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Failing Empire

The Commandant of the Marine Corps has announced a new plan where some Marine Corps recruits won’t have to attend boot camp. He claims that some positions don’t require Marines to, well, be Marines. So much for “every Marine is a rifleman.”

The rapid rise in importance of the cyber domain, for instance, has challenged us to find creative ways to quickly build critical skills at mid-career and senior levels. Unless we find a means to quickly infuse expertise into the force – at the right ranks – I am concerned that advances in artificial intelligence and robotics, among other fields where the speed of technological change is exponential, will force us into a reactive posture.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger

When he says it, he claims that cyber warfare is the reason. When I hear it, I think this means each unit will have an assigned “gender studies specialist” or some other political officer assigned to it.

He also wrote that Marines no longer on active duty who now have “critical career experience” should be able to return to service at a higher rank.

“I can envision a Marine who left active duty as a captain or corporal rejoining our ranks as a lieutenant colonel or gunnery sergeant, respectively, after spending 5-7 years working in a cyber or IT field where the service currently lacks capacity,” Berger wrote. “With the right education and experience, that same corporal might also be eligible to return as a mid-grade or senior officer.”

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger

So a person can sign up for 3 years, leave as an E-4, then 5 to 7 years later return as an E7? What about those who stayed? Are they gonna be stuck without promotion because the ones returning are taking up billets? For those who don’t know, a person who enters the service as a brand new O-1 (Second Lieutenant) officer takes a minimum of ten years to be promoted to O-5 (Major).

Sorry, but this destroys the entire idea of the Marines. I say this as one of your Navy brothers: Anyone who serves from this day forward won’t have my respect.

On the other hand, it isn’t like the US Navy is doing much better. Navy ships are becoming rust buckets that are filled with unqualified personnel, which is why they can’t seem to stop colliding with everything that gets near them.

This is the same thing I noted when we talked about this fat ass from Meal Team 6:

Our military is a shell of its former power. If we engage in combat with any near peer adversary, we are going to get our asses kicked.

10 replies on “Failing Empire”

If they go ahead with this plan, the folks entering the USMC via this path are going to want to stay way back in the air-conditioned rear areas away from the line troops. They aren’t likely to be accepted as being on the team the way regular Marines are who go to some kind of twidget A-school after boot camp. (One of my friends had been a Marine who went to aviation electronics school after Parris Island)
I also knew some Chiefs in the Navy who had seen something similar- there are a small but not zero number of guys who would enter a WO or LDO program as a First Class and then a few years later might choose to revert back to enlisted from that. (I knew a Master Chief who had been an LDO LT who did this, I don’t remember his reasons but it made sense for him all things considered). Anyway if a guy reverted back to enlisted years later, he was entitled or assumed to have gotten every enlisted promotion he would have been eligible for along the way, so he could come back as an E-7 8 or 9 even without having gone through the Chief’s initiation. There were a small number of guys on large surface combatants who did that and while they could wear the khakis, they were shunned by every other Chief onboard unless they went through the Chief’s initiation.

This plan of Gen Berger’s to get a bunch of IT guys into the field probably won’t go too well for the IT guys. Everyone already hates the IT guys anyway.

Your statement:
“ Sorry, but this destroys the entire idea of the Marines.”…

Is the clearest summation of the motive fir this. In their eyes – it’s a feature, not a bug.

Will add, this already happens, albeit within a super small subsection of the Corps. The President’s Own Band. Most of them are enlisted, start at E6 or E7 and never attend Recruit Training at one of the two depots or OCS in Quantico. The key difference here is that those clowns, as part of the President’s Own, never deploy. Most of them have an MFA or better in music and their preferred instrument. Auditions are similar to that of any symphony orchestra, with the caveat that they have to be able to march as well.

Mind you, these aren’t the same Marine Corps Base band geeks you see doing change of command ceremonies and retirements. Those kids all have to go through the depot, MCT and then MOS school.

All that to say, there’s precedent for it; I disagree with the idea of skipping boot camp or coming back in at a much higher pay grade.

Ultimately it’s about relevance and competitiveness. Like a lot of other occfields, it’s a low density – high demand field. Some of those occfields lose people at the cyclic rate to a 4 and out. Primary reason, truth be told, the .mil can’t keep up with the pay, training or experience these kids can get in the private sector. Combine that with the tendencies of the Corps to treat anyone that’s of a Junior rank like they’re a functional retard and you’ve got people counting down the days to EAS.

I would argue that, if they are only doing cyber war and soldier skills aren’t needed, maybe the cyber warriors shouldn’t be Marines.

Goes against the Corps’ unspoken ethos: “We can do it ourselves and don’t need your help.”

Was participating in a multinational exercise in the South Pacific. Headed back to Okinawa. Played the hurry up and wait games to get on USMC C-130’s. Found a Chair Force C-130 going to Kadena Air Base in the middle of Okinawa EMPTY. Had a full bird colonel tell me not only no, but FUCK NO to hitching a ride and lugging some of our low density – high demand equipment with us. We sat around for another three days watching Uncle Sam’s Mobile Circus unfuck themselves, because pride or some shit.

Same reason we fought putting dudes into SOCOM for decades. The Corps “lost control” of those assets. When we were Force Recon, we went to all the same schools as the other operators, but could only be employed by the Corps.

“If we engage in combat with any near peer adversary, we are going to get our asses kicked.”

Come now. Their superior training and technology are no match for our diversity, equity, and inclusion.

“If we engage in combat with any near peer adversary, we are going to get our asses kicked. “

Well, the positive side is those “near peer advisaries” are probably going to wind up being a bunch of 50-year-old dads in Columbus, Omaha, and Lubbock, so there’s that. At least we’ll be keeping it inside the house.

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