Marines to reduce force by 12,000

| March 25, 2020

U.S. Marines with Headquarters Company, 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force, conduct a conditioning hike for pre-deployment training at Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, Calif., Jan. 30, 2019.THOMAS SPENCER/U.S. MARINE CORPS

One of our ninjas sends us this disturbing article, and adds:

Please note the same Marine Commandant  who is listed in the story below (General David Berger) is making other changes in the Marine Corps, i.e. he wants to banish ALL Confederate paraphernalia and symbols to include flags from all Corps Installations, wants to see more Female Officers leading Infantry Battalions, and will consider bring back Women who  have left active duty if they are willing to serve in ground combat jobs that were previously only open to men.

Decrease artillery units and get rid of tanks in 10 years


The Marine Corps has decided it must eliminate its tank battalions and reduce its infantry and artillery units in 10 years as it converts its force to one more aligned with taking on potential adversaries such as China, the service announced Monday.

Gen. David Berger, the Marine commandant, said in October that the Marine Corps is “not optimized for great competition. It is not optimized to support a naval campaign.” The reality of the world has forced them to “throw out old assumptions and start fresh,” he said at the time.

Since summer, the Marine Corps has undergone a review of its personnel, units, and equipment to determine what type of forces the service will need to fight future battles.

The Pentagon’s 2018 National Defense Strategy puts China and Russia as the major world powers that the United States must be prepared to challenge as America’s military advantages decline. The economic policies of China and its militarization of the South China Sea and Russia’s efforts to undermine NATO and its nuclear arsenal are major concerns for the U.S. military, according to the National Defense Strategy.

“The Marine Corps is redesigning the 2030 force for naval expeditionary warfare in actively contested spaces, fully aligning the service with the direction of the [National Defense Strategy],” the service Combat Development Command said in a statement, adding it will continue to evaluate and adjust the force design.

The Marine unit categories that will see reductions in 10 years are:

• Infantry battalions will go down to 21 from 24
• Artillery batteries will go to five down from 21
• Amphibious vehicle companies will go down to four from six
• F-35B and F-35C Lightning II fighter squadrons will have less aircraft per unit, from 16 aircraft down to 10.

Tilt-rotor, attack, and heavy-lift squadrons will also have reductions and deactivations. The Marine Corps will eliminate its law enforcement battalions, units that build bridges and reduce the service personnel by 12,000 in 10 years, a less than 7% reduction in the service’s total force, according to the statement.

More here: Stars and Stripes

Decrease capability to better face the threats? Yeah, no.

We have the best ninjas, thanks.

Category: "Teh Stoopid", "The Floggings Will Continue Until Morale Improves", Defense cuts, Disposable Warriors, Guest Link, Marines, ninja

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ok, I’ll admit to not being all that smart, but can someone please explain to me how decreasing capabilities across the board makes the Marine Corps better prepared to take on Russia or China???


Exactly what I was thinking. If we’re going to focus on preparing for the potential adversaries that are the closest things we have to near-peer competitors, how does reducing combat power do that – especially eliminating tank battalions?


As a former Marine…wtf is he thinking


It’s like he told Amos “Hold my beer and watch this shit”


Took the words right off my keyboard… WTF!


But the anti-ship missiles…..


Sounds like General David Berger is expecting Sanders to win. Also, he is an ass hole for fucking things up when they’re working well.

Green Thumb

Berger is a clown.

Huey Jock

“To the Shores of Tripoli”

Let’s not forget the “First Service”.

I don’t see the Air Farce assaulting any beaches. (No, That’s not a typo)

Drag Racing Maniac

“I don’t see the Air Farce assaulting any beaches. (No, That’s not a typo) ”

We don’t need to… we have B-52’s and Minuteman III’s.

A Proud Infidel®™️

I don’t ever remember playing Air Force as a kid either!

Drag Racing Maniac

I did…. 🙂

Lurker Curt

I’m a former Army REMF truck mechanic (was in a FA unit in Germany during Desert Shield/Storm, that’s as close as I got) and I know these are dumbass moves…

CplMajor Mike

As another Old Marine Grunt I can honestly say that I never felt like I had TOO much help around.


So having less artillery, tank, and air support makes the ground-pounders so much more lethal that they can be reduced almost 15% and be more effective? Is Berger stationed someplace where pot is legal?


