The lessons learned from an experimental School of Infantry might soon be applied to the combat training for non-infantry Marines.
The current course, known as Marine Combat Training, historically has been a condensed infantry course version, which Marines attended once they completed boot camp in line with the Corps’ vision of making every Marine a rifleman.
The four week course will remain a condensed version of infantry training, but will look to do so more efficiently than it had in the past, with a more-focused look at the future battlefield.
“MCT is looking at starting a pilot on future MCT or FMCT… that is enhancing from a lethality perspective,” Col. Coby Moran, commander for School of Infantry–West, told Marine Corps Times.
The need for increased infantry skills for non-infantry Marines may increase as the Corps shifts to a distributed operations strategy.
The plan, pushed by Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger after he became the top devil dog, would see Marines spread out in small units across the littorals of a future battlefield.
There, Marines will act as the skirmish line for the joint force while taking on missions that will help clear the way for the Navy.
In the concept the Marines will be asked to sink ships using long-range missiles, hunt submarines, conduct cyberwarfare and potentially even take place in raids that would drop missiles deep behind enemy lines.
The concept requires the Marine Corps to create new types of units and will push decision-making down to the lowest level, potentially putting an artillery or communications staff noncommissioned officer in a place where he is making decisions previously reserved for battalion or even regimental commanders.
To create more capable infantry Marines, the Corps already has launched a pilot program that extended the School of Infantry to 14-weeks and is considering combining some or all infantry military occupational specialties into one.
For the non-infantry side, the enhanced future Marine Combat Training course will aim to create Marines capable of fighting on these future battlefields.
“At this time, both Marine Corps Schools of Infantry are analyzing the Program of Instruction at MCT to identify opportunities to better align MCT with Force Design 2030 and to meet future requirements,” Capt. Sam Stephenson, a spokesman for the Marine Corps’ Training and Education Command, said in an email.
Unlike the plan for infantry Marines, the Corps is not currently considering extending MCT, but rather is looking at ways to improve training techniques.
“The way we get after it is refining to the maximum extent possible, the lethality aspects of that (Marine Air Ground Task Force) Marine being able to find ways to survive as a rifleman on the battlefield and still being able to meet those very quick term times, with only 29 training days,” Moran said.
The Marine Corps has not said when they intend to launch the Marine combat training pilot program.