Force Design 2030 Annual Update 2021

Force Design 2030

Annual Update

April 2021

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“War is both timeless and ever changing. While the basic nature of war is constant, the means and methods we use evolve continuously. … Drastic changes in war are the result of developments that dramatically upset the equilibrium of war…”

– Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1, Warfighting

BOTTOM LINE UP FRONT

This report describes the progress we have made over the past 12 months in redesigning the force to better fulfill our role as the nation’s naval expeditionary force-in-readiness. The scope of change required is a generational undertaking – one that will not be completed during a single commandant’s tenure.

Organizational change is hard, but thanks to the efforts of many Marines, Sailors, and Civilians working within our campaign of institutional learning, we have made considerable progress. We now have a clear understanding of the suitable size for our aviation element, better insights on how to evolve the Marine Littoral Regiment and Infantry Battalion, and a significantly enhanced understanding of the need to succeed in the C5ISR vs. counterC5ISR competition. Thus, there are some force design changes we can confidently make today, while other areas, to include talent management, training, and logistics require additional analysis.

Our ability to innovate is a hallmark of the Corps. It demands rigorous intellectual work, coordination among a plethora of organizations and individuals, and a certain ruthlessness to abandon familiar ideas, capabilities, and platforms which no longer provide relative advantage. Much has been accomplished over the past year, yet much more remains to be done. This report contains my assessment of both our accomplishments and our unfinished business.

INTRODUCTION

We are 18 months into our 10-year Force Design 2030 modernization effort, and in some capability areas we have sufficient understanding to begin the transition from force design to force development. However, our understanding in other areas remains incomplete and will need to be constantly improved upon and refreshed given that we live in a period during which the perceived steadiness of our way of war may be upset at any moment. For example, we recently witnessed the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War in which the victor imposed their will primarily through the use of unmanned systems and loitering munitions.

Throughout this period of uncertainty and change Marines must continue to think, write, debate, innovate, and adapt to not only keep pace with the ever-changing character of warfare, but to ultimately drive it and force others to adapt to us.

Our principal challenge remains to be effective as the nation’s Naval Expeditionary Force in readiness, while we simultaneously modernize the force for the future operating environment with available resources. A force-in-readiness is not simply the most available force, but as described by the 82nd Congress, one that can prevent small disturbances from becoming regional conflicts. A naval expeditionary force-in-readiness must be able to compete, deter, and facilitate horizontal escalation. Playing that role while simultaneously modernizing the force in accordance with the needs of the fleet and our civilian leadership is our challenge. We will succeed, and we will create irreversible momentum with our modernization efforts over the next 24 months.

We have made considerable progress over the past year, publishing foundational doctrine, investing in new capabilities, examining the application of new operating concepts, new equipment, refining organizational structure, and generating improved tactics, techniques and procedures (TTPs) to accelerate the implementation of Force Design. These actions have furthered our understanding of the principal challenge and the necessary changes we must undertake. It is imperative that we comprehensively adapt our force to the demands of competition and conflict in multiple domains. The intersection of threat, technology, and a changing operating environment necessitate wideranging changes to the capabilities our expeditionary force in readiness must provide to Naval and Joint force commanders.

“…we live in a period during which the perceived steadiness of our way of war may be upset at any moment.”

THE YEAR IN REVIEW

EMERGING DOCTRINAL PUBLICATIONS

Since March 2020, we have released several significant documents, individually and in partnership with the Navy, that will help guide our future force design and the future of naval expeditionary stand-in forces. Two of these, Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-4, Competing and the Tentative Manual for Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, have built upon my initial guidance to provide the beginnings of a robust intellectual framework to steer further development. I expect all involved in our force design efforts to read and internalize the essence of these documents. The Tentative Manual is not perfect. Marine Corps manuals are not static, and the Tentative Manual bears that title with specific intent. We must all engage with these ideas, discuss and debate, and challenge ourselves to identify what needs to change. We must also improve on implementing what we understand is right.

In addition, in conjunction with the Navy and Coast Guard, we produced Advantage at Sea, a tri-service maritime strategy, as well as the Department of the Navy Unmanned Campaign Framework, both of which affirm the Navy’s commitment to our Force Design 2030 efforts.

