MajGen Richard C. Schulze Memorial Essay
The MajGen Richard C. Schulze Memorial Essay honors the memory of the Marine Corps general officer for whom it is named. MajGen Schulze, a native of Oakland, CA, died in November 1983, 2 years after his retirement. An enlisted Marine at the time of his commissioning in 1951, he earned his B.A. in Far East history from Stanford University in 1954 and later earned an M.S. in public administration from George Washington University (1971).
He was a mortar section leader with the 1st Marines in Korea and commanded 3d Battalion, 3d Marines in Vietnam. MajGen Schulze served as director of three different divisions within the Manpower Department at Headquarters. He also served as Inspector General of the Marine Corps and as Commanding General, Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He was a frequent contributor to the Gazette and wrote with philosophical insight on many of the intractable problems confronting the Armed Forces—thus the naming of this annual essay in his honor is singularly appropriate.
The Schulze Memorial Essays have been published each year since 1984. They are made possible by the earnings of an endowment fund established by friends of MajGen Schulze. Authors of the essays are chosen by the Editorial Board of the Gazette.
A Secretary of Defense questions whether amphibious operations are still viable in an age of long-range, precision guided munitions and terminates a key amphibious program. A joint commander refuses to launch an amphibious assault for fear of high casualties. An austere fiscal environment squeezes the number of amphibious ships from 34 to 30 with the prospect of even fewer in the future. Just as in 1950 with the advent of nuclear weapons, and in the 1970s with the first precision weapons, amphibious operations have entered another era of doubt and crisis.
To overcome these doubts, amphibious operations will need to clearly demonstrate their utility in the next major conflict. General arguments about presence and strategic flexibility will not suffice in a time of austerity when the country will have to make tough budget tradeoffs and disestablish long-time capabilities, bases, and institutions. Arguing that amphibious forces tied the enemy down will not be convincing if other U.S. forces did the fighting and won the war. Further, the Marine inclination to focus on war winning, Inchon-like operations casts amphibious forces as an all-or-nothing capability that risks leaving them unused. To skeptical observers and a deficit-weary public, an unused capability is an unnecessary capability. In recent conflicts, Marine planners have shown commendable flexibility in devising ways for amphibious forces to contribute to joint operations. This broader view needs reinforcement in the face of doubts about risk and utility. Expanding the variety of prospective operations and presenting joint commanders with many different options would better promote both the joint campaign and sustainment of this critical capability.
Two overarching elements will shape the future strategic environment. The first element is continuing global instability and conflict. It is hard to believe now that some observers foresaw an increasingly peaceful and orderly world when the Cold War ended two decades ago. Instead, the end of the Cold War accelerated the destabilizing of geopolitical forces and made the world safe for regional conflicts. Other Gazette articles, like LtCol Frank Hoffman’s MajGen Richard C. Schulze Memorial Essay Contest essay from 2 years ago, have well described the range of international threats that the U.S. will face in the years ahead.1 These threats are varied and challenging, from failed states to the rise of regional nuclear powers. So, the Marines will have lots to do in the years ahead, and opportunities to employ amphibious forces will arise, though perhaps in locations and ways that we cannot now foresee.
The second element is the end of the current budget cycle that peaked in 2010 and is headed down. The Budget Control Act of 2011 took $487 billion out of the Department of Defense’s (DoD’s) budget over 10 years and, as a result, the Department had to revise its strategic guidance. To understand this new fiscal environment, Marines need go no further than Col Robert K. Dobson’s excellent MajGen Richard C. Schulze Memorial Essay Contest essay from 2011 which laid the new environment out clearly. His bottom line: “Defense budget cuts are coming, they may continue for two decades, and at times the cuts will likely be severe.”2 As a result, every procurement program, capability, and element of force structure will be under continuous and harsh scrutiny.
Beyond the overarching elements of global instability and fiscal constraints, several additional elements of the strategic environment bear special attention because of their particular impact on amphibious capabilities.
