CAPITOL HILL: UPDATE BEGINS The administration’s nominee for Marine Corps Commandant, Lt. Gen. Bob Neller, set off a firestorm from Sen. John McCain this morning. After two hours of an otherwise congenial confirmation hearing, the Senate Armed Services Committee chairman erupted over Neller’s description of the current administration strategy against the Islamic State. That strategy relies on airpower and advisors… Keep reading →
WASHINGTON: The most senior Marine on the Navy staff is going home to Quantico. It’s just 35 miles down I-95, but it’s a world away. Sometime this summer — the exact date’s still to be determined a Marine spokesman told me — Maj. Gen. Robert Walsh should pin on a third star and move from the… Keep reading →
NATIONAL HARBOR: Cheap grey-market missiles and commercially available radar kits are forcing the Marines to reinvent amphibious warfare for the 21st century. The new Corps concept, Expeditionary Force 21, predicts long-range threats will force the fleet to stay at least 65 nautical miles offshore, a dozen times the distance that existing Marine amphibious vehicles are… Keep reading →
UPDATED 1:35 pm Wednesday with more details from Lt. Gen. Glueck WASHINGTON: The Marines are about to move out sharply with their once-stalled Amphibious Combat Vehicle, the smallest service’s biggest program. After years of uncertainty and a last-minute change of course that came too late to make it into the administration’s budget request for 2015,… Keep reading →
Imagine you’re a military supply officer, weary but proud as you watch the train you’ve laboriously loaded with gear roll out of the depot towards the front. And then you realize: You packed the wrong tank. Now you need to get that vehicle off and the right vehicle on — while the train’s already leaving… Keep reading →
CRYSTAL CITY, Va: For years the Marines have argued they need a new amphibious combat vehicle that can cut through water at high speeds so Marines can get to the beach safely and then fight their way inland. But Marine Commandant James Amos signaled yesterday there just isn’t enough money to buy a “planing” vehicle… Keep reading →
Marine Commandant James Amos must make a tough call this year on a program that will define the future Marine Corps: whether to develop and buy the Amphibious Combat Vehicle. “The Commandant considers a replacement craft for his aging AAV7 Amphibious Tractor to be his number-one priority,” said Gen. Amos’s spokesman, Lt. Col. David Nevers,… Keep reading →
PANAMA CITY, FLORIDA: As budgets tighten, the Navy and Marine Corps are looking at a host of ways to save, from installing LED lights on ships to slowing vehicle purchases to centralizing power on the Chief of Naval Operations’ staff.
“We are entering a fiscal Valley Forge, a time of austerity,” said Ariane Whittemore, the Marine Corps’s assistant deputy commandant for resources. Her analogy invoked George Washington’s brutal winter of 1777-1778, when the starving Continental Army lost a quarter of its men but emerged a leaner, harder force. Keep reading →
PENTAGON: Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos laid out today the Corps’ tricky balancing act, simultaneously cutting personnel, spreading out weapons programs, and shifting from counterinsurgency on land in Afghanistan to seaborne crisis response in the Pacific.
The big Marine Corps news of the last 24 hours was the award of development contracts to three firms, Lockheed Martin, AM General, and Oshkosh, to work on the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle to replace Army and Marine Humvees. The Marines nearly backed out of the program in 2011 over cost concerns. While the Marines are committed to the JLTV today, they are buying far fewer than once hoped. Keep reading →