Well he is in D.C.


It’s Stars and Stripes. Need we say more?

In any event, is there really a need to talk about this publicly? Projecting plans is never a good idea. Well, except when it’s part of a disinformation campaign. Yeah. That’s gotta be it. Uh-huh.

Jeff LPH 3, 63-66

Who’s he working for, the USA or China and Russia. Someone check his possible Swiss bank account if he has one and other monetary holding facilities.

The Other Whitey

Uhh, China has lots of tanks. Logically the majority of scenarios that involve Marines trading bullets with ChiComs again will include lots of Chinese tanks. How the hell exactly is getting rid of the Marine Corps’ tanks better preparing them to fight the Red Chinese?

As for reducing infantry and artillery, I know every Marine is a rifleman, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that the cooks, clerks, and janitors should be the tip of the proverbial spear. If they’re expecting a fight, wouldn’t it make more sense to have MORE of the guys whose primary job it is to kill bad guys, not less?

But I’m on the outside looking in, so what the hell do I know?

USMC Steve

I would be pushing for more men, like at least 250,000 in the corps, more infantry, larger battalions, more tanks per tank battalion, more Arty,you know the stuff that can actually make us more lethal. And I thought that freaking winger was a hot mess. This guy is going to radically fuck up our beloved Corps.

Combat Historian

Kind of a gyrene version of Merrill McPeak, except much more dangerously Woke and SJW…


Vern Clark and ‘optimal manning’.


If he goes full McPeak and changes their dress blues, he will legit need to go into hiding.


According to an article I read, the Marines are focusing on the small islands and atolls that the ChiComs have turned into military bases in the South China Sea. The Commandants’ rationale is that those islands and atolls aren’t large enough for maneuvering tanks or using large tube artillery. Okay, I can almost buy that, limited as it is (I guess there are no plans for fighting on larger islands such as Guam, the Philipines, Taiwan…). But how in the hell does he justify stripping air assets in that scenario? Air support would be even more critical in such an island hopping campaign. Maybe, like Hank Johnson, the Commandant is afraid all that weight will cause the islands to tip over and capsize.


Army ATC, how silly of you to think we might call on the 3d Marine Division on Okinawa to defend those turncoats on Taiwan should the Chi-Coms decide to embark on a “friendly” reunification program. I’m sure that has nothing to do with our keeping one of our three Marine divisions forward deployed across the Pacific since 1955.

And it’s absurd to think the People’s Army might include a few hundred, if not a few thousand, tanks in their amphibious reunification force.

I swear, where do people come up with these silly ideas?



Lol at putting 3 regiments on Oki. 2-3 battalions rotating in for deployment is….less than popular with the locals.

Not to mention where the hell does he think he’s going to house everyone? Build new barracks in NTA? It’s not like any of the locals are going to sell land and the local government is not going to cave easily.

And reducing the amount of infantry to meet future warfare needs? Someone please explain that math to me.

While I’m sure the elimination of PMO will be initially met with much joy by the rank and file Marine, that will soon be dampened when they discover how much of a d*&k DoD police can be. I can’t wait for the fireworks the first time a battalion commander gets thrown in cuffs for impeding an “investigation”.

Hell, why the new Commandant is at it, why doesn’t he just outsource all war fighting duties to the Navy and the Army. The Corps will keep the band, the silent drill platoon, and continue to make recruiting ads.

There’s lots of change that needs to happen to keep abreast of new changes. And the Marine Corps refocusing on their maritime mission is a good thing. But methinks the brass needs to remember Lejeune’s core philosophy on forced entry from the sea “…an unstoppable hurricane…” To do that you need lots of guys with guns.

As I get older the more I get convinced key leaders refuse to read/learn from history.

Ron B. L.

When you look at the Marines, you will find a number of specialized divisions. The Marines aren’t really intended to be used as regular ground troops. We’ve got the Army for that. The Marines will work with the Navy, and also engage in a wide variety of other operations. They are special forces. It’s probable that the capabilities of the Marines will remain constant, even as the number of personnel goes down.
Maybe they’ll get some great new equipment.

It’s also important to remember that we are facing a number of adversaries all at the same time, and we are greatly outnumbered. So we can’t fight a traditional war. We will need to employ heavy weapons, again and again. The Marines will probably be part of that job.


