prejudice between and within the force. All of it is hindering our military.
whoever it may seem like he's "bashing", the truth is obvious. There is too much one-upmanship, too many pissing contests, and too much prejudice between and within the force. All of it is hindering our military.

True, some the services forget that their purpose is to support, either directly or indirectly, the boots on the ground.
Read about the Banana wars. Or even the history of Chesty Puller.

This is from Wikpedia if you want to look it up. It also lists the chapters of the book. The Army SF has taken it to a new hight and profesionalism, but the Marine Corps has been doing it for a long time as well on a much lower level.

Looked it up, read most of it, and came away with this:

The Wiki didn't relate to me anything about FID, UW...or anything close. I'm not disparaging the Marines....don't take it that way....

This is what I got from your link: Shock troops, as discussed before, and nothing wrong with that either.


While the Marine Corps does not employ any unique combat arms, as a force it has the unique ability to rapidly deploy a combined-arms task force to almost anywhere in the world within days. The basic structure for all deployed units is a Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) that integrates a ground combat element, an aviation combat element, and a logistics combat element combat component under a common command element. While the creation of joint commands under the Goldwater-Nichols Act has improved inter-service coordination between the U.S. military services, the Corps' ability to permanently maintain integrated multi-element task forces under a single command provides a smoother implementation of combined-arms warfare principles.[5]

The close integration of disparate Marine units stems from an organizational culture centered around the infantry. Every other Marine capability exists to support the infantry. Unlike some Western militaries, the Corps remained conservative against theories proclaiming the ability of new weapons to win wars independently. For example, Marine Aviation has always been focused on close air support and has remained largely uninfluenced by air power theories proclaiming that strategic bombing can single-handedly win wars.[16]

This focus on the infantry is matched with the doctrine that "Every Marine is a rifleman," a focus of Commandant Alfred M. Gray, Jr., emphasizing the infantry combat abilities of every Marine. All enlisted Marines, regardless of military specialization, receive training as a rifleman; all officers receive training as infantry platoon commanders.[17] The value of this culture has been demonstrated many times throughout history. For example, at Wake Island, when all of the Marine aircraft were shot down, pilots continued the fight as ground officers, leading supply clerks and cooks in a final defensive effort.[18] As a result, a large degree of initiative and autonomy is expected of junior Marines, particularly the NCOs, (corporals and sergeants), as compared with many other military organizations. The Marine Corps emphasizes authority and responsibility downward to a greater degree than the other military services. Flexibility of execution is implemented via an emphasis on "commander's intent" as a guiding principle for carrying out orders; specifying the end state but leaving open the method of execution.[19]

But to say the Army is 'drumming up business'??....Huh????

The mere invention of MARSOC would seem to say the EXACT OPPOSITE.
Lewis B. 'Chesty' Puller's Navy Cross citations:
Rank and Service: First Lieutenant , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: attached to the Nicaraguan National Guard
Conflict: Second Nicaraguan Campaign
Date of Action: 16 February to 19 August 1930
Place of Action: Nicaragua
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: For distinguished service in the line of his professional while commanding a Nicaraguan National Guard patrol. First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, United States Marine Corps, successfully led his forces into five successful engagements against superior numbers of armed bandit forces; namely, at LaVirgen on 16 February 1930, at Los Cedros on 6 June 1930, at Moncotal on 22 July 1930, at Guapinol on 25 July 1930, and at Malacate on 19 August 1930, with the result that the bandits were in each engagement
completely routed with losses of nine killed and many wounded. By his intelligent and forceful leadership without thought of his own personal safety, by great physical exertion and by suffering many hardships, Lieutenant Puller surmounted all obstacles and dealt five successive and severe blows against organized banditry in the Republic of Nicaragua .

