China’s fast-growing economic, military, and maritime power and mounting influence in the Indo-Pacific have underscored the need for new approaches to the complex and constantly evolving security landscape. In the 2022 National Defense Strategy (NDS), the Department of Defense describes China as “our most consequential strategic competitor” and highlights the importance of integrated deterrence to meet current and future challenges. The strategic objectives of the NDS call for fresh thinking concerning the U.S. military’s future posture, capabilities, and responses.
The U.S. Marine Corps (USMC) has taken steps to holistically redesign the force over a 10-year time horizon. Its “Force Design 2030” initiative details the development of a single, integrated naval expeditionary force built to support joint maritime operations and successfully operate within enemy contested areas, with special emphasis on the Indo-Pacific. Its move towards advanced technology development, and modernization and its focus on forward military campaigns raise questions about the USMC’s departure from traditional Marine Corps models, including how it is organized, equipped, and trained.
On August 26, Brookings hosted a discussion on important issues related to the future of the U.S. Marine Corps, its efforts to adapt to emerging geopolitical threats in the Indo-Pacific, and its ability to provide credible deterrence. Brookings Fellow Melanie Sisson moderated the conversation between Amy McGrath — a retired USMC lieutenant colonel and the first woman in the Marine Corps to fly a combat mission in an F/A-1 — and Brookings Senior Fellow Michael E. O’Hanlon.
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PanelistMichael E. O’Hanlon Director of Research - Foreign Policy, Director - Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Co-Director - Africa Security Initiative, Senior Fellow - Foreign Policy, Strobe Talbott Center for Security, Strategy, and Technology, Philip H. Knight Chair in Defense and Strategy