The Marines only have three divisions, not “a number of,” and they’re specialized alright, as infantry, intended to be used as ground troops, as they have been in every major conflict of the past 100+ years. With the exception of MARSOC and the Force Recon battalions, they are not special forces.

Their primary difference from Army Infantry is their mode of deployment. Whether you land by parachute, helicopter or amphibious vehicle, once your feet hit the ground, you’re infantry.


Really more like 2 1/2 divisions. 3rd MARDIV is largely a composed of units from the states.


” We will need to employ heavy weapons, again and again.”… Exactly the point most here are making… those “heavy weapons” would be the tanks and artillery that are being cut…


I say make ALL combat arms female or trannies. Get rid of all weapons and increase the max BMI to 50%.
There, my ideas are even better than his – if the goal is to destroy the fighting capacity of the Corps. Better – but only marginally.


Oh – I forgot – and go totally Green New Deal. Solar COC Setups and electric 7 tons should do the trick, I bet.

5th/77th FA

penguinman000 wrote “As I get older the more I get convinced key leaders refuse to read/learn from history.” Testify!!! ???WTF/DAHELL??? “Yes Sir, I can get by on mission requirements with less men, arty support, armored cavalry and close in air support…” Said NO combat commander ever. This dude musta been eating the brown acid err err, crayons. I like this idea about as much as I like the new rank of Corporal/Captain. If anything we need to be adding to the Combat Arms capability. What was the FIRST thing the Army had to do when the creation of the Air Force in ’47/48 took away all but their aerial jeeps? They had to go out and create some close in air support with the OV/Bronco Series and armed rotary winged birds. Played hell doing it too.

On the subject of him doing away with other historic symbology I take this opportunity to post, again, some CSA/US Marine History. The 13th Commandant of the US Marine Corps, Gnrl John A. Lejeune’s father was Confederate Captain Ovide Lejeune.

Marine LT Gnrl Lewis “Chesty” Puller’s Grandfather was Confederate Major John Puller, 5th VA Cavalry, KIA in 1863.

I can provide the #s of the Congressional Acts where Confederate Veterans were recognized by the US Government to be equal to Union Veterans if anyone is interested. There are over 70 million Americans descended from Confederate Veterans, many of whom have served honorably in our Armed Forces. Disclaimer…I am one of those!


First, let me say thanks to the warm welcome back I am sure to get. Second, one of you recently posted a few videos about Mosaic Warfare and Multi-Domain Operations. You have to look at what Berger is doing in that context. As a service chief he has to balance relevant capabilities and their costs with budget. Envision what war with China will look like. We aren’t going to invade China, and we won’t be fighting their tanks in a maneuver campaign on land. What we will do is try to control islands from which to employ long range precision fires- rockets and missiles that can sink ships. Those rockets and missiles will need protection. Infantry will still be important, but tanks not so much- especially in a world where the shoulder fired Javelin outranges every tank on the battlefield, hits what it is fired at, and kills what it hits. Tanks are way too heavy to move around, suck up a lot of gas, and are difficult to maintain in an austere environment. The other threat is from the air. Both the Army and Marines have allowed their air defense capabilities to languish, and that is going to change. Expect to see more new mobile SHORAD and Baistic Missile Defense systems tlike PATRIOT and THAADS o counter Chinese rockets and missiles. Like it or not, both the Air Force and Navy can provide all the air support the Marines (and Army) need in the Pacific. Berger has to balance… Read more »


For what it’s worth in my beer addled mind…war with China won’t resemble a shooting match. It will be economic and infrastructure. The general public will likely be unaware there is even a war on.

The Chinese know they are in no position to win a shooting war. They have, essentially, no Navy. The best they can hope for is to keep us from landing significant amounts of troops inside their borders.

War with the Chinese will most likely look like this:

The Chinese start selling off US debt once they’ve positioned themselves to establish the Yuan as the new global reserve currency.

Infrastructure in the US will start failing at a cyclic rate due to so many back doors engineered into hardware the US relies up.

Continuing to manufacture illegal drugs which flood our country and destroy lives.

Continue the long game of infiltrating folks into the US to steal technology and steer policy.

Probably take a cue from the Norks and flood the market with counterfeit currency.

We are already in the opening stages of our conflict with China. It’s just not a shooting match and no one is paying attention.

