Magazine article National Defense

Leathernecks Bring Back Their Brigades

Magazine article National Defense

Leathernecks Bring Back Their Brigades

Article excerpt

As the Army develops its middle-weight interim combat brigade teams, the Marines are resurrecting their own midsize force-the Marine Expeditionary Brigade.

The MEB concept has been around since the 1950s, officials explained, Marine Brigades fought in Korea, Vietnam and Desert Storm. But they were eliminated during the downsizing of the early 1990s.

After the U.S.-fed intervention in Kosovo in 1999, however, the Pentagon began to see the value of a medium-size expeditionary force that could be deployed quickly. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric K Shinseki, that same year, ordered his service to stand up six new brigades, equipped with light armored vehicles, that could be dispatched within 96 hours of notification.

Then, last year, the Marines activated three MEBs, one for each of its Marine Expeditionary Forces at Camp Lejeune, N.C.; Camp Pendleton, Calif., and Okinawa, Japan. The Corps! brigades are built around the Marine Expeditionary Unit which includes a reinforced battalion of ground troops and a mixed squadron of helicopters and Harder fighters.

An MEU can be inserted into a crisis within six hours, said Maj. Gen. …

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