Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for defense programs at The Heritage Foundation, discusses how to solve readiness problems in the Marine Corps, and why they need to return to their amphibious mission.
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller says that deploying troops to the southern border has impacted readiness at the branch. But according to a new report by the Heritage Foundation, there may be other issues facing the Marine Corps as well. Dakota Wood, senior research fellow for defense programs at The Heritage Foundation, says that after 20 years of landlocked warfare, the service needs to get back to their original amphibious purpose. In addition, Wood told Government Matters that the Marine Corps needs to work on tech experimentation to deal with troop shortages. “We can say double the Marine Corps, well that’s just not going to happen. In the corps, the paper’s actually really doubling down on experimentation. You can’t predict with certainty what the future is going to be, but the more things you try, you experiment, you see what new technologies give you, that might be a nice little supplemental to additional people,” Wood said. Start with experimentation, figure out what real world problems need to be solved, find solutions to those that are low risks, and build on the successes. Wood said that some of the more controversial elements in the report are about where the Marine Corps is investing people, including a proposed reduction of MARSOC operations. “It’s a relatively new thing for the Marine Corps, they were directed to do that in 2006. SOCOM, the special operations command, has been busy globally hunting down terrorists and they do that well. The Marine Corps really embraced that mission. They are amazing at what they do abroad, how closely does that relate to primary mission which is naval warfare. Supporting naval operations, naval campaigns… that whole realm,” Wood said. “We talk about looking at the continued investment in MARSOC, and not surprisingly those at that command… kind of took offense to that. They got defensive and we accept that, but I think It is a discussion that needs to happen.”