In a historic move, the Marine Forces Special Operations Command (MARSOC) has decided to move all of its subordinate units to the East Coast.
The 1st Raider Battalion and 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion, both of which are currently located at Camp Pendleton, California, will relocate to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, by the September 2022.
The move will include almost 1,000 personnel (operators, enablers, and civilian staff). There, they will join the rest of the MARSOC line (2nd Raider Battalion and 3rd Raider Battalion) and support (2nd Marine Raider Support Battalion and 3rd Marine Raider Support Battalion) units.
Regardless of branch, Special Operations units are distributed all across America. For instance, there are Navy SEAL Teams in both the West and East Coast; similarly, Special Forces Groups are located on both coasts. MARSOC will now become the only Special Operations unit with a presence in just one location.
Major General Daniel Yoo, the commanding officer of MARSOC, said in a press statement that the move “ will also position MARSOC for more economical experimentation, testing, and evaluation of future operating concepts and near-peer offset capabilities, while streamlining organizational learning to enhance component-wide standards, performance, training, and readiness across the force.”
But, retired Major Fred Galvin, a former Marine Raider who commanded Foxtrot Company, said to SOFREP that the MARSOC leadership is “doing it for cost savings. I agree that all DoD entities should be more fiscally sound. [However] the morale issues will be one impact. No other SOCOM components are stretched so thin fiscally that they [had to be] consolidated [in one] unit geographically. This could be to have more control over all MARSOC units.”
Much like the whole Special Operations community, MARSOC has had a significant retention problem. The move is bound to worsen that problem as Raiders will now have to consider relocating their families.
“MARSOC has been pursuing numerous lines of effort to increase performance, efficiencies, and capabilities in support of the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s imperatives to build a more lethal force and reform the department for greater performance and affordability,” added Major General Yoo. “One line of effort is the consolidation of all Marine Special Operations Forces to the east coast. Consolidation will enhance the command’s Enterprise Level Agility to meet the future operating environment challenges articulated in the NDS, the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, and our own vision and strategy, MARSOF 2030.”
Read more about the tumultuous history of the Marine Raiders here.