Marines Already Revamping Close Combat Ahead of Mattis' Initiative

A U.S. Marine with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and Japan Ground Self Defense Soldier with the Western Army Infantry Regiment, clear hallways while conducting Urban Explosive Demolitions training during exercise Iron Fist 2018, Jan. 19. (Robert Alejandre/Marine Corps)

A U.S. Marine with 1st Combat Engineer Battalion and Japan Ground Self Defense Soldier with the Western Army Infantry Regiment, clear hallways while conducting Urban Explosive Demolitions training during exercise Iron Fist 2018, Jan. 19. (Robert Alejandre/Marine Corps)

March 29, 2018 | Source: Military.Com, 21 March 2018, Matthew Cox

A senior Marine Corps leader told Congress recently that the service is already "in line" with Defense Secretary Jim Mattis' effort to make U.S. ground forces more lethal in close combat.

Mattis sent out a Feb. 8 memorandum to all senior military leaders announcing the Secretary of Defense Close Combat Lethality Task Force -- launching an effort aimed at "improving the combat preparedness, lethality, survivability, and resiliency of our nation's ground close combat formations," the memo states.

Subcommittee chair Roger Wicker, R-Mississippi, wanted to know more about the task force and whether the Marine Corps has let other priorities overshadow readiness for close combat.

"I have heard concerns that the Marine Corps may have prioritized readiness recovery efforts on aviation units to the relative detriment of close combat units," he said during his opening statement.

Walsh said the Corps began focusing on close combat during its Sea Dragon 2025 experiments that began more than a year and a half ago.

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