The US Marines are continuing their push for a leaner fighting force, now looking to experiment with smaller and more tech-heavy infantry units.
In attempts to deal with near-peer adversaries, the Corps is finally starting to implement a long-running plan to create mobile, small and tech-savvy Marine grunts.
“Nothing of this scale has been attempted in, certainly, decades,” said Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory/Futures Directorate and the vice chief of the Office of Naval Research.
According to Defense One, the Infantry Battalion Experiment Campaign Plan (IBX30) will take three infantry battalions, gut them and redesign them to be able to combat more -to include drone attacks and cyber warfare- with less.
“As we’ve seen in lots of recent conflicts, the proliferation of long-range weapons and sensors and things like that make it very challenging to survive on the current battlefield if you are a large unit that’s operating in…with large groups of people very close to each other. So you need to be able to disperse and distribute your forces and still achieve effects,” Watson said.
Rifle companies would cross-train all their troops in how to use heavy weapons, eliminating the need for a weapons company.
The gap created by this training move -which is pretty normalized in the US Army Infantry at this point- will free up room for more specialties and will give the USMC more lethal rifle companies.
The 1st Battalion, 3rd Marines is being built to the exact proposed design with 735 Marines, as well as a laundry list of new tech to make warfighting more efficient.
The three battalions will be given priority for other goodies, such as armed drones and other experimental equipment.
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