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Rolling the USMC into the Army

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Lindsie Sooter

on 25 April 2014

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Transcript of Rolling the USMC into the Army

Tradition and Culture:
Differences in organizational culture will likely undermine a merger.
There are clear variances in organizational culture that are imposed on new recruits as early as basic training where one begins to think and act like a Marine or Soldier.
Army and Marine values, organizational values contribute to the understanding of their place in the fight, and guiding beliefs.
Tradition is engrained in Army and Marine culture.
Executive Summary:
Logistical Factors:
It would be outrageous to say that combining or pooling the Marine Corps into the Army would be an easy process. Rather, the logistics of the proposal are tedious, meticulous and surely would take years and years of transitioning and adjustment. Even so, proving that this task would increase efficiency in an advantageous way is impossible.

Training & Operations
To roll the USMC into the Army will complicate current operation of deployed Marines and Soldiers.
It will be timely to refine Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for a new unified force.
It will not be cost effective to refit, re-uniform, retrain in tactics, retrain in vehicle of familiarization of sister branch, make all vehicles uniform and standardized, and re-create a new "Ground Forces" unit culture.

Proposal Benefits:
The United States Department of Defense budget is continuously a controversial topic that is constantly debated. Simply stated, it takes an exorbitant amount of money to keep the US safe and secure. The proposed defense budget for fiscal year 2015 is set at $495.6 billion. Pressure from the rest of the government to downsize this number has forced the DoD to reassess the quantity of military. “It seeks efficiencies, including another round of base realignment and closure, and slow growth in military compensation in order to free up funds to minimize cuts in force size and readiness.” (DoD) $120.3 billion, 24.2%, of the funding is designated for the army and $147.8 billion, 29.8% is designated to the Navy/Marine Corps; the Marine Corps specifically requires at least $22.7 billion to sustain the current Marines.[1]
To roll the USMC into the army would potentially downsize some of these numbers, despite the Department’s wishes to avoid cutting back, especially on active military personnel. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel already has his eyes set on drawing back the Army, making it a smaller unit, which potentially foreshadows the dismissal of the Marine Corps. “We’re still going to have a very significant-sized Army,” the official said. “But it’s going to be agile. It will be capable. It will be modern. It will be trained.” [2] Hagel's reasons are simple, there isn't a need for this size of an Army if there is not a land-war to match it. Thus drawing down our branches so they are more specialized, direct and swift is a proposal that would cut back the budget. Unfortunately, the Marine Corps size makes it hard to cut back on even more, so it is plausible to roll it into the Army if drawdowns reach that extreme.
Rolling the USMC into the Army
an inefficient proposal
A presentation by: Lindsie Kate Sooter
William Josephson

Criticism exists both nationally and internationally as to how much the United States spends on defense and security each year. With a proposed budget of $495.6 billion for fiscal year 2015 [1] it is the highest budget in the US executive branch [2]. Frequent problems that stem from the budget such as sequestration and government shutdowns, criticism and suggestions of efficiency and downsizing have become a popular trend. However, downsizing the military, despite its proposed efficiency and cost-benefits, is not quite as popular.
This case study aims to counter the proposal of rolling the United States Marine Corps into the Army. The act of combining the two branches is ridiculous, unfeasible and would counteract the desired effect of efficiency. Reasons to why this proposal is completely impractical include, yet are not limited to, logistical factors, tradition and culture, differences in training and operations, as well as budgetary. The case study will also include a counterargument based on fiscal responsibility.
[1] Department of Defense: "DoD Releases Fiscal Budget 2015 Proposal and 2014 QDR."
[2] Office of Management and Budget. "Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government."
"Army Strong" vs. "The Few. The Proud."
The Navy
Melding the Army and USMC would greatly affect the Navy as well. The Navy needs the Marine Corps to be apart of their amphibious warfare mechanisms. The Navy and USMC train together in aviation as well as sea-to-land operations. The Marine Corps relies on the Navy to provide medics and long-distance transportation. Most imperatively to this topic is that the Marine Corps supports naval campaigns, thus without a Marine Corps to support these missions the Navy would need to formulate a similar system, or the Army would need to provide a force that do the same tasks. Simply, this would be completely inefficient.

Active Duty
Active Duty
Army Reserve
Army National Guard
[3] Department of Defense. "2012 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community."
Cooper, Helen, Shanker, Thom. "Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level."
New York Times
. 23 Feb. 2014. Print. Retrieved April 21, 2014.

Hackworth, D. (1994, August). A New Way to Defend America. The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved April 023, 2014. http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=2209&dat=19940807&id=ZLFKAAAAIBAJ&sjid=XJQMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6873,1360164\

Odierno, R., Amos, J., & McRaven, William (2013). Strategic Land Power Taskforce. DOD Memorandum. Retrieved April 22, 2014. http://www.ausa.org/news/2013/Documents/Strategic%20Landpower%20White%20Paper%20May%202013.pdf

Office of Management and Budget. “Fiscal Year 2015 Budget of the U.S. Government.” U.S. Government Printing Office. Washington, 2014. Web.