• Antiaccess/area denial (A2/AD) capabilities have created uncertainty about the viability of all operations, especially naval operations, under their umbrella. A2/AD refers to capabilities designed to prevent an opposing force (e.g., the U.S.) from entering an operational area, or to limit its freedom of maneuver within the area, using weapons in a maritime environment such as high-technology sea mines, fast attack missile boats, and long-range, precision guided munitions. Although some A2/AD capabilities have existed since the 19th century, new technologies have extended the range and lethality of the A2/AD zone. Coping with this high-threat environment has become a major element of official strategy and joint doctrine.3 There is therefore no need for extensive reconsideration here except to note that concerns about the potential lethality of these new threats will make joint commanders cautious about amphibious operations. Recent experience in this regard is discouraging. In Operation DESERT STORM (1991), Iraqi sea mines effectively drove the U.S. Navy out of the northern Persian Gulf, and the threat from crude Silkworm missiles required prelanding preparations so extensive that the theater commander deemed them unacceptable.4
• Fear of casualties will shape all future military operations, but especially amphibious assaults. Military planners always try to minimize casualties if only to preserve combat power, and democracies must respond to a voting public. However, the United States and all the “postindustrial” democracies of the West have entered a period when the level of casualties is particularly sensitive. This was apparent during the most intense fighting of the Iraq war. At that time, the U.S. saw three servicemembers killed in action per day. Press and politicians complained about the high casualty rate and newspapers ran pictures of casualties weekly. But how high was the casualty rate really? By comparison, the U.S. saw 30 servicemembers killed per day during the height of the Vietnam War and 300 killed per day during World War II, both from lower population bases. Every loss is some family’s tragedy, but clearly something had changed.
In part, this sensitivity arises from a demographic change. As Edward Luttwak has argued, “The U.S. and other industrial countries are now unwilling to accept military casualties. . . . Lower birth rates have led to an intolerance for deaths in combat.”5 Partially, this arises from three decades of low casualty military operations where the public has become accustomed to the idea that major military goals can be accomplished with few casualties. As a result, “force protection” permeates joint doctrine.6 This “casualty phobia” has a direct effect on amphibious operations because of their susceptibility, at least in imagination, to high casualty rates. Okinawa, Iwo Jima, and D-Day are stirring memories of heroism and success, but also of high casualties in amphibious operations. Marines know that, enabled by modern technologies like LCACs and helicopters, new operational concepts (Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS)) seek to avoid just such head-on clashes across a naked beach. The popular and military imagination is another matter. In Operation DESERT STORM, both the theater commander (GEN Norman Schwarzkopf) and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (GEN Colin L. Powell) feared high casualties and refused to allow an amphibious assault.7 Future amphibious operations will thus face a high hurdle of skepticism about whether the potential casualties are worth the military gain.
• True surprise may be unobtainable in an era of near total information availability and widespread espionage. We should remember with some humility how the Japanese were able to analyze our amphibious assaults in World War II so that, by the end of the war, they could predict exactly where the U.S. planned to land when attacking mainland Japan.8 The Japanese bought this information with blood and hard wartime experience. In an era of easily accessible information through the Internet, others can do this analysis while sitting at a desk. Accurate maps, orders of battle, and operational doctrine, which took huge intelligence efforts in the past to obtain, are all now available with a few keystrokes.
Further, the history of the Cold War shows how thoroughly our enemies penetrated our national security apparatus and compromised our military secrets, with spies betraying everything from war plans to communications codes. In retrospect, it is clear that the Soviets knew just about everything worth knowing. Thus, operations against well-prepared opponents face the novel challenge that our opponents likely know our operational plans.
