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Marine Air-Ground Task Force model might be a thing of the past, changes are coming

U.S. Soldiers and Marines attached to the Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force – Crisis Response – Central Command (SPMAGTF-CR-CC) 19.2, drive a joint light tactical vehicle (JLTV) at an undisclosed location in Syria, October. 16, 2019. The SPMAGTF-CR-CC is multiple force provider designed to employ ground, logistics, and air capabilities throughout the central command area of responsibility. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Branden J. Bourque)

The Marine Air-Ground Task Force model is undergoing some renovations, and the result is in many ways a return to the original purpose of the Corps- a fighting group that supports the Navy.

While the concept of a full-bore strike force has been a way of life for the Corps for generations, top brass from within the Marines are looking to see how the force can part itself out to meet the many needs that a maritime military asset has, particularly in near-peer engagements.

“We’re no longer going to stick or take an uncompromising position on the sanctity of the MAGTF,” said head of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson. “But ultimately, if what is needed is a piece of the Marine Corps that is not organized like a MAGTF or a capability the Marine Corps can bring that is not a MAGTF, then we are not too proud to provide that.”

According to the Marine Corps Times, the future outlook appears to be a response to the possibility that the USMC might not have as many resources as they would like in the future.

As the Marine Corps evolves, funding and accomodations for a full MAGTF may have to be set aside for things such as electronic and cyber warfare, which are becoming more important as the military pushed into the future.

One return to basics may be quite a sight to see- the return of Marine Air to aircraft carriers.

“You’re not going to get rid of aviation, you’re not going to get rid of your ground component and you always need logistics, but if they are serving as fleet Marine forces deployed as part of a naval component,” said Dakota Wood, a senior research fellow with the Heritage Foundation.

Regardless of how the future looks, it is unlikely that the changes will significantly dampen Marine operations, as the MAGTF has often been known to field the smaller Marine Expeditionary Units (MEUs) for most modern problems.

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