A Chat with The Commandant: Gen. David H. Berger On the Marine Corps’ New Direction


Gen. David H. Berger And Ryan Evans

Ryan Evans of War on the Rocks spoke with Berger about the recently released Force Design 2030 report to “get the inside story of these reforms, which he describes as being in their earliest phase.” According to Gen Berger  “This is not the end of the journey, but rather the beginning.” The Commandant “calls upon more voices to chime in with criticism to ensure the Marine Corps is ready for the future of war.”

  1. Having read this proposal for a future U.S. Marine Corps force structure, two dicta keep running through my mind:
    1) The Marine Corps needs to be light enough to get there, and heavy enough to fight, and,
    2) Don’t bring a knife to a gunfight.
    The former dictum is largely accepted by Marines and has been for a long time. However, considering a nuclear-armed China, the latter poses a new challenge for both the Marine Corps and the U.S.
    What’s to prevent China from using nuclear-armed ballistic missiles against an “invader” that has dared to occupy islands that China considers as Chinese territory? Will the U.S. be prepared to escalate the conflict by attacking missile launch sites on the Chinese mainland? With nuclear weapons too?
    The U.S. and the U.S. Marine Corps shouldn’t assume that China would be willing to fight on the non-nuclear terms that the Marine Corps plans for in an area that China portrays as its own territory. The Chinese nuclear arsenal is relatively small now, but it continues to grow. In future decades, China will have plenty of non-strategic nukes to expend in an area in which U.S. Marine Corps 2030 has in mind.