In yet another push to the US’ Indo-Pacific policy, the Marine Corps is set to establish three littoral regiments to counter China’s aggressive posture in the region, according to reports.
Washington is eying to create new military bases and new alliances in the Indo-Pacific region. These littoral regiments would help the US to keep a tab on the Chinese activity and prepare for a potential conflict with China in the future.
The Marine Corps, the main expeditionary fighting force in the US military, has its own infantry, armored, artillery, aerial, and special operations units.
According to the USNI News, the Marine Corps is shedding its heavier equipment so it can operate between expeditionary bases on islands in the Pacific to support the fleet. The proposed littoral regiment is likely to have 1,800 to 2,000 sailors and Marines. It will feature a separate combat team, an anti-air battalion, and a logistics battalion.
Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, the commanding general of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, recently said the service plans to have the first regiment, which will be based in Hawaii, ready in the fiscal year 2023.
Up, Up and Away!
Lance Cpl. Braxton Lee, a rifleman with 3d Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment launches a drone to scan for enemy positions during joint training exercise Littoral Strike at @catc_campfuji. pic.twitter.com/X4dssyk8NY
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) January 26, 2021
“There has been discussion of creating as many as three in the Pacific between now and 2030 and they would be forward-based in the Pacific, although they might – depending on the experimentation that we do – they might be rotational in terms of how we source some of the people that man these Marine Littoral Regiments,” Watson said last week at the National Defense Industrial Association’s virtual expeditionary warfare conference.
“And then based on their – where they’re home-based in the Pacific, elements would rotate on a regular basis further west,” he continued. “So working with allies and partners so that we persistently have a presence from each of the Marine Littoral Regiments out there in the western Pacific.”
The officer also said that the forces could potentially be deployed to fight around the Persian Gulf or around the Red Sea in case the need arises. He stated that the organization would have O-6 level headquarters, with subordinate units, which could “fight and win those complex littorals of the western Pacific”, and a great capability increase to support elements in the Baltics or the Western Indian Ocean.
The idea for the MLR unit came from the Marine Corps wargaming to evaluate how it should implement its various operating concepts such as Expeditionary Advanced Based Operations (EABO) and Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment (LOCE).