• Finally, amphibious forces are expensive in a time of fiscal constraints. Marines take pride—even revel—in their austerity, accepting field conditions and personal sacrifices that other Services would not tolerate. But with amphibious systems, the Corps has insisted on acquiring the very best—highly capable, but very expensive, systems. The cheapest amphibious ship now being built (the LPD 17 San Antonio class) costs $1.7 billion each, and the LHA, larger than most World War II aircraft carriers, costs $3.4 billion. The F–35B Joint Strike Fighter, with a short takeoff and vertical landing capability that will allow it to operate from amphibious ships, will cost $92 million each. The expeditionary fighting vehicle, until recently the Corps’ next generation ship-to-shore link, would have cost $25 million each. Each system is several times as expensive as the system it replaced.9
Whether the cost is “too high” is in the eye of the beholder. There are good warfighting reasons for insisting on these high-end systems and Marines have argued strongly for their value. However, the high cost means that amphibious capabilities cannot escape skeptical scrutiny in a world of constrained budgets, painful tradeoffs, and a war-weary public.
The amphibious fleet has declined from 60 ships in the 1980s to 30 today, and struggles to maintain that level. To be fair to the Navy, these 30 ships are individually more capable, and the reduction in numbers mirrors the Navy’s overall shrinkage. Nevertheless, ships can only be in one place at one time, and the decline represents a real loss of capability. It is not surprising then that Marines have persistently complained about the decline of amphibious ships with comments from “a sorry state” to “cut well into the bone.”10 Official Navy plans call for maintaining the current level, but analysts point out that these plans assume increasing resources at a time when most expect decreasing resources. Using what these analysts consider more realistic projections of resources, the amphibious fleet will decline to 25 or so ships.11
Amphibious Forces in the Bull’s Eye
All these factors came together in a 2010 speech by then-Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates. After noting the A2/AD threat and deteriorating fiscal environment, he asked the inevitable question:
We have to take a hard look at whether it would be necessary or sensible to launch another major amphibious landing again—especially as advances in anti-ship systems keep pushing the potential launch point further from shore. . . . In the 21st century, what kind of amphibious capability do we really need to deal with the most likely scenarios, and then how much?12
In 2010, the DoD cancelled the expeditionary fighting vehicle program which the Marine Corps had considered a critical amphibious capability. Gates was only the most visible questioner. Many other commentators questioned the viability of amphibious assaults, some citing the “high price tag and low probability of success without heavy casualties,” others the absence of an opposed landing in half a century.13
Now is a propitious time to rethink amphibious operations. As the Corps winds down a decade of intense ground operations, it is reorienting to a traditional maritime focus. Both Gen James T. Conway and Gen James F. Amos highlighted such a change in their Commandant’s Planning Guidance. The Amphibious Capability Working Group (now called the Ellis Group) was established at Quantico and has published a strategic assessment of the challenges and opportunities for amphibious operations in the 21st century.14 The U.S. strategic shift to the Pacific emphasizes a maritime theater conducive to amphibious operations.
Further, professional journals have seen a spate of articles on rediscovering “amphibiosity.” Some articles describe exercises like BOLD ALLIGATOR, MAILED FIST, and DAWN BLITZ, designed to reestablish amphibious tactical skills. Others explore operational concepts for the 21st century.15
Finally, all the discussions of problems should not obscure important advantages that modern amphibious forces have over their World War II and Korean predecessors: better ships and better intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance, for example. Most important, however, is the expansion of landing sites that helicopters and LCACs allow. Helicopters can land anywhere and LCACs can cross 70 percent of the world’s beaches. The classic long, sandy beach that enemies expect Marines to land on is no longer necessary. Concepts like OMFTS and Ship-to-Objective Maneuver have taught Marines how to take advantage of this capability. There’s also operational precedent. For many years, Marines conducted exercises in northern Norway that, by necessity, landed brigade-sized units over rocky beaches barely 100 meters wide.
The stage is set for an amphibious renaissance. Such a renaissance would provide a powerful warfighting tool even as a tight fiscal environment squeezes other capabilities. To be successful, however, the renaissance must strive to make amphibious operations useful to joint commanders who likely will be wary of the perceived risks. Amphibious operations, of which the assault is the crown jewel, are not ends in themselves, but elements of a broader joint campaign. That means focusing on operations that fit with the plans and expectations of joint commanders, not necessarily on what Marines would prefer to do.
