Do we have issues within the US? Yes. Could they get worse, hell yes. With all of the unrest that is currently transcribing within the world especially the Middle East we need to pay attention and continue the offensive but we aren’t to the degree we need to be at.
Despite the recent incident and past events with pirates off of East Africa, an issue that isn’t going to go away unless we help them meet their maker, we as “Americans” cant take it for granted that the world hates us and will even hate us more from here out. Remember, again, organizations in that part of the world and even “down south” in Mexico have no regard for human life. They will not give a second thought in killing you and if you think I’m wrong you live in LaLa land my friend. The immediate step in preventing this is to not put yourself as a civilian in the position to allow it to happen.
The Pirates of the Gulf of Aden & Somalia
The second step towards this is to put the pressure on them so hard they don’t want to even whisper anything about America. In regards to the pirates, read between the lines, when you have four Navy warships that were involved, including the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, USS Sterett, a guided-missile destroyer, USS Bulkeley and the USS Leyte Gulf things are not looking good for the would be pirates in the future. They played a bad card by killing Americans and now ruing a small but lucrative corrupt business. With the warships of that caliber in the area of operations, you could destroy a small country or totally eliminate pirates off the face of the earth by evaporating their DNA let alone if the steely eyed warriors that like to kill things with sharp knives are let loose. I’m all about either.
“Down South” in Mexico
Although we don’t have four warships in Mexico (would be awesome to have that sort of firepower inland there though) we do have a continuing problem and our gaped border is a serious issue. If you don’t think extremist groups from the Middle East aren’t buying access from Mexico cartels into the US you are sadly mistaken. With more advanced tunnel systems being discovered (like those in the Gaza strip) running from Mexico into the US we don’t even have a loose grip on the current situation or the magnitude of the enemies involved. Granted, a book could be written about this subject alone; the unprotected boarder should be a bigger concern than it is as thousands of illegal immigrants come into the US on a weekly basis. Unfortunately, the next 9/11 could be traced back to being supplied through the southern boarder but by then it will be too late. Ohh how I would love to take a Marine battalion and do “work up” training along the boarder. I can tell you this, it would be a lot more secure than it is now and there would be far less Americans being kidnapped.
The counter insurgency (COIN) fight in Afg is ongoing. It is a two step forward one step back process but we are making a difference as that’s the nature of the beast. With proposed “withdraw” plans in 2014 (isn’t that about election time?) things may be ready for withdraw or they simply may not be ready for a withdraw. You have got to give war/ COIN a chace to develop and there is no way you can say now in 2011 that in 2014 it will be all done. No way. COIN is a slippery monster that is fluid and changes. It doesn’t change because of a “spring offensive” it changes because you are changing people and cultures. This takes time and your Marines are doing it by the numbers and as they live among the locals, they are making a difference.
The times and tasks
Why then during these most unstable times are we shrinking our military? The Marine Corps who is the smallest US military branch is taking serious cuts with personnel and equipment. Over the past two years, somewhat quietly, the Marines have had to “get small”. Although we had been at the largest size in some years, we also are supposed to have 1:1 deployment ratios which we don’t. We are doing more with much, much less. With the ongoing mission of being amphibious and maintaining the option of conduction amphibious attacks, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) is dead center of budget cuts.
“EFV supporters worry if it is scrapped; it will inadvertently threaten the Marine Corps' large-scale amphibious assault capabilities, which sets them apart from the Army.”
Additionally, “U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has decided to put the Marine Corps’s F-35 jet on a two-year “probation” to give Lockheed Martin Corp. more time to demonstrate the fighter’s reliability, according to two defense officials and a lawmaker.” The F-35 would replace the ever aging and tired vertical lift harrier platforms currently used by the Marines.
In the end
The Marine Corps is use to utilizing a building for 100 years and making the most out of it. Improvising to the point we “make it happen” and with the above added friction, we will be asked to do more although we will endure budget and personnel cuts. Cutting our personnel with battle experience is not a good idea. The Marine Corps is trimming at both ends, the Lieutenant level with augmentation and at the senior ranks (Maj-Colonel) level as well. Trimming or killing the EFV and possibly the F-35 will add to the restrictions and direct our future missions.
We will succeed. We will win our nations battles. That’s why they call us Marines.
Time for a Cgar, its going to get busy