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.”


Size Matters: Marines Looking Into Bigger Rifle Squads For Deployed Forces