The point sounds obvious, but, with regard to amphibious operations, the Corps has built a powerful legacy that combines elements of history, lessons learned, organizational routines, and inspirational storytelling. The history and accomplishments are real but Marine-centric, sometimes magnifying the role of the Corps and amphibious operations. The lessons learned were acquired through hard experience and blood, but most relate to opposed landings now 70 years old. The organizational routines entail exercise landings on the familiar and well-suited Onslow and San Onofre beaches, useful for practicing techniques and procedures, but tactically easier than likely landing sites in the real world. The inspirational storytelling motivates Marines with real tales of valor and sacrifice, but sometimes overlooks a context of tactical difficulties. While a renaissance must build on this legacy, it must also adapt to see ourselves as others see us. Part of that adaptation requires moving beyond at least one element of that legacy, what is arguably the Corps’ greatest amphibious success—Inchon.
The Shadow of Inchon
On one hand, the landing at Inchon shows the war winning potential of a bold amphibious assault, well executed by skilled forces, while on the other hand, it sets a high—too high—benchmark for what amphibious operations should be expected to accomplish. Consider a future war in Korea. If such a conflict should occur, planners have hoped to repeat Inchon by executing a large, operationally decisive amphibious assault. The problem is that the number of beaches suitable for such a large operation is very small. The North Koreans can read military history as well as we can and have been fortifying these beaches for half a century. Standoff, precision weapons will allow them better defenses for these beaches. Spies and open-source press reports have made the North Koreans fully aware of coalition plans. Marine planners rightly have confidence in the viability of amphibious operations and may even consider skeptics “uninformed,”but casualty- adverse joint commanders will likely balk.16 When GEN Douglas McArthur ordered the landing at Inchon in 1950, the multidivisional landings of World War II were only 6 years in the past. He could have confidence in the existing techniques. Now, Inchon, the last divisional landing, is 60 years in the past, and joint commanders have built up a lot of uncertainty about the viability of amphibious techniques.
Operationally decisive amphibious operations are still possible, and planners should seize the opportunity when it arises. But the current environment drives planners to look for a broader set of possible operations such that joint commanders will have a menu to choose from and develop enough confidence in one option to execute it.
Holding Out for the Big Solution
A World War II example is instructive, even if far from amphibious operations in geography and type. In the fall of 1944, the Germans faced a daunting challenge on the Western Front. Allied armies had pushed nearly to the German border. Well-executed German holding actions, plus limits on Allied supplies, had stalemated the front and allowed the Germans to rebuild their shattered armored units. These rebuilt forces were adequate for one last offensive. What to do? Some argued for a “small solution”—a large offensive but with limited objectives aimed at biting off a vulnerable salient, destroying a dozen Allied divisions and continuing the stalemate. Others argued for a “big solution”—a potentially war winning thrust that would repeat the success of 1940 by isolating and destroying the northern allied armies. Ultimately, Hitler decided on a big solution and launched a massive offensive in the Ardennes region that became known as The Battle of the Bulge. However, the offensive failed, the Allies having recovered unexpectedly quickly and German forces lacking sustainability beyond a few days.
The point is not that big solutions are wrong. At this stage of the war, a massive gamble might have been the right choice for a desperate Germany. The point is that choices exist and small solutions need to be explored.
The Big Solution is the Route to Irrelevance
It’s an attractive notion and a central element of OMFTS—don’t fritter a potentially decisive capability away on secondary operations. Instead, use amphibious forces for a “decisive blow” either on their own or as theater entry for joint follow-on forces.17 The problem is that capabilities held for a decisive blow may never be used, especially in an environment of joint commander caution, fiscally constrained capabilities, and threatening technological innovations.