The Objective Force Refined

As our Campaign of Learning delivers new findings, we will continuously refine the details of our modernization plan, making adjustments to our approach to achieve the Objective Force described in last year’s Force Design 2030 Report on schedule and within the bounds of available resources. Highlights of our work to date include

Command Element

  • Continued the divestment of the active component Law Enforcement (LE) capability, while retaining one LE Battalion in the reserve component (RC).
  • Examined a redesign of the Marine Information Group in the context of broader Operations in the Information Environment (OIE) support to the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).
  • Explored different MEF and Naval command and control (C2) constructs for the Stand-in Force.
  • Completed the establishment of MARFORSPACE component command.

Ground Combat Element

  • Continued planning for the establishment of three standing Marine Littoral Regiments (MLRs) in III MEF, consisting of an O-6 headquarters, a Littoral Combat Team (LCT), a tailored Combat Logistics Battalion, and a Littoral Anti-Air Battalion.
  • Prepared for Infantry Battalion Experiment 2030, which will experiment with one battalion each from 1st, 2nd, and 3d Marine Divisions over the next two years.
  • Validated the requirement for Organic Precision Fires – Infantry (OPF-I) to include loitering munitions within our reorganized infantry battalions and LCTs.
  • Initiated an enhanced infantry training program to produce more proficient, resilient, and lethal Marine infantry.
  • Prepared to divest of 3 AC and 2 RC infantry battalions.
  • Completed the divestment of 2 AC and 1 RC tank battalions.
  • Continued the planned transition of 14 towed cannon batteries into self-propelled rocket artillery and anti-ship missile batteries.
  • Initiated the divestment of two Assault Amphibian (AA) companies.
  • Initiated fielding of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV).
  • Identified the likely utility of multi-domain Mobile Reconnaissance units possessing OPF-I, light-weight vehicles, unmanned air and surface systems, boats, and other capabilities necessary to succeed in a contested information environment.
  • Invalidated the requirement to replace existing LAV-25s with a similar armored, wheeled or tracked manned vehicle in a onefor-one ratio. Continued to examine options for the conversion of legacy Light Armored Reconnaissance capabilities to more broadly capable Mobile Reconnaissance.

Aviation Combat Element

  • Continued to analyze VMFA capacity requirements as well as the appropriate F-35 B/C mix of aircraft.
  • Initiated the divestment of all RQ-21 aircraft, and the introduction of additional capabilities for experimentation to include the MQ-9A and VBat UAS.
  • Initiated the expansion of VMU capacity by three new MALE squadrons. Programmed resources and developed an acquisition strategy necessary to realize the Marine Unmanned Expeditionary/Medium Altitude Long Endurance capability in FY23.
  • Continued the adjustment of the capacity for Aerial Refueler Transport (VMGR) squadrons.
  • Initiated the divestment of two VMM squadrons in 2020, and began the planning necessary to initiate the divestment of a third VMM squadron no later than 2021.
  • Initiated the divestment of two HMLA squadrons.
  • Initiated the divestment of 2.75 HMH squadrons.
  • Continued to examine options for all Reserve Component aviation requirements.
  • Initiated a review of Fleet Replacement Squadron laydown.

Logistics Combat Element

  • Completed the divestment of all heavy bridging capabilities within the total force.
  • Examined options for LCE capability/ capacity redesign.
  • Initiated studies and analysis into the efficacy of creating unmanned logistics vehicles, vessels, and units to support expeditionary forces.

Supporting Establishment

  • Initiated a 15% reduction analysis across HQMC and the Supporting Establishment.
  • Initiated a comprehensive review of CIVPERS across the total force.
  • Initiated a review of force protection measures across all bases and stations to identify options to transition from a labor-intensive model to an AI-enabled, technology focused approach.

“…our Campaign of Learning delivers new findings, we will continuously refine the details of our modernization plan, making adjustments to our approach to achieve the Objective Force…”