U.S. Department of Defense. “2012 Demographics: Profile of the Military Community.” Office of the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense. Print. 2012.
- “DOD Releases Fiscal 2015 Budget Proposal and 2014 QDR.” DOD Press Operations. 4 Mar. 2014. Web. Retrieved April 21, 2014.

U.S. Department of the Navy. (2001). MCDP 1-0 Marine Corps Operations. DOD Joint Publication. Retrieved April 21, 2014.

U.S. Department of Defense. (1996). FM 90-31, MCRP 3-3.8, Army and Marine Corps Integration in Joint Operations (AMCI). DOD Joint Publication. Retrieved April 22, 2014.

Van Dishoeck, T., Impellitteri, T. (2004). Merging the U.S. Army and the U.S. Marine Corps. EWS Contemporary Issues Paper.. Retrieved April 21, 2014.

Because of the vast differences in size, it would seem that rolling the USMC into the Army could plausibly be done; yet the repercussions of this act would be detrimental to the purpose of the Marine Corps. The sheer size of the army will eliminate the Marine Corps primary intention of being under a smaller, direct command.
Day-to-day operations:
Items that would need to be adapted and/or remodeled if the Army and Marine Corps melded:
uniforms, bases/camps, ranking, unit sizes, international posts and obligations, records and databases, command roles in Pentagon, etc.
Some of these adaptions done through downsizing could cause thousands to lose jobs, benefits and homes.
This process would be extremely time consuming as well as have outstanding costs to complete.
The Counterargument
[1] Department of Defense: "DoD Releases Fiscal Budget 2015 Proposal and 2014 QDR."
[2] Cooper, Helen, Shanker, Thom. "Pentagon Plans to Shrink Army to Pre-World War II Level."
Army camaraderie and appreciation is unit based,
and grounded on the traditional stories and values
of the Devil Dogs and Screaming Eagles.

Marine camaraderie and appreciation of
history is based on battles that the Corps
has fought (Iwo Jima). Marines consider all Marines brothers rather than identifying with a specific unit.

Differences in Tradition
The uniforms are different for a reason.

In the Marines, they hold onto the symbol of the eagle and the globe as well as the Memorial of Iwo Jima.

The Army uniforms carry tradition and culture through unit patches that have been worn for generations. Unit pride builds camaraderie and unit cohesion all of which are critical on deployments and help give meaning to the mission and purpose of the soldier.

All of this may seem simple to a civilian, but it is part of a Soldier or Marine’s identity.
Breeding Soldiers and Marines
In basic training, new recruits grow into the Marine ethos from the beginning. They leave basic training a Marine.

In the Army, basic training is considered initial training, and they are made to understand that they are not yet an asset to their unit until they complete their military occupational specialty training or Advanced Individual Training (AIT).

In the Marines, a Marine is a rifleman first and then a specialist.

In the Army, a Soldier is identified through their specialty first.
Soldiers are more military occupational specialty specific.

Organizational Differences
Overcoming differences in organizational culture would be the biggest impediment to merging the two branches.
Even language is different between the two branches.
Marines use naval jargon, such as “hit the deck” and “close the hatch,” while the Army will say, “hit the floor” or “close the door.” It sounds trivial, but it is part of what makes a Marine a Marine and a Soldier a Soldier.
It is part of the culture and when you are at war, culture and unit solidarity is what keeps one grounded and morale intact.
There are even differences within the ranks structures of the two branches.
In the Army, the Officer Corps takes on more responsibilities, while in the Marines, Non-commissioned officers are given more responsibility and are considered specialists.
This is especially the case because the Marine Corps does not have Warrant Officers, which are the technical specialists in the Army branch of service.

A merger could risk jeopardizing unit cohesion and limit occupational specialties of certain military occupations that are branch specific.
The biggest concern will be a drop in troop morale and camaraderie, which will impact unit cohesiveness and effectiveness in the short term.
Marines are bred to handle austere environments under harsher conditions and with less resources.
Soldiers are bred to withstand longer deployments and are trained and equipped to handle longer wars or deployments.
It would not be cost effective to cross-train each branch and it would take time to be combat ready.

Risk to Combat Effectiveness
Rewriting Operational Procedures
Conventional, Unconventional, Special Operations Community (SOCOM, USASOC, MARSOC) SOPs must be rewritten to build cohesiveness.
The Marine Corps is smaller and trained to lead an invading force and sustain itself for short deployments.
The Army is a larger force and trained and equipped to sustain itself for longer deployments and provide long-term stability and support operations.
Marines are trained for expeditionary amphibious insertions and operations, while the Army is trained for to sustain terrain-based infantry tactics with fire support both from Army artillery units and Air Force coordination.
As mentioned, Naval operations would suffer in their ability to adapt to Sea and Land obligations if they lose their amphibious support - the Marines.
If a merger occurs, our military may suffer from the loss of branch specific specializations.

If the issue is lack of uniformity between the two Branches of Service, then why not just refine and reform SOPs to improve turnover and continuity of effort. That should at least be the first step before merging the branches. Once the branches speak the same language and operate more uniformly, then it would be more feasible to merge them. At this time a merger of the services is not the most pragmatic thing to do especially when it would get in the way of the U.S. efficiently responding to a conflict that threatens our national security.
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