A decisive blow must land at a decisive location, and decisive locations are well defended. Typically, they are at the heart of an enemy’s defenses. Historical experience has shown how difficult this is.18 Further, amphibious assaults require air and maritime superiority, so the initial conditions are demanding, particularly in an A2/AD environment. As a result, amphibious operations need a prolonged and successful air and naval campaign to peel back successive layers of A2/AD defenses and open a way to the decisive point. Unfortunately, future campaigns may not have that opportunity. First, the preliminary air and naval campaign may not work sufficiently or quickly. As the Ellis Group acknowledged:
[T]he poor track record of past ‘SCUD hunts’ suggests that completely eliminating coastal defense threats to amphibious shipping may be challenging, especially when confronted with the complex terrain of the littoral environment.19
Instead, the campaign may arrive at a strategic culmination point, a stalemate where the U.S. has superiority but not the level of dominance needed for a joint commander to have confidence in the success of an amphibious operation. Second, public and diplomatic opinion may demand an end to the fighting before the military campaign can fully unfold. Every conflict spawns an international diplomatic effort to arrange an in-place armistice and a nervous public may prefer an armistice to the risks of continued fighting. Either way, the result is an unused amphibious capability.
The Way Ahead
The Marine Corps cannot count on another Inchon, an operationally decisive amphibious operation that vanquishes doubts for half a century. Waiting for such an opportunity, and being unwilling to settle for less, risks the future of amphibious capabilities and deprives joint commanders of a potentially powerful weapon. Instead, the Corps must aggressively offer many kinds of amphibious options to joint commanders, both big solutions and small solutions. Marines understand these possibilities. The employment of Marines during the early stages of Operation ENDURING FREEDOM, for example, showed considerable imagination. Joint doctrine (though long on tactics, techniques, and procedures, and short on employment guidance) allows for a wide variety of amphibious operations.20 In looking ahead, Marines need to open their aperture a bit.
The following are two illustrative ways that amphibious capabilities might be employed in the new environment: attacks on vulnerable extremities and a step-by-step campaign. None of these illustrative operations are small—all would be considered major amphibious operations. However, they do not attempt to fight rapidly into the A2/AD envelope and strike directly at a decisive point. Nevertheless, they accomplish four important results.
First, they can often be executed quickly without requiring a slow global repositioning of forces. Second, a tangible success would build confidence and credibility in amphibious operations that promotes follow-on operations of increasing decisiveness. Third, such operations attack an enemy’s psychology. What looks like a peripheral operation to us may look like a “wake-up call” to them. Like the Doolittle Raid on Tokyo, such operations can cause a disproportional response, whether a withdrawal of forces from the main front or an openness to negotiations. Finally, by seizing territory, such operations can force a favorable settlement in a way that air and maritime dominance cannot.
• Striking at vulnerable extremities. Few enemies have territory so compact that all points are equally defensible. Instead, there will be outlying islands and remote localities that will be less strongly defended, hence, vulnerable. Achieving local superiority in these areas opens an opportunity for what one observer called “. . . distributed naval operations along the periphery of a theater . . . rather than a single large assault against a well-equipped enemy able to defend in depth.”21
A historical example is the proposed operation against Vinh in North Vietnam, now undeservedly forgotten. Apparently considered several times during the war, such an operation leveraged the North Vietnamese belief that their homeland was politically protected. By 1972, for example, the North Vietnamese had moved 14 of their 15 divisions into the south. What remained in the north were shattered units rebuilding and local militia. Vinh, a town about 150 miles north of the demilitarized zone, and being far from the seat of power, was not a decisive point in itself, but a landing there would have cut the coastal supply lines, forced the North Vietnamese to pull forces out of the south, and brought about the kind of conventional war that the United States excelled at. Ultimately, fear of Chinese reaction and the deteriorating political support for the war did not allow such an expansion of the conflict, but the concept was bold and deserved stronger support from the Marines.22
A future example would be operations against the long and exposed North Korean coastline. For all the reasons described earlier, an amphibious strike against a decisive point is likely impossible, however attractive it might be in theory. The North Koreans have been preparing for over half a century and surprise will be impossible. Keeping amphibious forces as an over-the-horizon threat wastes a valuable capability. Joint commanders will be inclined to land the amphibious forces administratively and use them in the main ground and air campaigns in order to get some use out of them, as happened during Operation DESERT STORM. Instead, amphibious forces should launch attacks on North Korea’s vulnerable islands and long coastline, capturing towns, destroying isolated garrisons, and interdicting the coastal highways. As the Ellis Group pointed out, raids and limited objective attacks are a Marine Corps “historical forte.”23 Although none of this would be decisive, each attack would unsettle the North Koreans as Marine forces ran about their interior, demonstrated North Korean weakness, and likely diverted forces from the central front. And, if the North Koreans collapsed, these forces would be positioned to prevent any reconstitution and to rapidly occupy the interior.
