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Marine Corps are looking to get rid of infantry, needs more cross-trained Marines

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U.S. Marines with 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division (2d MARDIV), conduct a table 3 live fire during the 2d MARDIV Infantry Squad Movement Evaluation (ISME) on Camp Lejeune, N.C., Feb. 21, 2018. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Christian J. Robertson)

As the battlefield changes with technology and operational demands, so must the role of the Marine Infantryman.

In a world of drone warfare, high-tech targeting system and peer-level adversaries, the venerable “grunt” will likely have to become a multi-role workhorse with the smarts to keep up with technology, according to Sergeant Major of the Marine Corps Ronald L. Green.

“The question is what will an infantryman look like in the future,” Green said Wednesday at the Navy League’s annual Sea-Air-Space exposition near Washington DC.

In the not-so distant future, Marine infantrymen with specific jobs may find themselves becoming more like their Army infantry counterparts- cross-trained in different roles, be it operating machine guns, training on anti-tank weaponry or learning to pilot unmanned aerial vehicles.

“In the future they may have to have multiple MOSs,” Green said. “Because now they have drones in their backpacks.”

While the Marines arguably have the toughest basic training (“boot camp”) in the US Military, the Occupational Specialty School for Infantry is only about sixty days long- something that may have to change soon.

“What level of education will an individual have to have coming in the military is the question,” Green told the Marine Corps Times. “How educated am I going to have to be to come in, go to the six-month cyber school.”

The discussion comes as Marines begin discussing implementing portable drones and electronic warfare equipment on an individual level.

While blending infantry is an Army concept. The Marines are looking towards the Air Force for guidance on how to retain, educate and cross-train Marines with more credentials.

“Look at how the Air Force educates, they have a credentialing program,” Green said. “We are looking at their model.”

However, even Green admits it will be a balancing act for the tiny force.

“We can’t have the entire Marine Corps going to college at the same time,” Green said. “Somebody’s got to be ready to fight.”

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