The USMC Transformation Path: Preparing for the High-End Fight


This book focuses on the USMC in the strategic shift from the Middle Eastern land wars to the return to great power competition and the high-end fight. The path whereby the Marines have generated their capabilities to engage in full spectrum crisis management began with the introduction of the Osprey in 2007, and then entered a new phase with the introduction of the F-35 and now has entered another phase whereby the Marines are working ways to more effectively distributed the force through enhanced mobile and expeditionary basing.

Robbin Laird has been interviewing Marines globally since 2007 and in this book, interviews over the past two years at key bases provide insights with regard to how Marines are working the transformation path with the return of great power competition.

As George J. Trautman III LtGen, USMC (Ret) Former USMC Deputy Commandant for Aviation underscored in the forward to the book: ‘‘Only time will tell how the Marine Corps navigates this treacherous transformation journey, but it’s not the equipment that will make the Corps successful on the future battlefield – it’s the Marines. Their imaginations, ideas and creativity will lead to innovative employment of the tools they are given.

“That’s true of every piece of equipment in use today and it will remain that way in the future. The USMC Transformation Path: Preparing for the High-End Fight makes a valuable contribution to the professional dialogue that must occur by giving voice to those who are charged with managing the change.’’

And in the afterword to the book, LtGen Brian Beaudreault, USMC (Ret), and former II MEF Commander noted: “Robbin Laird has masterfully woven the transformation story of the Marine Corps that began well before 2019 with the 2007 fielding of the revolutionary, long-range, assault-support, tiltrotor MV-22 Osprey, followed by the fielding of the Fifth Generation F-35 stealth jet fighter and the future fielding of the CH-53K heavy lift helicopter.

“Robbin has exhaustively interviewed current high-level commanders and consequential leaders across the Navy and Marine Corps enterprise and has pieced together a fantastic body of work that guides the reader towards a comprehensive understanding of the current challenges as well as the opportunities to be exploited by U.S., allied, and coalition forces within the Indo-Pacific and European theaters.

“Robbin has crafted fresh ideas and makes solid recommendations throughout this work that can help the Commandant and Chief of Naval Operations reduce near and mid-term risk while enhancing the sensing, striking and sustainment power of naval expeditionary forces through more innovative employment of existing capabilities.”