MARSOC is considering consolidating its entire special forces unit to the East Coast. Marine officials say the move is to allow Marine Raiders to prep for future military conflicts against more sophisticated adversaries.

If this move were to happen it would be moving 1st Raider Battalion from Camp Pendleton to Camp Lejeune to be closer to 2nd and 3rd Raider Battalions. No, final decisions or plans have been made regarding the potential consolidation of the Raider Battalions according to Marine officials. 

Marine Corps Times has two sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity who said, “That the move was expected—if approved—to take place sometime between 2020 and 2021.

The potential move would be costly and controversial within the Raider community. This move by MARSOC could stroke the fire of frustration of the 1,000 Marines and personnel who Staff 1st Raider Battalion located on Camp Pendleton. A Marine Raider who spoke to the Marine Corps Times cautioned MARSOC about the move. He cautioned MARSOC could experience a manpower problem as Raiders who are frustrated with decision could opt out or decide not to re-enlist. It’s a risk MARSOC will have to consider in its calculus. Raiders can’t be made overnight. The elite operators slog through a nearly seven-month Individual Training Course to earn the Raider insignia.

This potential move also puts into question the $50 million dollars the Marine Corps used to build new barracks, warehouse, vehicle maintenance, and training facilities for 1st Raider Battalion. What will happen with those assets? Is a question that must be answered. Another question MARSOC must answer with the consolidation is: Will MARSOC have to build new barracks and facilities to accommodate the addition of 1st Raider Battalion? No, one has answers to those questions as of right now but, those are details MARSOC will have to address before they push forward with this consolidation of its elite Marine Raiders. 

Marine Corps Times spoke to Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney a spokeswoman for MARSOC about the potential consolidation of the Raiders to the east coast. She states, “the “potential consolidation” of the Raiders on the East Coast is just “one line of effort,” among others, to “increase performance, efficiencies, and capabilities,” as the Marine special operators plan for the future battlefield.  Kinney said the potential move of 1st Raider would “enhance” the Raiders as a whole to rapidly respond and innovate “to meet the future operating environment challenges articulated in its vision, MARSOF [Marine special operations force] 2030.” 

The MARSOF 2030 vision calls for Raiders to consider major changes in training, education, and manpower to address more sophisticated and lethal adversaries. 

MARSOC contends that this consolidation of the Raider Battalions on the east coast would align with 2018 National Defense Strategy. Also, the Raiders move to the East Coast could result in long term financial savings and reduce training burdens. 

 At this point in time no final decision has been made to move 1st Raider Battalion to Camp Lejeune. Before MARSOC can make this move they have to ask themselves: How this potential move will affect manpower and retention? Conduct a cost-to-benefit analysis on a macro and micro scale. Finally, make a conservative effort to listen to their Raiders and concerns. 

What do you think MARSOC should do? Do you believe 1st Raiders will move to the East Coast? Let me know in the comments below.

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