The U.S. Marine Corps Surges to the Asia-Pacific
Image Credit: U.S. Marine Corps

The U.S. Marine Corps Surges to the Asia-Pacific


As the process of rebalancing its forces to the Asia-Pacific begins to gain further traction, the U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) sees itself returning to a familiar region of the world. In this context, the Commandant of the USMC, General James F. Amos, spoke to Sergei DeSilva-Ranasinghe about the Corps’ transformation and modernization, the impact of successive deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan, the status of Marine Corps activities in Africa and South America, the strategic realignment to the Asia-Pacific, the likely future battlefield, and defense budget cuts.

How has the USMC transformed and modernized since 9/11?

General Amos: As America’s expeditionary crisis response force, the United States Marine Corps, has always responded to our Nation’s call to arms.  No two fights are the same, so we’ve historically maintained a service culture of mental flexibility, adaptability and operational agility.  For example, shortly after 9/11, the Marine Corps conducted the longest amphibious-launched raid in history by deploying Task Force 58 deep into Afghanistan to strike Al Qaeda and topple the Taliban.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom, we assaulted from Kuwait to Baghdad as part of a coalition force and removed Saddam Hussein from power.  We then transitioned to counterinsurgency operations both in Iraq and Afghanistan.  While we were heavily invested in Iraq and Afghanistan, we also supported counterterrorism in the southern Philippines, provided disaster relief in the Indian Ocean basin after the Boxing Day tsunami in 2004, conducted humanitarian relief operations in Pakistan and Haiti, evacuated U.S. citizens from Lebanon, assisted our Japanese allies during the 2011 earthquake and nuclear crisis, took down the pirated MV Magellan Star, and rescued a downed U.S. Air Force pilot in Libya – just to name a few.

So we’re in the process of restructuring our force with capabilities optimized for forward-presence, engagement, and rapid crisis response.  We’ve reshaped our internal organization to increase flexibility and utility across the range of military operations, and have also enhanced our support to U.S. Special Operations and Cyber Commands.  We’ve also increased our ability to conduct distributed operations, and operationalized our reserve component capability.

As for modernization, this last decade has seen the combat debut of the MV-22 Osprey and the ​Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles, and the establishment of our first operational F-35B squadron.  We’ve upgraded our C-130s and UH and AH-1 helicopters.  We’re leaning into upgrading our CH-53s with the K variant.  We’ve embarked our Marines on San Antonio class ​landing platform/docks (LPDs) and are developing the next variants of the America class ​Landing Helicopter Assault (LHAs) ships.  We cancelled the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle and are refining the requirements for the next amphibious combat vehicle.  We’ve also made some great strides in employing what we call ‘expeditionary energy’ on the battlefield – which has reduced our logistical demands and saved lives by reducing convoy hours on ​improvised explosive device (IED) laced roads.  We’ve also captured the lessons of the last decade at war and incorporated them into our training and education programs.

lewis cook
December 22, 2012 at 22:25

the real us military went covert in 1964 us navy and usmc and the us army went covert in 1973 they  saw what 1954 communist 666 hollywood was doing

lewis cook
December 22, 2012 at 22:22

the post cold war us govt and us military of us army draft dodger british agent antichrist clinton  is the enemy of cold war military of king davids

Brigadier-General Orlof
December 21, 2012 at 17:15

I don't. 

December 20, 2012 at 07:33

Hear hear. I would agree that we would have to pay for what we get. Maybe America's hesitation in putting forces in this area (because of no clear gain) will be enough to get our Congress to ramp up our ridiculous defense budget. 0.8% of GDP? What a joke.

December 20, 2012 at 07:30

@JC, You wrote that historically Japan followed China. One gets the impression that this is something China is trying to fix. Bring Japan back to the fold instead of its own way.

Professor Clements Roberts
December 20, 2012 at 03:53

This article is all nonsense.

China's Gutter Oil
December 17, 2012 at 17:00

@john chan….
I have to give to it to you dude, you're really a piece or art! the terracotta army creator would really lick and kiss your ass for your patriotism! kudos to all 50-cents minion!  hallelujah! 
i know you hate americans and japanese alike, but would you please give me one-half good reason why your 'princelings' and noveau-rich compatriots are flocking to the united states in seek of the 'american dream'?
if you revere your china so much and hate the americans, then could you please explain to me why the off-springs of your beloved Mao Zedong, Xi Mingze the beloved daughter of your Xi Jinping and your fallen princeling Bo Xilai's son LOVE AMERICA SO MUCH THAT THEY DON'T WANNA GO BACK TO YOU BELOVED CHINA ANYMORE?!

December 17, 2012 at 12:57

Why stop at CD's?
Have them purchase DVD's and Blue-Rays as well ….

