After shrinking infantry rifle squads, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller is now considering making squads bigger for deployed Marines.
Neller announced in May that rifle squads will be reduced from 13 to 12 Marines, but he added two billets to each squad: an assistant squad leader and a systems operator, who can fly a small drone and be in charge of other technology.
But Marine Expeditionary Units may need rifle squads with 15 Marines “because they are forward-deployed,” Neller said Wednesday at a Defense Writers Group breakfast.
“I don’t know when we’re going to start it,” Neller told Task & Purpose. “That’s just something that came up here recently. But I think if we can generate the people, we’re probably going to do that.”
The extra three Marines would be 0311 riflemen and they would be added to each of the squad’s three fire teams, said Neller’s spokesman Lt. Col. Eric Dent.
For the immediate future, it appears that most rifle squads will get smaller. Neller said he hopes the Marine Corps can begin introducing the 12-Marine rifle squads with assistant squad leaders and systems operators starting in 2020.
“I want to get that implemented to see how it works,” Neller said. “If it doesn’t, we’ll adjust.”
With the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a gaggle of B-52 Stratofortress bombers flexing their muscles in the Middle East, lawmakers are mounting yet another effort to repeal the post-9/11 legislation that could be used as a potential legal justification for a military conflict with Iran.
The House Appropriations Committee on Tuesday voted along party lines to add an amendment to the annual defense budget that would roll back the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that, passed just days after the September 11th attacks, provided a legislative blank check for the U.S. military to pursue terror groups around the world.
In what appear to be his first public remarks on U.S. national security since his resignation as Secretary of Defense, retired Marine Gen. James Mattis offered a word of caution to President Donald Trump amid escalating tensions with Iran on Tuesday.
"The United States should buy time to keep peace and stability and allow diplomats to work diplomacy on how to keep peace for one more hour, one more day, one more week, a month or a year," Mattis said during remarks in the United Arab Emirates.
"Iran's behavior must change," Mattis added, "[but] the military must work to buy time for diplomats to work their magic."
To many, he was the homegrown face of terrorist treachery who left a comfortable Marin County life to train for jihad with Osama bin Laden and fight for America's foes in Afghanistan. To others, he was a wayward teenage spiritual seeker swept up in the Global War on Terror.
This week, a generation after 9/11, the "American Taliban" will be a free man.