gear going to the depots, [and] that gear that is beyond a
serviceable condition, the service life, we’ll replace it.”
And then there is a reconstitution. Forty percent of
the equipment at home station, back here in the United
States — Hawaii, Okinawa, the continental United States
— is missing. It’s in Afghanistan. So not only do you take
the equipment that comes out of Afghanistan and you fix
it or replace it, but we’ve got to reconstitute what’s miss-
ing back here in the United States. It’s missing because
we continue to supply that equipment into Afghanistan
or Iraq. That’s the first thing, to get that right.
Then what we need to do is reorient the Marine
Corps. We’ll always have an eye on Southwest Asia,
there’s no question about it. There’s always going to be a
role for Marines in the CENTCOM AOR [Central
Command Area of Responsibility], but we need to reorient the Marines. So to reset the Corps, its equipment, its
training, trying to get back to some of those core competencies that the Marine Corps has historically been so
expert at. For instance, combined arms, amphibious
operations — get back to those things as well, and then
reorient the Marine Corps more specifically.
You’ve traditionally been a knock-down-the-door force. What will you do to refocus the
Corps as an amphibious forcible-entry force?
AMOS: First of all, the forcible entry piece is a narrow
mission set for us. It’s a very important one. I’ll just make
a pitch on that because we are the nation’s sole forcible
entry force from the sea. You can parachute into a country all day long, but you’re only going to have with you
what you have on your back. You’re not going to have
heavy artillery, you’re not going to have any mechanized
maneuver capabilities. So we come from the sea.
To get back to our amphibious roots, we began earlier this year an exercise called Bold Alligator. It’s an
East Coast exercise with [U.S.] Second Fleet [and]
Second Marine Expeditionary Force. It’s one in a joint
environment, but predominantly naval forces, and it
was a tabletop exercise to begin with. The idea behind
it was: How would we exercise command and control
of Marine forces at sea [and] transitioning from sea to
shore? How would we operate the air command and
control of the air space, of the battle space, and those
types of supported and supporting relationships?
We transition next year to Bold Alligator 12. It will
be virtual and live. … This will be the first [exercise]
of a significant size like this, with the Navy and the
Marine Corps, and I’m pretty excited about it. We take
the first step and the second and the third and then,
one day, we’re back to business again.
What are some of the major recommendations
from the force structure review being implemented? Why do you consider a force of
186,800 Marines the right force size needed
for the future Marine Corps?
AMOS: We didn’t begin with numbers. What we were
told was to come down and right-size the Marine Corps
for the future security environment, so we did that. I
gave the force structure review folks the mission statement of the Marine Corps. Secretary Gates had already
approved that. … When you look at this mission statement, you can articulate what it is that the Marine Corps
does for our nation. … It defines our lane, so we took
that lane and then applied it against the future security
environment over the next two decades — what we
think we’ll be doing for our nation, what the world is
going to look like. And then said, “come up with a
force.” As it turned out, it was 186,800. It wasn’t
172,000. It wasn’t 195,000. That was the right number.
Here are several things that made it right.
No. 1, we took the lessons that we learned over the last
10 years of warfare and incorporated them into this new
force structure — everything from counterinsurgency
operations to how we organize our supply battalions.
Instead of the old way, where we take some Marines from
the supply battalions, the maintenance battalion and the
headquarters battalion, we’d cobble them together and we
would make the combat logistics battalion. We actually
are standing these up now. We’ve taken and added capabilities in the Marine Corps that we have been short on.