Even with the Amphibious Combat Vehicle rolling out, the question that always seems to come up is: what does the future of war look like? Will it involve or even need a vehicle like this? That same question arose after World War II, and it was answered in 1950 when Marines conducted an amphibious landing in Korea. Marine amphibious vehicles were again used, to a lesser degree, in Vietnam. AAVs were even used to cross the Tigris River into Baghdad in 2003, causing many of the Marines to question the vehicle’s reliability in the water after the punishment suffered during the invasion.
Now, looking ahead, it seems less and less likely that there be another large-scale amphibious landing on an adversarial beach, especially one in which ACVs will be the first wave. In his address at the Naval War College in 2009, then-Secretary of Defense Gates noted:
“I have also directed the QDR [Quadrennial Defense Review] team to be realistic about the scenarios where direct U.S. military actions would be needed – so we can better gauge our requirements. One of those that will be examined closely is the need for a new capability to get large numbers of troops from ship to shore — in other words, the capability provided by the Marine Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle […] But we have to take a hard look at where it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious action again. In the 21st century, how much amphibious capability do we need?”