NAVY CROSS (1st Gold Star)
Rank and Service: First Lieutenant , U.S. Marine Corps (03158)
Organization: attached to the Nicaraguan National Guard
Conflict: Second Nicaraguan Campaign
Date of Action: 20 September to 1 October 1932
Place of Action: Nicaragua
Authorized by: The Navy Department Board of Decorations and Medals
Citation: First Lieutenant Lewis B. Puller, United States Marine Corps (Captain, Guardia Nacional de Nicaragua) performed exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility while in command of a Guardia Patrol from 20 September to 1 October 1932 . Lieutenant Puller and his command of forty Guardia and Gunnery Sergeant William A. Lee, United States Marine Corps, serving as a First Lieutenant in the Guardia, penetrated the isolated mountainous bandit territory for a distance of from eighty to one hundred miles north of Jinotega , his nearest base. This patrol was ambushed on 26 September 1932, at a point northeast of Mount Kilambe by an insurgent force of one hundred fifty in a well-prepared position armed with not less than seven automatic weapons and various classes of small arms and well-supplied with ammunition. Early in the combat, Gunnery Sergeant Lee, the Second in Command was seriously wounded and reported as dead. The Guardia immediately behind Lieutenant Puller in the point was killed by the first burst of fire, Lieutenant Puller, with great courage, coolness and display of military judgment, so directed the fire and movement of his men that the enemy were driven first from the high ground on the right of his position, and then by a flanking movement forced from the high ground to the left and finally were scattered in confusion with a loss of ten killed and many wounded by the persistent and well-directed attack of the patrol. The numerous casualties suffered by the enemy and the Guardia losses of two killed and four wounded are indicative of the severity of the enemy resistance. This signal victory in jungle country, with no lines of communication and a hundred miles from any supporting force, was largely due to the indomitable courage and persistence of the patrol commander. Returning with the wounded to Jinotega , the patrol was ambushed twice by superior forces on 30 September. On both of the occasions the enemy was dispersed with severe losses.

YUT :)
If you don’t mind 2 cents from an outsider.

Nobody doubts SF expertise on UW and FID, not even the Marines of MARSOC. They seem to know they have a lot of ground to cover.

And I presume nobody doubts that the USMC has vast past experience in small wars.

Including CAP platoons in Vietnam.

I can understand that some in SF don’t particularly like the creation of another SOF that seems to want similar types of missions (according to official MARSOC statements about FID and UW). Some also believe that USMC current policy for 5 year tours in MARSOC is a no-go for UW expertise.

On the other hand, it is pretty obvious that USOCOM wanted more “phase zero” capability and the Marines were an un-tapped source. Hence MARSOC.

And understandably the Corps is not willing to make Green Berets out of their men (so they would not send them through SFQC for a full year, as some suggested) since they stress that these Marines will rotate back to the “mother Corps” after the 5 years and then maybe get back to MARSOC for another tour.

The article of the first post has a lot of other interesting topics like the idea of direct commissioning for some SF NCOs, although it is understood that the “mother ARMY” (and all armed forces nowadays) want their Os to be “generalists” and with a college degree.

What could happen is to have direct commissioning of NCOs, with an advancement limit of say 0-4 or O-5 without college, or the obligation to get a degree “as you go”, in order to advance any higher.

Plus getting 1st LTs back for XO positions seems rational. This way an LT will have time to train for a year, do a tour as an XO, go to Captains course, and come back for a second tour as a captain with an ODA before going to other assignements.

PS: A while back I read a paper, ( by an Army Officer- I cant recall if he was SF but he most probably was) suggesting another solution. Majors for ODA CO positions with CPTs for XO.
What do you think?
While I do not necessarily agree with the original article that started this thread, I do believe there is a point to be made regarding "oneupmanship".

Here's the bottom line. Today we find ourselves confronted by an adaptive, ever growing, network centric organization of global terrorists and despots whose sole intent is to end our existence. They do not care if their enemy wears Ranger taps, a green beret, EGA's or the SEAL's trident... there only goal is to see us die and our way of life end.

With this in mind, I say the more special operators the better... no matter what uniform they wear. I say we rain them down from the sky, charge them across the desert and raise them from the waterways. As long as our rounds and blades find their way to the enemy's hearts, any means necessary to do so is permissible and needed.

When there is no more enemy, but peace... then we can have a pissing contest over bureaucracy. In the mean time, as long as each respective force excels at killing the enemy, no force should fear that another branch is stepping on their turf. Remember, every moment we spend arguing over these disputes, the enemy is planning our deaths.

Perfect example, look at Aafia Siddiqui and her plans for NYC.
IMO, this article is wrong. We need those SEALs in A-stan and Iraq, hostage rescue on the water; and honestly the Corps become a part of the Army....really? Hahaha i dont think that would happen in a million years. We are all fighting the same war for the same reason, does it matter if the Navy has the Corps and SEALs as their "private army", not really they're contributing to the fight. More experienced elite manpower on the ground the better.
Very interesting article. Paradigms are a bitch.

Thank you.:)
I'm not doubting you, but can you back that up? I'd like to read about it.

I would disagree that Army is trying to drum up more business however. I can't imagine possibly having any more business than what we have at the moment.

Sorry it's taken me so long to get back to you; I've been travelling and didn't want to give you a half-ass reply.

