Lance Cpl. Chris Pedroza, a rifleman with Alpha Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, the "China Marines," firing an M240G medium machine gun during low-light live-fire machine-gun training at Anderson Air Force Base in Guam on March 11. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Harrison C. Rakhshani)

Everything that is old may indeed be new again.

During World War II, U.S. Marines moved from island to island, famously fighting bloody battles against entrenched Japanese forces determined to dominate the Pacific. Now, as a potential conflict with China looms, the Marine Corps is dusting off this island-hopping strategy.

Last week, U.S. Marines from the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit led a series of simulated small island assaults in Japan, the Corps announced Thursday.

Marines with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab in Okinawa, Japan, on March 13(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

The 31st MEU, supported by elements of the 3rd Marine Division, 3rd Marine Logistics Group and 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, members of the Air Force 353rd Special Operations Group, and Army soldiers with 1st Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group, practiced seizing Ie Shima Island.

After the Marines seized the island's airfield, U.S. troops quickly established a Forward Arming and Refueling Point. Additional force assets, such as Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and C-130J Super Hercules transport aircraft, then moved in to deliver extra firepower.

Rocket artillery units brought in aboard the C-130Js carried out simulated long-range precision fire missions while the stealth fighters conducted expeditionary strikes with precision guided munitions.

"This entire mission profile simulated the process of securing advanced footholds for follow-on forces to conduct further military operations, with rapid redeployment," the Corps said in a statement. The exercise was part of the Corps' ongoing efforts to refine the Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations concept, which is the modern version of the WWII-era island-hopping strategy.

A Marine with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, bounding toward a defensive position during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab.(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

"It is critical for us to be able to project power in the context of China, and one of the traditional missions of the Marine Corps is seizing advanced bases," Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine Corps Gen. Joseph Dunford told the Senate Armed Services Committee last week. "If you look at the island chains and so forth in the Pacific as platforms from which we can project power, that would be a historical mission for the Marine Corps and one that is very relevant in a China scenario."

As the National Defense Strategy makes clear, the U.S. military is facing greater challenges from near-peer threats in an age of renewed great power competition with rival powers. In the Pacific, China is establishing military outposts on occupied islands in the South China Sea while pursuing power projection capabilities designed to extend its reach beyond the first island chain.

With the U.S. and Chinese militaries operating in close proximity, often with conflicting objectives, there have been confrontations. A close U.S. ally recently expressed concern that the two powers might one day find themselves in a shooting war in the South China Sea.

Marines with Charlie Company, Battalion Landing Team, 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, engaging targets while assaulting a defensive position during a live-fire range as part of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit's simulated Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations at Camp Schwab.(U.S. Marine Corps/Gunnery Sgt. T. T. Parish)

"We continue to seek areas to cooperate with China where we can, but where we can't we're prepared to certainly protect both U.S. and allied interest in the region," Director of the Joint Staff Lt. Gen. Kenneth McKenzie said at the Pentagon last May.

"The United States military has had a lot of experience in the Western Pacific taking down small islands," he said when asked if the U.S. has the ability to "blow apart" China's outposts in the South China Sea. "We had a lot of experience in the Second World War taking down small islands that are isolated, so that's a core competency of the U.S. military that we've done before."

It's just a "historical fact," he explained.

Read more from Business Insider:

SEE ALSO: The Marine Corps Is Embracing A New Naval Warfare Concept For The Next Big Fight Against China

WATCH NEXT: America Needs Better Logistics To Compete With Russia And China

U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Gen. Joseph L. Osterman, the commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force, speaks to Marines with the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) during a visit aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4). Marines and Sailors with the 11th MEU are conducting routine operations as part of the Boxer Amphibious Ready Group in the eastern Pacific Ocean. (U.S. Marine Corps Photo by Lance Cpl. Dalton S. Swanbeck)

The Marine Corps' top general on the west coast is readying his Marines for the next big war against a near peer competitor, and one of his main concerns is figuring out how to alter the mindset of troops that have been fighting insurgencies since 9/11.

"If anything my problem is getting people out of the mindset of [counterterrorism] and making sure they're thinking about near peer adversaries in their training programs," Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, commanding general of I Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, California, told Task & Purpose in an interview on Friday.

Read More Show Less
A U.S. Marine with Task Force Southwest patrols through a village near Bost Kalay, Afghanistan (U.S. Marine Corps photo)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

The Marine Corps is gearing up for a complex ground fight by adding hundreds more infantry squad leaders, special operators, cyber Marines and information warfare experts, according to 2020 budget documents.

The Corps wants $45.9 billion in 2020, a 6 percent jump from last year's $43.1 billion budget request. The service's plans support a Pentagon-wide push to "prioritize close-combat lethality and build a future force oriented on meeting potential peer or near-peer adversaries," the budget documents state.

Read More Show Less
Matthew Kraft (Photo: 1st Marine Division)

A massive search effort is still underway in central California for a Marine lieutenant who went missing while on a backcountry skiing trip sometime on or around March 4.

Read More Show Less
A pledge is displayed during a Change the Culture program, Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Oct. 4, 2018. U.S. Marine Corps/Cpl. Matthew Kirk

Tamara Campbell started receiving letters from her ex-husband, Bradley Darlington, after he'd been in jail for almost two years.

Sometimes they came to her directly and sometimes they were forwarded to her by her former in-laws. Regardless of how they arrived, the letters violated the victim/witness program procedures in place at Naval Consolidated Brig Chesapeake, where Darlington was incarcerated.

Read More Show Less

Rory Hamill served as an infantryman in the United States Marine Corps, deploying to Afghanistan with Golf Company, 2nd Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment. That deployment would change Rory's life in many ways and has helped him develop into a man who has decided to never stop working on himself.

Read More Show Less
© 2018 Hirepurpose. All rights reserved. Registration on or use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service.