Nguyen Noi Noi
December 17, 2012 at 09:32

I don't work for the government, I am an ordinary man struggle to meet the end need just like many ordinary Americans. Those questions you asked are beyond the sphere of ordinary citizen like me, I am not an imposter and pretend I know and can give you that answer. It  belongs to the two governments and their departments to form policies. I am sure they have people with greater minds in their positions and within their expertise to solve the problem. What we know is only on the surface and we totally rely upon the media and media are superficial.
General Amos and many strategists see life and the world different to you, perhaps the two of you are totally opposite world view and that is American way of life, I respect that. What I commented was my assumption, and I may be wrong.
Do we Vietnamese invite the US to protect our land, our water? You must be joking. We haven't relied on foreign forces to protect our land for several millenniums, and we still exit and stand tall defiant to all forces and I don't think we would change that status. Where was America before the seventh-teen century?  We  normalize the relationship between two nations that had once locked horn to test our staminas, and you know the history. We do so because it is a right thing to do, we need each other, therefore, we can function properly in the world, and be a normal human on this planet. Do we Vietnamese need China? Yes we do, because China is our neighbor, whether good or bad, we must accept this fact and remain co-exist and feel annoyance. 
No, t_co you don't have to support the US force as there are many Americans opposite it.   But you also remember this, there are as many American support, President Obama policies and General Amos as you, may be more than you think, because they see life and national security, their places in history further than you.
Even if you can have the power (which you never will) to call all American forces over seas home to the US and become a hermit state, and spend no single cent on military budget, you still have to face more problems, maybe civil war. We live in the world that laden with problems, so let together face it. 

John Chan
December 17, 2012 at 07:37

Let’s cross the t’s and dot the i’s. Vietnamese are shameless and they will not hesitate promising US 50 years exploration rights over the areas that do not belong them, and put the US in direct confrontation with all parties that are claiming over those areas. Therefore US must ask Vietnamese to buy CDS for all the loss incurred by the USA due to Vietnamese irresponsible actions and negligence.  

John Chan
December 17, 2012 at 07:18

You are a lost cause.

December 17, 2012 at 03:04

@ John Chan
Japanese know the wisdom of bygone is bygone, so even if Japan had followed China for many years, that was several hundred years ago. The Japanese today have no interest in being friends with China, that's why they are stealing all your islands and countering your geopolitical moves.
Trying to seduce Japan into your commie pollution wasteland is very sad, it seems the saying "misery enjoys company" is very true with the Chinese. They are jealous of Japan's clean cities and first world benefits and resent them for it. They want Japan to become commies and to lose touch with their western brothers.

December 16, 2012 at 23:16

I thought I had already answered your question by saying "I don't know what make me American." Anyways, I'm not here to argue, but was just joking about burgers and fries. Enjoy…..

December 16, 2012 at 22:43

…because I'm an American citizen?  And you still haven't answered the key question–why should we Americans be paying for your (Vietnam's or the Philippine's) claims on disputed islands?  How does it matter to us?   And if we do spend American blood defending them, would your government give us the oil and gas under the islands for free?
I would support a US defense of those islands if Vietnam and the Philippines offered the US 50 year exploration and drilling rights over all the islands.  Otherwise, I think the US has no reason to be there.

December 16, 2012 at 18:08

Great interview. I looked up the ch 53k and found a mad animation showing what it will do, how its constructed and some of the features etc. Over the next 15 years with the arrival of the America Class, the F35b, the ch 53K, dry docks, Littoral Classes, more Virginia Class Subs, the Ford Class and Zumwalt Destroyers, and maybe some other futuristic stuff like the rail guns, the future bombers, etc it will be a difficult job for any enemy to prevent incursions and all the other non combat missions will be conducted in a manner and time frame not experienced in the History of mankind. There is no doubt about it its a really good period to be a marine and its going to get better. 

I just also wanted to say ' China', but for no reason other than my post might not make it otherwise. 

John Chan
December 16, 2012 at 15:08

Historically Japan always follows China nearly in all aspects of life without China occupying it militarily; it proves your western thinking is one dimensional. Japan should return to Asia as a peaceful member of Asia, not as a lackey to serve the alien that aims to enslave the Asians. It is time for the Asians to show the world that they are independent and equal to all of them; they can manage their businesses on their own.
BTW China is aware of its past, so it didn’t claim moral high ground and lecture others shamelessly non-stop like the West. Why can’t the West behaves like China, knowing its past and behave appropriately?

Nguyen Noi Noi
December 16, 2012 at 14:09

Is t_co and Schminner  the same person? I hope not. But by courtesy I will answer you both.
I am much smaller than you physically
I am much poorer than you economically
I am much lesser than you technologically
In many aspects I am lesser than you and don't have what you have. To you going out for a McDonald meal is a cheap thing but to me it is a dream but I won't be jealous with you.
I can stand and engage when someone threaten and attempt to humiliate me before my history. I will not run when problem arise because I don't have that emotional callousness. At the end I have this courage to make reconciliation  and respect you for who you are. I care when I heard bad news like that happen in Connecticut. My heart went out for those who lost their child through senselessness, and Christmas come, these parents will face emptiness and much tears. 
I care that make me a Vietnamese.
Your turn.

December 16, 2012 at 13:59

Bravo Jaques, the more I like Jaques statements, the more I dislike JC answer to Jaques. So weak. I think JC is more capable than that to answer after years of training in propaganda dept. Failed.

December 16, 2012 at 00:09

I don't know what make me American. What make you Vietnamese?

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