Eugene K. Chow
The future is now?
Storming a beach under a hail of gunfire has never been easy for the Marine Corps. But with rapid advances in technology, they now have to contend with precision missiles and other fearsome air and coastal defenses that make an already dangerous mission even riskier.
“I don’t think the next fight is going to be a stability op/counterinsurgency: It’s going to be a violent, violent fight,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller of future conflicts.
To counter these threats, the Marines are scrambling to develop a new operational concept dubbed Expeditionary Advance Base Operations which will require an entirely different approach to amphibious assaults as well as new weapon systems.
Highly accurate missiles can now hit ships and landing craft while they are still hundreds of miles from shore, making it far too dangerous for Marines to storm a beach with their current capabilities. But it’s not only near-peer militaries like China and Russia that possess a deadly arsenal of weapons, nonstate actors like Hezbollah and Houthi rebels in Yemen now have easy access to antiship missiles, unmanned boats and other sophisticated technology.
Recommended: Stealth vs. North Korea’s Air Defenses: Who Wins?
Given that it’s impossible for Marines to destroy all of an enemy’s air and coastal defenses, commanders are exploring ways to create temporary “bubbles” where Marines can safely get ashore.