A year or so ago, I posted a blog that incensed a few Marines. In it, I basically posited that the United States Marine Corps was a waste of money as long as it remained in the Department of the Navy. (You can read it here.)
Today, I restate that fact (not opinion, mind you... fact): maintaining the USMC outside of the Department of the Army is a huge waste of money. Again, what we have is essentially two raised armies, each with their own training and logistics systems. That alone drives the cost of maintaining 13 active-duty divisions much, much higher than it would be otherwise.
Anyway, I'm not going to fully reiterate the original blog now, but I am going to point out some oft-skewed and sometimes hard to find facts (not opinions, mind you... facts) concerning the United States Marine Corps and the United States Army.
1. In World War I, when the United States Army's 2nd Infantry Division was formed, it was partially comprised of a Marine brigade. On top of that, two of the 2nd Infantry Division's commanders during that war were Marine officers: Major General John Lejeune (for whom Camp Lejeune is named) and Major General Charles Doyen.
Score one for an Army/Marine combination.
2. In World War II, when the Marine Corps was finally authorized permanent divisions (they wound up raising six for the war, and currently maintain three active duty and one reserve division), they used the Army division as their blueprint.
Score two for an Army/Marine combination.
3. Also in World War II, as the Marine Corps continued to develop and perfect amphibious assault operations (influenced by British ideas and equipment), they relied on the Army to develop and perfect amphibious resupply operations. This was accomplished by the Army in the form of the Army's Amphibious Training Center and the Engineer Amphibian Brigades (later, Engineer Special Brigades). The doctrines formulated by the ATC and EABs serve as the basis for modern USMC resupply doctrine.
Score three for an Army/Marine combination.
4. Following World War II, the Marine Corps slowly reorganized into Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEFs). The three active MEFs in the Marine Corps are organized as such: a ground division, an aircraft wing, and a logistics group. This is identical to the overall organization of the Army in World War II, when the Army consisted of Army Ground Forces, Army Air Forces, and Army Service Forces.
Score four for an Army/Marine combination.
5. The only reason the Marine Corps exists as a Navy organization is due to the fact that, during the American Revolution, General George Washington didn't want to deplete his manpower reserves by supplying marines from the Army.
I'd say score five, but that point was more for trivia value than supporting my argument.
As of this writing, I have only heard one solid argument for maintaining the Marine Corps in the Department of the Navy. The argument is that the Department of the Navy isn't subject to the Army's thinking that "smaller is better," and can maintain as many Marine Divisions as it so chooses.
Among the other arguments I've heard: the Marines have a different mission (not entirely true); the Marines are organized to fight a different kind of war (not true); the Marines need to be trained and supplied by the organization that supports them during war (true, but the Marines are much more a land-based service today than they ever were); the Marines have more difficult and more effective training (arguably true, but the Army needs to address their own training problems anyway, so this is essentially moot); the Marines are an "expeditionary" force (true, but so is the Army).
There have been other arguments, ranging from the completely defeatist ("that's just stupid") to the downright moronic ("where would we put the Marine barracks?").
By the way, there's an irony to the sole solid argument I mentioned earlier: I came up with it myself.
Vote for Clint Eastwood, who'd probably like us to save money in our military establishment.
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