• Step-by-step campaign. Like the island-hopping campaigns of World War II, this notion builds on attacks on vulnerable extremities by linking such attacks together to progress toward a more operationally significant result. Each step could establish a Marine force ashore or open the objective for a joint force, as suggested by the Honorable Robert Work and LtCol Frank Hoffman.24 In addition to providing a jumping off base for further operations, each step would show both the public and an enemy that the counteroffensive had begun and that the threat was increasing.
For example, in the 1982 Falklands War, Great Britain’s amphibious counterattack struck at the main island of East Falkland, but at the end opposite the Argentine forces, thus allowing a relatively secure build up. Still, the amphibious operation was a near run thing as Argentine airpower struck British ships repeatedly and sank several. In a future conflict against an enemy with even better antiaccess capabilities, amphibious forces might make initial landings even further away. For example, the British might first occupy South Georgia Island 850 miles to the east and establish a protected base for projection of air and maritime power and marshaling of ground forces before entering the A2/AD zone.
A campaign against Iran, now much in the news, or against China, would present similar risks and opportunities. Their formidable A2/AD capabilities will deter U.S. joint commanders from getting too close, too quickly. Instead, the inclination will be to conduct a long-range air and maritime campaign starting from outside the A2/AD zone and moving in. Holding amphibious forces in reserve for a decisive blow would be a long, perhaps infinite, wait. Instead, there are intermediary objectives available to put boots on the ground and move the joint campaign forward. In a campaign against Iran, for example, amphibious forces could seize islands and key terrain outside or on the fringes of the A2/AD zone and establish air, naval, and ground bubbles of local superiority. Amphibious forces could then establish successive bubbles, each closer to a decisive location, as the air and maritime campaign takes hold. In this it might resemble the Solomon Island campaign during World War II which began outside the enemy A2/AD zone and gradually rolled it up.25
Beyond these illustrative approaches, one way to open the aperture is to consider the many ways other militaries have employed amphibious capabilities. The history of amphibious operations offers rich examples going beyond the historically important, but necessarily limited, U.S. campaigns in World War II and Korea. For example, the Soviets conducted over 100 amphibious operations in World War II, mostly battalion-size raids but including a few divisional landings. Largely unexamined in the West, these operations cover a wide variety of possible amphibious employments. In another surprising example, the Germans conducted the most successful amphibious operation of World War I when they seized several Baltic islands and closed off the Gulf of Finland.
There is no need for paranoia about the Corps’ future. Amphibious operations do not define the Marine Corps. The Corps’ expeditionary role would continue even if amphibious operations ceased entirely. Further, as LtGen Victor H. Krulak noted many years ago, the Corps holds the popular imagination because of its reputation for warfighting excellence—that, in the Marine Corps, the country is getting one of the world’s finest military organizations—and the last decade has only reinforced that popular feeling.26 Finally, some peacetime amphibious capability will always be needed as long as the U.S. remains a global power with commitments to humanitarian relief, citizen evacuations, and peacekeeping.
Nevertheless, peacetime presence is not a substitute for wartime performance. Without a viable wartime role, amphibious capabilities will not compete well in the harsh struggle for resources. Fleet size will decline and ship capabilities will devolve toward less expensive designs for benign environments. If amphibious capabilities really are outdated, then this evolution is warranted. But such an evolution would deprive joint commanders of a powerful capability for small solutions and perhaps for a big solution when such an opportunity presents itself. At a time of great strategic uncertainty, when the location and nature of the next contingency is unknown and unknowable, joint commanders need the widest variety of tools to cope with this uncertainty. Eliminating one would induce great risks for a nation with global responsibilities. It is the responsibility of Marines, then, to adapt this capability to the environment ahead by offering an imaginative portfolio of options, thus ensuring this capability endures.
