Despite its maritime roots, the Marine Corps has spent the vast majority of the past two decades conducting combat operations in the arid deserts of the Middle East. As a result, Marine Commandant Gen. David Berger wants to remind the world that, while Marines may be able to fight in any clime or place, the Corps is still the premier amphibious fighting force on the globe.
And while this new four-minute video doesn’t specifically identify China as a looming threat to America’s security, it seems prudent that the Marine Corps would renew its interest in an island-hopping style of warfare amid China’s aggressive claims of sovereignty over a number of contested islands in the South China Sea, a waterway that sees a third of all global commerce traverse its surface each year.
China’s aggressive claims over islands throughout the waterway have escalated tensions between the burgeoning military power and a number of nations with economic interests throughout the Pacific. However, China’s rapidly developing hypersonic anti-ship missile platforms have proven to be a powerful strategic deterrent throughout the area, as China’s missiles have all but neutered America’s most potent force projection capabilities, in the form of carriers that could no longer close to within operational distances of Chinese shores without running the risk of being sunk.
In a hypothetical conflict in the South China Sea, it would be up to amphibious units and stealth, deep penetration bombers to do away with anti-ship platforms on shore to allow America’s carriers to come close enough to land to begin delivering America’s air power to bear, and this video certainly makes it seem as though the Marines are gearing up to play their part in such a fight.
When the video specifically cites the Marines‘ capability to fight in contested Maritime environments, the assumption must be that it’s referencing the approximately 1,000 nautical mile area-denial bubble created by China’s forthcoming anti-ship missiles.
Beyond the scope of a renewed emphasis on amphibious warfare, this video also serves another importantly purpose: reminding the American people about what the Marine corps stands for. In that regard, this video seems tailored not toward potential recruits, but rather toward the American people in general.
Watch the video below:
The Marine Corps brings unique capabilities to the defense of the nation.
That’s why America often looks to the @USNavy–Marine Corps team as its naval expeditionary force-in-readiness when responding to crises, creating decision space or winning battles. pic.twitter.com/GO4iQNCmg5
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) October 3, 2019