The Corps is on a major push to overhaul how its fundamental basic unit operates in battle — providing grunts with modernized equipment and new roles and responsibilities.
After nearly 17 years of fighting in war-torn regions like Iraq and Afghanistan, the development comes as the lines between conventional infantry forces and America’s elite special operators have increasingly blurred.
In late December, Secretary of Defense James Mattis told reporters that conventional forces would start assuming greater roles in mission sets that were once the purview of special operations forces.
In fact, that’s already happening.
Conventional forces and special operators have been working side by side in places like Iraq and Syria. For example, in Syria, a small group of roughly 400 Marines deployed last year to back Syrian Democratic Forces fighting Islamic State militants, providing 24-hour artillery and fires support.