Here's why I think its BS. This same thing (let's get rid of the Marine Corps) has been said over and over at least since the end of WW II, but nothing has ever come of it for a few simple reasons. I think Krulak (the elder) said it best in his book "First to Fight". I'm paraphrasing his words, but he said that we have a Marine Corps for two reasons. 1) America wants a Marine Corps, and 2) we're cheaper than the Army. Historically, the Corps has sucked down a very small percentage of the defense budget in return for the forces it provides. When we get as expensive as the Army (or America loses faith in its Marines), then the Corps will disappear.

I agree about getting rid of the "one-upmanship". We need to figure out what the missions of our various services consist of, and then train to that standard. Even our current Commandant is talking about how we are becoming too heavy to perform our "real" mission. IMO, we need to return to something similar to our pre-WW II days, where the Marines were "State Department" troops, serving in an expeditionary and entry capability with the Army providing heavier follow on forces as required.

Historically, the Corps has been very involved in FID and UW. Between the CAP units of Vietnam (Marine squads embedded with South Vietnamese units) and the assignment of Marines to foreign units in the Banana Wars of the 20th century, Marines have been involved in FID for a long time. Heck, look at the Barbary Wars, with Marines leading mercenaries to defeat the Barbary Pirates.

I guess what is really starting to burn my ass is the proliferation of articles (not this one in particular, but in general) characterizing Marines as brainless, H&T wearing idiots who only understand the frontal assault and aren’t worthy of being part of SOCOM. I know some very smart Marines (and some stupid ones too; probably in about the same proportion as Soldiers) who would succeed where ever they go.
My principal issue with all these "expansion initiatives" is what I call "professionalizing the force".

It's all well and good to have things like "MARSOC" and the Navy's "Expeditionary Combat Command". But if there is no way to retain talent, then it's essentially a 3-5 year tourist event. My understanding (please correct me if I'm wrong) is that the Marines are not going to create an MOS for the special operations-trained personnel. So, eventually, investments in time and training are going to be dissipated. This is especially egregious for folks funded under MFP-11 (SOF) dollars who return to the conventional (MFP-2) force and never return.

By the way, this is enough of an issue with support personnel, but that's the price for "borrowing" folks from the services.

The Navy is repeating this mistake with some of its newer expeditionary capabilities like Civil Affairs. There is no "expeditionary" rate or even NEC (Navy version of MOS). There is an EXW "pin" but that provides little chance for a Sailor or officer to return to most of the expeditionary units (exceptions are SeaBees, EOD and I believe Riverine). Interestingly, there is little chance of even getting Navy folks who deployed on IA tours as civil affairs or on MiTT teams into expeditionary units. Hopefully, that will change, but only for one tour anyway.

So, while it's nice to expand capabilities, if the Services are not going to see these as capabilities to retain, we're throwing good money after bad. USSOCOM is "service-like" but not a Service. (For those interested, the "case" has been made twice, but the massive costs associated with doing that are not worth the benefits.)

Not for nuthin' but for whatever pains existed/do exist regarding the transition, US Army Special Forces benefited in the long run since the 18-series was created. (It would benefit more if support personnel who earn the "S" identifier would be retained for multiple, career enhancing tours in SOF.) The point being that, in order to have a true capability, it must be a lifestyle choice, not an interesting highlight or temporary side-track on an otherwise conventional career path.

This is BS and really nothing but thinly veiled attack on the Corps and a way to drum up more business for the Army. When the Army stops trying to be expeditionary, then we'll talk.

The Corps has been doing all these things (FID, UW, etc) as long as if not longer than the Army.

The Marines key strength is their combined arms team. I've always admired that. In many ways, less fixed wing aircraft, the Army has turned to that model with the Brigade Combat Teams. 82d/101st guys: I know the DRB's have been doing this since the formation of the Rapid Deployment Task Forces in the 70's, but let's give credit to a good idea!

But just because it needs to be said:

The Army is as expeditionary as the Marines. The difference is who provides the ride.

And I seem to recall that the Army has executed as many amphibious ops as the Marine Corps (or more).

Regarding small wars, yes the Marine Corps did a lot of that at the turn of the 20th Century. Then, when it stopped being cool, they dropped it like a bad habit. Yes they wrote a great book about it. But when it was time to form SOCOM, the Marines were uninterested...until it was in their financial interest to be interested.


I think the Marines are a good FID force. If they ever decide what to call it, it will be a great complement to the USA SF FID effort. (I understand that MARSOC is doing away with this as a discreet force - this would be unfortunate, if true).

There's no doubt they are a great DA/SR force. I think that those Marine SO companies will fill critical gaps, again complementing the existing SOF force structure.

The question is: Does the Marine Corps want to spend MFP-11 money to improve the Corps, or does the Corps want to increase the MFP-11 investment in SOCOM?

Another :2c: