Marine Corps to Eliminate Infantry Assault Marines in Favor of Cyber Warfare
On Wednesday, a report stated that the Marine Corps intends to phase out rifle company assault sections and completely eliminate the assault Marine military occupational specialty (MOS), freeing up approximately 500 Marines to focus on duties associated with cyber operations, electronic warfare, and intelligence. The shift will allow the Marine Corps to improve readiness based on today’s threats.
According to the Marine Corps Times, Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller recently spoke with Marines regarding the future of rifle companies, including changes to their composition. In the future, rifle companies will use combat engineers for barrier breaching and the destruction of enemy fortifications using rockets, duties which are currently associated with infantry assault Marines.
While the Marine Corps had originally planned to expand their numbers, adding 194,000 active duty personnel, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis informed the military branch that they needed to first focus on improving readiness.
Without the added numbers, the Marine Corps “had to create some trades to buy Marines to do other things,” said Neller.
Assault infantry Marines who would be affected by the change are expected to easily transition to another MOS based on the similarity of the training other infantry Marines receive. Generally, the MOS for assault Marines is limited to those with a rank of sergeant or below.
Neller also another change, saying that Marines would start using the Carl Gustaf recoilless rifle instead of the current MK-153 shoulder-launched multipurpose assault weapon, also known as SMAW.
“Do I like the SMAW? Yes, I do,” said Neller. “But we had to give up something to get something else.”
As of this writing, Marine Corps officials have yet to formally comment on Neller’s remarks regarding the elimination of the assault Marine MOS.