While the Marines and the U.S. military are amid an overhaul to prep the force for a fight with near-peer adversaries, the Corps hasn’t lost focused on its counterinsurgency mission.
And on Wednesday, the top Marine told reporters at a media roundtable event that the Corps plans to double its foreign military training adviser group that aids in stability operations and helps train future Marine foreign advisers.
While America’s focus is once again on great power competition, that “doesn’t mean we are going to forget or forgo the requirements to be able to do counterinsurgency or stability ops,” Gen. Robert B. Neller, the commandant of the Marine Corps, told reporters Wednesday.
In 2012, the Corps stood up the Marine Corps Security Cooperation Group, or MCSCG, which carries out foreign military training and cooperation and trains Marine advisors preparing to deploy overseas with cultural and immersion training and foreign weapons handling.
The MCSCG runs a nearly 4-week course dubbed the Marine Advisor Course, which helps hone future Marine foreign military trainers in a plethora of skills from force protection to building rapport with foreign security forces.
Neller says he plans to double the size of the group and rename it the Marine Advisor Group.
The organization will serve as a “repository of lessons learned” of the Corps’ foreign military and security cooperation engagements, Neller explained.
The Marine Corps carries out foreign military advisory operations all over the globe from the countries of Georgia to Afghanistan.
But while the Corps continues to carry out its counterinsurgency mission, the force is still amid a massive overhaul for a modern battlefield.
The Corps has to be prepared “to operate across the range of military operations” from non-combatant evacuations, embassy reinforcement, to counterinsurgency conflicts, Neller said.
The problem is “how much time are you going to allocate” to preparing or training for these operations, Neller explained.
While a fight with a major peer or near pear rival is less likely, “the consequences are higher,” Neller said.
Shawn Snow is the senior reporter for Marine Corps Times and a Marine Corps veteran.