ADDITIONAL OBJECTIVE FORCE IMPLICATIONS

  • The 12 Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR) companies identified in the objective force in the initial Force Design Report must be reevaluated in light of the emerging concept of multi-domain mobile reconnaissance. This may affect the overall requirement for armored land mobility in the form of the Advanced Reconnaissance Vehicle (ARV).
  • There will be increased demands for STAP Marines within the infantry and reconnaissance communities necessitating a change to existing personnel models.
  • Regardless of the final AAO for F-35, we will be unable to generate a competitive warfighting advantage for the fleets and joint force if we are unable to maintain these aircraft due to a shortfall of qualified maintainers. Our current model for retention of these critical personnel is failing. We must change the talent management model if we are to realize the full potential of this capability.
  • With the creation of an additional three VMU Squadrons in the Active Component anchored on new MALE UAS capabilities, there is an emerging consensus that the Reserve Component could be utilized more effectively and efficiently if it were to employ a similar MALE UAS capability.  There are two primary models to consider. The first is the “traditional” 4th MAW approach in which the unmanned aircraft systems would be operated and maintained by the Reserves with augmentation from the Active Component and Active Reserve. This model would allow pilots in the SMCR to support the training of Active Component Marines (such as JTACS), and potentially support missions for NORTHCOM.  The second would be the Air National Guard model, which could result in our reservists flying big-wing UAS missions globally.  This model may be less costly overall, if partnered with active squadrons who maintain launch and recovery elements forward.  Either model would provide our become significant contributors to our daily operations.  Mission control elements (MCE) could be established in Alaska and Michigan, or large municipal centers with known pilot densities such as Dallas, San Diego, Honolulu, Atlanta, or Washington, DC.  Marine Corps Reserve Pilots could drill at these MCEs and fly missions as required by the FMF and our forward deployed Marines greatly increasing their usefulness in daily contact to blunt layer operations.
  • The development of a robust inventory of traditional amphibious ships, new light ships, alternate platforms, and littoral connectors is required to create a true naval expeditionary stand-in-force and force-in-readiness. While some analysis has been completed on the Light Amphibious Warship that supports conclusions that an inventory of a minimum of 35 ships is required, it is also time to begin seeking a replacement for the LPD-17 Flight II whose fundamental design elements were conceived more than 25 years ago. We must answer the question – What is LXX? While we do not have an answer to that question yet, we do know that the most lethal capability on a non-big deck amphibious ship of the future cannot be the individual Marine.

FORCE STRUCTURE

Fiscal realities dictate that we must first divest of legacy programs in order to generate the resources needed to invest in future capabilities. This may create near term risk that we must manage in order to obtain the 2030 force we require.

The major force structure changes currently underway are the initial steps in resizing, reshaping, and reequipping the force for success in the future operating environment. Our science and technology investments are enabling us to accelerate the rate of technological change that we achieve. New approaches in training and education will serve as a force multiplier. In sum, our Force Design work, to date, has been a significant “ramp up” in the pace of our modernization.

reserve pilots with the opportunity to

CAMPAIGN OF LEARNING

The Campaign of Learning provides the analytic underpinning for Force Design. It is supported by a combination of exercises, experiments, wargames, and analysis. We will continue our Campaign of Learning as the primary mechanism for Force Design implementation, and we will move with urgency to inform our decisions at the earliest possible moment. The FMF is a key partner with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab and will continue

to support experiments.