1. Hoffman, LtCol F.G., USMCR(Ret), “What Pete Ellis Might Think About Today,” Marine Corps Gazette, November 2009, pp. 12–28.
2. Dobson, Jr., Col Robert K., USMC(Ret), “The Marine Corps and the Coming Fiscal Reality,” Marine Corps Gazette, November 2011, pp. 12–19.
3. For current strategy, see Sustaining U.S. Global Leadership: Priorities for the 21st Century, DoD, January 2012, p. 4. For joint doctrine, see Joint Operational Access Concept, Joint Staff, Washington, DC, January 2012.
4. Trainor, LtGen Bernard E., USMC(Ret), and Michael R. Gordon, The General’s War: The Inside Story of the Conflict in the Gulf, Little, Brown and Company, Boston, MA, 1995, pp. 292–294, and Rick Atkinson, Crusade: The Untold Story of the Persian Gulf War, Houghton Mifflin, Boston, MA, 1995, pp. 237–240.
5. Luttwak, Edward N., “Where are the Great Powers? At Home with the Kids,” Foreign Affairs, Tampa, FL, July/August 1994, pp. 23–29, and “Toward Post-Heroic Warfare,” Foreign Affairs, Tampa, FL, May/June 1995, pp. 109–122. Luttwak’s thesis spawned pushback from Army analysts who argued that the public at large was willing to accept casualties with strong leadership and an important cause. Experience in Iraq and Afghanistan would seem to confirm Luttwak’s thesis.
6. For example, Joint Publication 3–0, Joint Operations, Joint Staff, Washington, DC, 11 August 2011, p. III-1, where “protection” is one of the six joint functions and Joint Publication 3–10, Joint Security Operations in Theater, Joint Staff, Washington, DC, 3 Feb 2010, p. xi, where “force protection” is the top planning consideration.
7. The Marine commander then-LtGen Walter Boomer argued that GEN Schwarzkopf was not opposed to every amphibious operation, just the ones presented in Operation DESERT STORM planning sessions because of the particular difficulties. See Gen Walter E. Boomer, “Inside the Storm,” Naval Institute Proceedings, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, February 2011, pp. 59–65. However, Trainor/Gordon and Atkinson argue that Schwarzkopf’s fear of casualties, concerns about collateral damage, and the ability to win without an amphibious operation meant that there was no conceivable operation he would find acceptable.
8. Based on observation of U.S. practice, the Japanese precisely predicted where and when the first assault on the home islands would land in 1945. See D.M. Giangreco, Hell to Pay: Operation Downfall and the Invasion of Japan, 1945–1947, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 2009, p. 45.
9. Costs from the DoD’s Selected Acquisition Reports on individual systems and from Program Acquisition Costs by Weapons System. Average unit procurement costs (i.e., excluding development) are in fiscal year 2013 dollars.
10. “A sorry state” is from Col Nicholas F. Nanna, “Postwar Amphibious Operations,” Marine Corps Gazette, August 2012, pp. 83–86. “Cut well into the bone” is from Col Gary W. Anderson, “Taking the High Road to Hell,” Marine Corps Gazette, November 2008, pp. 14–22, also Andrew J. Lubin, “Asserting Influence and Power,” Marine Corps Gazette, March 2011, pp. 71–80.
11. Navy projections assume a rising shipbuilding budget, especially to accommodate the extremely expensive Ohio class submarine replacement program. Many commentators argue that this is an unrealistic expectation in the current budget environment. For example, see Congressional Budget Office (CBO), An Analysis of the Navy’s Fiscal Year 2013 Shipbuilding Plan, Washington, DC, July 2012, and CBO, An Analysis of the Navy’s Amphibious Warfare Ships for Deploying Marines Overseas, November 2011. If shipbuilding resources were held constant and amphibious ships remained at 10 percent of the fleet, then the inventory would decline to 24 to 27 ships (see Eric J. Labs, The Long-Term Outlook for the U.S. Navy’s Fleet, CBO, Washington, DC, January 2010).
