The 2030 Marine infantry battalion will contribute to joint and naval combined-arms formations that are essential components of the future, persistently forward-deployed, naval expeditionary force. These modernized infantry forces will execute mission-critical tasks for the fleet commander or maritime component commander, often in conjunction with or in support of SOF partners.
To accomplish their tasks, infantry battalions will be equipped, starting at the squad level, with resilient, networked communications and precision fires capabilities, including loitering munitions enabled by artificial intelligence. These units must be light, mobile, and capable of distributed operations. They must be able to embark aboard all types of Navy and auxiliary vessels, and they must be armed with organic systems capable of sensing, cueing, and shooting in support of naval and joint sea-control and assured-access missions. Mature, competent, highly trained and educated Marines equipped with state-of-the-art weapons and equipment are essential to achieving this vision.
“…we are modernizing our infantry battalions and traditional reconnaissance units to create more distributable formations with much greater organic lethality in accordance with units traditionally associated with special forces and commando units.” Gen D. H. Berger, SASC Testimony 23 Sept 2020
These following changes are to enable Infantry Battalions to meet the requirements for Distributed Operations and Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations, to provide more lethal, versatile, and experienced units with more multi-disciplinary Marines.
To enhance the infantry battalion’s capabilities, we will add organic multi-domain sensing (Operations in the Information Environment, Electronic Warfare, and Unmanned Aircraft Systems) capabilities, organic loitering munitions, and increased mobility. One of the changes being evaluated is a shift to an “arms room” concept with the elimination of Weapons Company and the shift of weapons systems formerly associated with Weapons Company, 81mm mortars and the Javelin for example, into the headquarters or rifle companies. This will allow the rifle company to tailor mission specific lethality.
Through the Fog
Photo by Cpl. Aaron Patterson
U.S. Marine Cpl. James K. Gordan II, a rifleman with 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, reacts to a surprise gas attack during the Advanced Infantry Course aboard Kahuku Training Area, Hawaii, July 20, 2016. AIC is intermediate training designed to enhance and test the Marine's skills and leadership abilities as squad leaders in a rifle platoon.
Adjusting to this concept will require a multi-disciplinary Marine, supported by a longer, more comprehensive entry-level training pipeline; this is an effort currently underway within Training and Education Command. The Marine Corps is enhancing the Infantry Marine Course by increasing the Program of Instruction by six weeks (from 8 to 14).
Within the additional time:
• Marines will be technically and tactically proficient with more company-level infantry weapons systems.
• Marines will be trained in a variety of expedient communications platforms to facilitate small-unit communications, command, and control.
• Marines will be proficient in all-spectrum signature management and enhanced camouflaging techniques.
The reorganization of the infantry battalion is supported by a campaign of learning, to include wargaming, studies. And modeling and simulation.
Under the observation of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, each MEF will experiment with its respective infantry battalion reorganization. The Marine Corps is not experimenting with the reorganization in a limited exercise scenario in a controlled environment at a training facility, but instead equipping, training, and deploying under the new construct.
Upon completion of the deployment, fleet feedback will be closely monitored and applied to future modeling and simulation events. Outcomes will help to validate and influence follow-on reorganization decisions.