5th/77th FA

Word!^ And some of us paying attention. It’s just too bad that the ones of us that are paying attention can’t do much more than kick and scream at other people to pay attention. How many times have I posted on these pages that China is the real elephant in the room and China is aided and abetted by our elected domestic enemies. Others here have said the same thing, but sadly there are too many Americans that simply bury their face in the phone/device or are too busy trying to make a living to do more than bitch about it.

Unfortunately, all politics are local. We have no control over the districts that elect the DiFis, Maxie Pads, Granny Nans, AOCs, Chuckies, Mitts (see where I’m going with this?) of the Country. Maybe this latest “crisis” will wake up enough people in this country to the danger, but I hold little hope for that. Maybe if every school teacher taught the lessons like VOV gave us last summer we could see a signal change. We are now seeing the results of over 50 years of indoctrination here. Sad, isn’t it?


I have hope. I remember the youngsters as my career was winding down. They did amazing things in theater.

We’ve spent the last 10+ years creating battle hardened men and women who know what sacrifice is, aren’t afraid to put their ass on the line, and can chew bubble gum while they are walking. They are our new “greatest generation”.

DiFi, Pelosi, Chucky, and the rest are a dying breed. AOC and the rest of the squad are a one off.

Our progeny do their warrior ancestors proud. Anyone who doubts that has either not seen them in action or is lying to themselves. Turning this generation of battle hardened vets back into society is the prescription the doctor ordered.

They’re pissed off, know what counts and know how to affect change. We’re in good hands.


I believe the USMC budget is downstream of the USN budget, and General Berger may have in mind the huge costs and limited capabilities of recent Navy shipbuilding programs (LCS, DDG-1000, Ford class carrier), and is making an assumption that funds will simply not be available for USMC assets. The Navy will also need to replace the ballistic missile submarine force sometime in the not too distant future, and that cost will be large. Also looking at who knows how much in damage to the economy at large and possible $2 trillion recovery program due to COVID 19, and maybe this is the way General Berger is reading the tea leaves.


Not really. There is no department or secretary of the Marine Corps, but it is a separate service and is appropriated separately.

That said, you are right in that the goal is to get the Marines back to their naval and expeditionary roots, which means they have to be in line with Joint and Naval war fighting concepts.

Think back to the beginning of WWII and the Marines at Wake- that was the 1st Marine Defense Battalion. Marine Defense Battalions were centered around air and coastal defense.

In Title 10 US Code which governs the military the mission of the Marine Corps says this:

The Marine Corps shall be organized, trained, and equipped to provide fleet marine forces of combined arms, together with supporting air components, for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign.

Changes are coming to the other services as well. It will make less and less sense to have phenomenally expensive exquisite weapon systems like the F-35 or an aircraft carrier that can be taken out by a relatively inexpensive drone swarm operated remotely.


…..and General Mattis just dropped a shit load of “F-bombs” on hearing this.

General Berger should be thinking about these four letters…

“WWMD” (What Would Mattis Do).


My guess is that Mattis would want the Marine Corps to stay relevant in great power competition.

I am 100% sure that Berger consulted with every living f Marine 4 Star in developing his guidance.

SFC (B) Blizz

Marine’s would have never gotten off most of the beaches of the pacific without Marine tanks. Chosin Reservoir, once the British tanks were wiped out, they were screwed. The City of Hue needed Tanks to advance. Marines will die eventually because of this decision. They don’t need armor divisions, but they do need them available to support the grunts on the ground.


-The Marines had light tanks in WWII. The only tank in the US arsenal today is the M1, and it is way too heavy to participate in a contested amphibious assault. Now, once the LCACs and LSTs can safely come ashore we can talk, but it is certainly not going to provide shock and firepower on a contested beachhead. Frankly, even the Marine AAVs are too big, thin skinned, underpinned, and slow to be of much use on the modern battlefield.

-The tanks at Chosin were Marine tanks attached to the Brits, but there were not really enough of them to make difference in that battle- you had a Marine division, two Army divisions, and a British Commando against 15 or so Chinese divisions. That battle was lost by MacArthur and Almond’s hubris.

-Infantry leads the way in urban operations. Tanks do provide mobile protected firepower, but they are extremely vulnerable in close terrain.

The Marines have two active duty tank battalions. Two. They are parsed out in small elements to the BLTs of the MEUs and sometimes operate as battalions.