The Marine Corps light armored reconnaissance community is at a crossroads as the vehicle-driven force faces new challenges in a more austere, logistics-strapped terrain.

While Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger has stressed the importance of reconnaissance and counter-reconnaissance capabilities for nearly all of the force, one of the key pieces of that puzzle remains in limbo.

Berger’s force design vision that puts the Marines hip-to-hip with the Navy envisions a reconnaissance force that’s “winning the hider/finder competition” in a potential sensor-driven fight with China.

But light armored reconnaissance Marines are still waiting for a new vehicle dubbed the advanced reconnaissance vehicle, or ARV, which has been talked about for more than a decade but remains a drawing board concept in limited budget days. And those Marines are shouldering their mission with a platform that dates back to before many of them were born — the light armored vehicle, which first rolled off the line in 1983.

The state of the Marine reconnaissance element looks to be in high demand but remains in “flux,” Center for Strategic and International Studies Senior Adviser and retired Marine officer Mark Cancian noted in his November budget report.

The service seeks a medium caliber cannon with anti-armor fires capabilities, precision-guided munitions, electronic warfare, extended recon and surveillance command and control suite, active and passive vehicle protection and shore-to-shore water mobility, noted a Congressional Research Service report on the ARV, published in July 2021.

The Navy has asked for more than $48 million in its most recent request for research, development and evaluation.

But the program was recommended by officials for re-evaluation in a February 2021 update to Congress. The CRS report also raised the question if funding should be suspended until the Corps decides what its going to do with its LAR companies and the ARV.

This is an excerpt from “19 Things Marines Need To Know For 2022,” in the January print edition of Marine Corps Times.

Todd South has written about crime, courts, government and the military for multiple publications since 2004 and was named a 2014 Pulitzer finalist for a co-written project on witness intimidation. Todd is a Marine veteran of the Iraq War.

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