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Marine Corps adapting for Chinese military threat

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Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to Marines before a live-fire attack drill in Ban Chan Khrem, Thailand, Feb. 18, 2018. Neller was there to observe the range and speak to Marines about his plan to equip the force with new gear. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz)

The US Marine Corps is evolving into a fighting force- and their evolution is in large part due to the actions of a certain aggressive communist nation in the East.

In 2019, USMC Commandant General David Berger spelled it out for Americans: The Chinese Communist Party and their political military wing, the People’s Liberation Army, is “clearly the long-term existential threat to the US.”

In order to tackle the Chinese, the USMC was forced to take a long, hard look in the mirror and realize that amphibious landings -made famous in World War II- might not be the way of the future.

The response, in the eyes of Berger, was simple- become a leaner, lighter and more versatile fighting force, capable of going anywhere and everywhere with a small footprint while still delivering deadly firepower.

Needless to say, the Corps was quickly gutted, sending tanks out to pasture and culling any vehicles incapable of coastal fighting. Infantry numbers were cut. Artillery became replaced with mobile missile and rocket batteries, and aircraft soon had to prove their worth to determine whether or not they stay on the flightline or head to the boneyard.

According to the Asia Times, the move is a serious response to the potential of an “island hopping” campaign, one that was initiated when the Chinese Communist Party claimed ownership over everything within the “Nine-Dash Line” in the South China Sea.

By becoming a versatile offensive and defensive force, the Marines can create a nightmare scenario for China- an evolving “web” that slows down the Chinese advance into the island chains across the South China Sea, providing cover for the US Navy as it maneuvers into more strategically advantageous positions.

By becoming smaller and focusing on better weapons tech, the Marines have become harder to hit while retaining their renowned ferocity- and it’s a gamble that may pay off.

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