Key Findings

  1. Forward positioned steady-state forces must remain in a posture that enables rapid transition from competition, to crisis, to conflict, and back again. Adversaries will not grant us the time and freedom of maneuver to create conditions necessary to “set the theater,” in the traditional sense. Forward deployed naval expeditionary forces create positional and temporal advantage for the fleet and joint force.
  2. C2 arrangements must be characterized by structures, systems, and nodes that remain functional as Stand-in forces move along the competition continuum. This will require a reexamination of naval command structures to identify and implement a model that ensures smooth functioning under all operational circumstances. This requires a continued robust commitment from our Navy teammates to this naval construct. We train like we fight.
  3. Logistics capabilities must be organized to enable and sustain the Stand-in force while retaining appropriate capacities to support global crises and contingencies. The mechanisms we employ to sustain Standin forces must remain applicable for competition, crisis, and conflict.
  4. Sensor networks must continuously find adversary targets and contribute to situational awareness through all phases – in a degraded C2 environment
  5. Air and Missile Defense capabilities are critical for a Stand-in force, and necessitate that we clarify our requirements and associated joint interdependencies for this mission.
  6. Our forward deployed Stand-in forces must complicate adversaries’ calculus by making them respect the persistence and connectivity of our units, and by using OIE to expose their malign activities and contest their false narratives. These forces will use their long-range precision fires, resilient communications, and ability to report on all that they sense to support naval and joint commanders.
  7. To be a true Stand-in force, we require resilient sustainment capabilities that enable us to operate for extended periods of time with limited outside support. We do not need to “own” all of these capabilities ourselves, but rather, we must prioritize what we will be responsible for and then seek best possible support from the Naval and Joint Commanders for the remainder.
  8. The recon/counter-recon mission is a continuous theater shaping activity, executed globally, that calls for a force capable of exposing adversary malign behavior, gaining and maintaining custody of a large target set, and defeating adversary ISR capabilities. These characteristics apply to our Stand-in forces as a whole. This is about recon and counter-recon executed at the tactical level, within an operational context, with the ability to achieve operational and strategic effects.
  9. Our Stand-in force must remain resilient, under demanding conditions. When other elements of the Joint force are outside the eapons engagement zone, preparing for deliberate surge layer missions, our forward elements will maneuver in the littorals to disrupt adversary operations. The Standin force will contribute significantly in the recon/counter-recon role described above, to shaping the environment within the broader theater campaign, and to the Naval commander’s sea denial effort in particular. This will require operational and tactical mobility, long range precision fires, ISR, and sustainability. The structures and systems that support and enable Stand-in forces must remain globally integrated and persistently engaged.
  10. To design a force purpose-built to compete with China and otherwise prepared to respond globally to emerging crises or contingencies, we must organize, train, equip, and posture capabilities for actions across the spectrum of competition in multiple theaters. Further, it requires that we remain capable of operationally maneuvering Stand-in forces from one theater to another, “plugging in to” Naval and Joint C2 arrangements, logistics support organizations and systems, and C5ISRT networks in a fluid manner.
  11. Naval capabilities that can operate across the competition continuum enable the naval expeditionary force to rapidly support of maritime campaigning and joint operations. An array of structural, conceptual, and programmatic inefficiencies hinder naval integration. We must develop options that enable the Marine Corps to conduct reconnaissance and counterreconnaissance, enable persistent Naval logistics and sustainment for Stand-in forces, and improve naval command arrangements.
  12. Federal and state environmental compliance regulations and state historic preservation regulations increasingly may be in tension with our desired force design implementation timelines – especially in Guam, Hawaii, and California.  The need to act rapidly to both operational and climate related threats may not easily lend itself to the very deliberate processes relating to Military Construction.  While the Congress has been forward looking with authorities that help us partner with the communities that surround our installations concerning installation resiliency, we will likely be unable to deliver the necessary infrastructure critical to the readiness of the future force in the time horizons called for with without the active assistance of Congress, and state and local officials.
“Adversaries will not grant us the time and freedom of maneuver to create conditions necessary to ‘set the theater,’ in the traditional sense.”

“We will continue our Campaign of Learning as the primary mechanism for Force Design implementation, and we will move with urgency…”

NEXT STEPS

GUIDANCE FOR CAPABILITY DEVELOPMENT

We will continue our Campaign of Learning as the primary mechanism for Force Design implementation and move with necessary urgency to confirm or adjust our decisions. DC CD&I remains the overall lead for Force Design and the Campaign of Learning, although a vast majority of the work will shift to the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) as our lead for wargaming and experimentation. The FMF is a key partner with MCWL and will continue to support experiments. Using existing exercises is encouraged whenever possible to prevent dual tasking of limited time and resources. Actions in pursuit of the Force Design objectives from HQMC, the Supporting Establishment, or the FMF must be coordinated through CD&I. In turn, CD&I must keep all participants informed of plans and results of Force Design efforts on a periodic basis. We will focus the coming year on three major issues:

Agility Across the Competition Continuum. MCDP 1-4 describes “competition” – with great power adversaries as well as lesser challengers – as a continuum that ranges from acts of purely non-violent interaction, through the extremes of total war. The implications of this insight are many, but for the purposes of vision and expectations the most important is this: we are building a naval expeditionary force that contributes to and enables Naval and Joint campaigning across the continuum, in all domains. Marines must be able to persist forward, within the range of our adversaries’ most lethal weapon systems, and provide critical capabilities that Naval and Joint force commander’s need, while simultaneously being enabled by those naval and joint force commanders. Our ability to stay in the weapons engagement zone and transition with agility from contact to blunt layer missions and back again is a key to our success.

Naval Integration. We must generate agility across the competition continuum. Our command and control relationships and formations must exist at all times. There will be no time for “forming” when a peer adversary decides to act. Our Marine Expeditionary Force headquarters will continue to be our warfighters and will be tightly integrated with their Fleet counterparts. To the credit of the fleets, the regional Marine Force (MARFOR) headquarters, and the MEFs, these critical integration steps are already unfolding. Our MEFs will be prepared to operate as naval task groups, applying a range of naval capabilities as needed to achieve the naval and joint force commander’s objectives.

