In an effort to create a force designed to be the “eyes and ears” of a joint future fight against China, the Corps already has scrapped tanks, and is reducing squadron size and replacing most traditional cannon batteries with the high mobility artillery rocket system, or HIMARS.
“We, all of us, love the things we are getting rid of," Berger said during his Wednesday morning the keynote speech at the virtual Modern Day Marine expo held from Quantico, Virginia. “We have to make hard decisions about what we must retain."
The Marine Corps is cutting or reducing these programs to free up money in the budget to reinvest in what is needed in the future fight against China, Berger said.
In addition to infantry Marines, logistics forces already based in Hawaii will be added to the regiment along with anti-air elements currently stationed on the mainland United States.
The plan would require Marines to “live” and operate well within range of China’s missile defense system, playing a sea denial and skirmish role against the Chinese military as the rest of the U.S. joint force moves in to win the war.
In order to survive against the Chinese missile threat the Corps will have to change its logistics network and work to reduce its signature in order to hide from the enemy, Berger said Wednesday.
“The stand in force, the Marines postured for it, are the eyes and ears of the Joint Force,” Berger said.
Marines need “the ability to hide in plain sight. And this means blending and this means managing our signatures electronically and visually,” he added.
The new technology will likely come out at a large cost, but the Marine Corps does not plan on asking Congress for money to pay for it, Berger said.
Instead the money saved from cutting 2,000 Marines in 2021, no longer supporting tank battalions and reducing the size of F-35B and F-35C squadrons from 16 to 10 planes will be used to buy the equipment necessary to fight the war, Berger envisions.
“We’re not asking for a nickel more the Marine Corps is not asking for any end strength increase any money increase," Berger said.
“We’re going to reshape ourselves for the future, from within,” he added.