CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. -- At the northwestern tip of this massive base, hundreds of Marines spent the last 10 days preparing for full-scale war. It's the first time in more than a decade they are training for this type of combat, all aligned with new guidance from the commandant.Maybe they were just overdue for an exercise like this. Maybe they did this because this is what they do - prepare for war. Personally, I consider that the most likely explanation. After all, they didn't have to train to go to war in a big way recently because they were actually doing it.. Pretty much the entire Marine Corps rotated through Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times. The 2nd Battalion, 4th Marine Regiment was referred to for a time as the "No war 2-4" because they didn't deploy for -- Oh my God! -- 3 years.
Gen. Joseph Dunford expects all Marine units to be "physically and mentally ready" to deploy anywhere, at any time, he said in planning guidance released last month. But instead of having every platoon, company and battalion involved in constant training for everything, he has outlined broad responsibilities for each of the three Marine Expeditionary Forces. Commanders and Marines can now focus on core competencies related to specific operations they might be involved in. This rebalance will help address shortfalls in personnel, equipment and training in nondeployed units, he said.
It's also the first exercise of its size in more than a decade. More than 1,800 Marines and sailors were involved in the training, which simulated the deployment of more than 50,000 U.S. troops. The countries in the exercise are fictional, and no one mentioned a specific threat, even though talk of "anti-access area denial" conjures images of Russia and China.
On the other hand, maybe they're doing this because Marine leadership isn't confident that Barry's foreign policy is reducing the odds that Marines will have to go someplace soon. That couldn't be it, could it?