Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Counterattack. (Letters ...)

Magazine article Joint Force Quarterly

Counterattack. (Letters ...)

Article excerpt

To the Editor--I appreciated the comments by Eric Michael and Patrick Carroll on my article "Rethinking Army-Marine Corps Roles in Power Projection" (JFQ, Autumn 00), which appeared in your last issue. But neither addressed my central focus: advocating a battle/war division of responsibilities in order to rapidly defeat an unanticipated conventional enemy. My main concern is that we do not have a capability, other than airpower, to fight a strong enemy in the first days of a conflict in an area not previously considered vital. We need to either squelch a small threat decisively and rapidly to keep it from growing--or hold off a serious threat so we can execute a successful halt phase. The Army already has forces where we expect conflict--Europe, the Republic of Korea, and Kuwait. We need the Marines to be ready to go anyplace else.

The expeditionary battle force concept is my suggestion. Army airborne forces are rapidly deployable but are too light for this role by themselves. The Marines, who are already forward deployed at sea, should both accept the battle and complementary urban warfare roles to reduce the pressure on the Army to create its own urban combat forces. Army infantry-heavy light mechanized interim brigade combat teams (IBCTs) will take over this role if the Marines do not step up. IBCTs will give the Army the expeditionary role and in the process degrade the traditional Army warfighting mission of defeating a large, well-equipped conventional enemy. Emphasis on mobility rather than power will gut heavy forces. …

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