Combatant commanders require additional forward-based/forward-deployed forces to support their strategies for international military competition, which is already becoming obvious as a key lesson.
A growing China and a resurgent Russia are pitted against the United States and its allies in a “great power competition,” according to the 2022 National Defense Strategy. In response to malicious moves by Russia and China, the U.S. recently sent sizable forces to Europe and the Pacific, demonstrating our support for the strategic competition concept. In an effort to meet the goals of Force Design 2030 (FD2030), the Marine Corps has made the foolish decision to reduce structure and capability at a time when the demand for flexible, balanced forces from combatant commanders is rising. To complete missions on both sides of the violence threshold and across the gamut of competition, commanders require additional soldiers. Forward presence, bilateral exercises, security cooperation, capacity building, deterrent, crisis response, and contingency operations are typical duties (high-, mid- and low-intensity). Missions involving security cooperation and capacity building are particularly well suited for the Marine Corps’ forces. However, the Corps has been hesitant to provide active component forces that are in great demand and frequently turns to its Reserve to meet these needs.