Reconnaissance and Counter-Reconnaissance. We must become a force that is able to persist within a peer adversary’s weapons engagement zone to sense and make sense of what is happening at any point on the competition continuum. As a Stand-In force we are uniquely positioned to enable naval and joint force targeting and kill chain closure, actively contesting the Information Environment against the pacing threat. In essence, every Marine and Marine unit must be able to sense and report.

“…we are building a naval expeditionary force that contributes to and enables Naval and Joint campaigning across the continuum, in all domains…”

Prioritized Directed Actions for the Next 12 Months

  1. Accelerate experimentation with maritime, multi-domain reconnaissance constructs and activities to enhance the ability of the Stand-in force to dominate the information environment, sense and make sense of the situation, and win the recon vs. counterrecon competition. Per existing plans, CG 2d Marine Division will lead this effort.
  2. Generate a functional concept describing multi-domain reconnaissance and CounterReconnaissance capabilities that support naval campaigning and competition. This will focus on our ability to gain and maintain custody of targets via ISR and other means, ensure friendly message projection, counter malign behavior, counter influence campaigns, and counter adversary ISR.
  3. Publish the Stand-In Force Concept no later than 1 August 2021. Ensure a detailed explanation of reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance is included.
  4. Generate a new personnel model that shifts the focus to STAP over FTAP Marines in order to create the mature force demanded by Force Design 2030.
  5. Develop a C4 architecture as a blueprint for IT acquisition and ensure integration/ coordination for JADC2.
  6. Develop and publish a multi-year experimentation campaign plan.
  7. Wargame and experiment with a forwardbased MSC headquarters serving as a naval task group HQ.
  8. Continue to wargame and experiment with alternative constructs for the Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) to mitigate future challenges to survivability and sustainability identified in recent wargames.
  9. Experiment with a Regional Logistics Support Group concept, purpose built to further operationalize our installations in III MEF, so that our MLRs are best supported.
  10. Examine the concept of an FMF Logistics Command, a naval organization that would execute operational logistics in support of competition activities and provide necessary theater-level logistics C2 structure to ensure best coordination with the Joint logistics provider.
  11. In full partnership with the Navy, explore the merits of establishing “Littoral Maneuver Groups” to operate the Light Amphibious Warship. This would include the concept of a “ship’s company” unit under the LAW Commodore, to ensure the LAWs are ready at all times to deploy our formations.
  12. In full partnership with the Navy, explore the value of a Naval Pioneer Battalion to assure littoral maneuver. This is an aggregation of engineer, beach master, and EOD assets to improve the current “high- vs low-watermark” task assignments.
  13. Generate a functional concept for MAGTF Integrated Air and Missile Defense and nest our capabilities within current naval and joint capabilities; we cannot “own everything” in this area.
  14. Adjust the Ground Combat Tactical Vehicle Strategy to match Force Design changes.
  15. Reorganize specified service component headquarters to optimize naval integration and facilitate agility across the competition continuum.
  16. Review sourcing mechanisms for the Standin force to balance commitments across the FMF. This will require changes to force management and manpower policies, including rotation models, deployed-to-dwell targets, and length of initial service contracts for selected MOSs.
  17. Assess the merits and viability of additional CONUS-based MLRs to best enable I MEF or II MEF to accomplish assigned and possible mission sets.
  18. Restructure the LCE to generate multifunctional Combat Logistics Battalion Headquarters.
  19. Prioritize investments to our infrastructure, manpower, and equipment for classified programs, as needed to design, test, field, and operate key capabilities.
  20. Establish a long-range planning capability using our PhD program Marines and others to better understand anticipated technologies, requirements, and resources and how they may impact force development.
  21. Establish a net assessment like office within HQMC and assigned to the ACMC capable of conducting strategic forecasting.
  22. Modernize our Health Services Support equipment and training so that it is best suited for forward deployment and rapid response at the point of injury, maximizing the survival rate of wounded personnel.
  23. Create an installation support plan for the future force per base and station.
  24. Provide options to create a standing experimentation force no later than September 2021 in order to facilitate force design.
  25. Develop options to create a major UAS capability in 4th MAW to include MALE UAS as well as unmanned logistics “longhaul” aircraft / systems.
  26. Develop an aviation roadmap that produces the 40/60 mix of crewed and uncrewed (formerly referred to as manned and unmanned) aircraft as identified as the naval aviation goal in the Department of the Navy’s Unmanned Campaign Framework.
  27. Prioritize quantitative analyses to examine appropriate munitions mixes and assess TTPs for terminal attack defeat, early warning, and displacement, among others.
  28. Provide aeronautical designation to all pilots and aircrew that remotely pilot aircraft and designate as 7515 to align piloting responsibilities with DOD directives, FAADOD MOA, and 75xx aviators. Recognize this high demand and low-density skill set with incentive pays and retainer tools offered to DOD pilots carrying the levity of this responsibility.
  29. The MAW CGs, ICW M&RA and DC AVN, will develop options that would result in the elimination of all F-35 related maintainer shortfalls no later than 1 July 2023.
  30. The Division CGs, ICW M&RA and DC PP&O, will develop options for improving and sustaining the quality, maturity, and experience of small unit leader tactical skills and decision-making along with a pathway toward ensuring each squad or small unit within the infantry and reconnaissance communities is led by a Staff Sergeant.
  31. P&R will develop program assessments on key Force Design investments and conduct cost analysis to ensure Force Design executability through the current and subsequent FYDP.  This will include fully burdened costing of the Aviation Plan and GCTV Plan, among others.