12. Gates, then-Secretary of Defense Robert M., remarks delivered to the Navy League Sea-Air-Space Exposition, 3 May 2010, and at George P. Shultz lecture, 12 August 2010. To be fair to Gates, he also praised the Corps’ courage and professionalism as well as defending its naval character. Neither were anti-Marine Corps speeches.
13. For example, Brian M. Burton, “Looking Beyond the EFV,” Naval Institute Proceedings, January 2011, pp. 58–62. Also, Norman Polmar, “Please Keep the Marines Off the Beach,” Naval Institute Proceedings, November 2011, pp. 86–87; and David W. Barno, Nora Bensahel, and Travis Sharp, Hard Choices: Responsible Defense in an Age of Austerity, Center for a New American Security, Washington, DC, October 2011.
14. Amphibious Capabilities Working Group (Ellis Group), Naval Amphibious Capability in the 21st Century: Strategic Opportunity and a Vision for Change, Quantico, 27 April 2012.
15. For example, see the Honorable Robert Work and LtCol Frank Hoffman, “Hitting the Beach in the 21st Century,” Naval Institute Proceedings, November 2010, pp. 17–21; LtGen George J. Flynn, “Versatility in the Age of Uncertainty,” Naval Institute Proceedings, November 2010, pp. 22–27; Col Michael S. Groen, “The Real Amphibious Challenge,” Marine Corps Gazette, March 2012, pp. 87–90; and LtCol F.G. Hoffman, USMCR(Ret), “21st Century Amphibious Capability,” Marine Corps Gazette, December 2011, pp. 8–14.
16. For example, LtGen Bernard Trainor, USMC(Ret), makes an argument for viability in “Able to Land the Landing Force,” Naval Institute Proceedings, March 2011, p. 8, as does LtCol F.X. Carroll, USMC(Ret), in “Amphibious Warfare,” Marine Corps Gazette, April 2011, pp. 14–15. Comment on “uninformed” criticism is from Nanna, p. 84, and Col G.I. Wilson & LtCol H.T. Hayden, “Why a Marine Corps?” Marine Corps Gazette, January 2011, pp. 52–54.
17. Headquarters Marine Corps, Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS), Washington, DC, January 1996, p. V–9
18. Malkasian, Carter A., Charting the Pathway to OMFTS: A Historical Assessment of Amphibious Operations from 1941 to the Present, Center for Naval Analyses, Washington, DC, July 2002.
19. Amphibious Capabilities Working Group (Ellis Group), p. S–10.
20. For tactics, techniques, and procedures, see Joint Publication 3–02, Amphibious Operations, Joint Staff, Washington, DC, 10 August 2009. For a strategic view, see Amphibious Operations in the 21st Century, Marine Corps Combat Develop Command, Quantico, 18 March 2009.
21. Wood, Dakota L., “Caught on a Lee Shore,” The American Interest, available at www.the-american-interest.com, September/October 2010, p. 25.
22. For description of the 1972 proposal to attack Vinh, see Capt. E.W. Besch, “Amphibious Operation at Vinh,” Marine Corps Gazette, December 1982, pp. 54–60. See also Malkasian, p. 33.
23. Amphibious Capabilities Working Group (Ellis Group), p. 49.
24. Work and Hoffman. See also the Honorable Robert Work, “Post-Afghanistan Marine Corps: The Future of Amphibious Operations,” Marine Corps Gazette, November 2010, pp. 106–112.
25. For a detailed description of such a campaign, see Mark Gunzinger, Outside-In: Operating from Range to Defeat Iran’s Anti-Access and Area-Denial Threats, Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments, Washington, DC, 2011.
26. Krulak, LtGen Victor H., First to Fight, Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, MD, 1984.