GUIDANCE FOR RESOURCING

Force Design remains my priority. We will continue to divest of legacy capabilities in order to free resources for modernization. It is imperative that we apply these resources in such a manner as to ensure the success of our Force Design effort. We must further ensure that programs (AAOs) previously constructed to support 24 or even 27 infantry battalions within a force of 186,000 or 202,000 Marines to include the F-35, CH-53K, JLTV, and ACV are right-sized to support a new objective force anchored on 21 infantry battalions.

Prioritized Investments

  1. Expeditionary long-range precision fires and infantry battalion organic fires (OPFI and OPFM).
  2. M AGTF Unmanned Expeditionary Medium Altitude Long Endurance aerial systems and sensors.
  3. M odernization of training capabilities to ensure Marines are best prepared for the future operating environment.
  4. L ong Range Unmanned Surface Vessel with associated swarming drones.
  5. An expeditionary C5ISRT/counter-C5ISRT Naval grid that can operate when national connections are lost or degraded.
  6. Semi-Autonomous Air and Surface Vessels to provide sensing, targeting, lethality and connectivity in a degraded and austere Naval environment.
  7. S hort-range (point defense) air defense systems, with an objective of longer ranges.
  8. N etwork Modernization, to include artificial intelligence and cloud technologies.
  9. D isruptive capabilities to dominate OIE; countering malign messaging and actions.
  10. Remotely Operated Ground Unit Expeditionary (ROGUE) Fires.
  11. R esilient communications architectures capable of closing kill chains in austere environments and JADC2 compatible.
  12. As we enable our Navy partners, we also depend on them to produce and sustain vital maneuver for the Stand-In Force such as traditional amphibious warships, the new Light Amphibious Warship, and robust connectors that will enable littoral maneuver and provide logistical support to a widely disaggregated Naval Force.
  13. Amphibious Combat Vehicle – which does not imply the maintenance or acceleration of the status quo. We must develop EW, sensor fusion, and OPF options to support our enhanced infantry and naval expeditionary forces.
  14. E xpeditionary logistics systems to sustain Stand-In Forces in a contested environment.
  15. Artificial Intelligence-enabled force protection.

CONCLUSION

We will continue to optimize our Marine Corps to be the Stand-in force that can provide conventional deterrence against a pacing threat. This will be done while retaining our global crisis response force abilities, but will still require extremely tough choices. The Stand-in Force is uniquely positioned to sense and make sense of the battlefield and close kill chains, and to apply lethal fires as required to deter or defeat our adversary.

Steady progress has been made over the past year, and I am grateful for the work of every Marine, Sailor, and civilian who has contributed. We have learned a great deal about the overall dimensions and specific challenges of the process of institutional change we are executing. We have synchronized and integrated the headquarters, supporting establishment, and FMF to most rapidly and responsibly drive that change. Ultimately, it will be the ingenuity of individual Marines that ensure we outpace our adversary, as well as our ability to garner the resources required to keep pace during this period of transformative innovation. Therefore, I need and welcome the continued work being done by so many to support the Force Design Objective—to have a Marine Corps that is best organized, trained, and equipped Marine Corps possible. All of this is to be done while retaining our vital role as the Nation’s crisis response force.

David H. Berger

General, U.S. Marine Corps

Commandant of the Marine Corps

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