Marine Corps Axes Elite Scout Sniper Platoons

The Marine Corps is eliminating considered one of its most elite and storied jobs — the scout sniper.

Official message site visitors leaked to social media final week described a swap from scout sniper platoons to what is going to solely be recognized solely as “scout platoons.”

The change is a part of Pressure Design 2030 (FD2030), the Marine Corps’ ongoing and controversial effort to reinvent the service for future warfare. The choice has already triggered issues from inside the ranks in regards to the lack of sniper capabilities.

Learn Subsequent: Army Urges Troopers to Verify Their Information in New HR System After String of Glitches

All three coaching areas for the grueling 3-month Scout Sniper course at Camp Pendleton, California; Camp Lejeune, North Carolina; and Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, will cease admitting new college students beginning in fiscal 2024, in line with the message.

A spokesman for the Marine Corps confirmed that the scout sniper platoons can be eradicated, however mentioned that the underlying talent set can be built-in elsewhere within the service.

“Precision rifle functionality will stay inside the infantry firm, and the Marine Corps will proceed to take care of school-trained snipers inside Marine Reconnaissance and Marine Particular Operations items,” mentioned service spokesman Capt. Ryan Bruce.

Bruce added that the Marine Corps’ Coaching Command “is within the means of analyzing each the brand new scout platoon mission and enduring necessities for precision marksmanship capabilities to find out the efficiency requirements and coaching choices needed.”

Snipers are certified to enterprise 10 to twenty miles past the ahead line of troops, into the enemy’s area. Reconnaissance abilities, like days-long commentary of enemy outposts, are powerful to take care of, as is the flexibility to shoot lengthy distances with totally different refined rifle techniques. They’re skilled in how one can name for fireplace and close-air help, and have to know advanced mission planning necessities.

The messages outlining the adjustments, posted to social media, described the transfer as being pushed by the two-year-long “Infantry Battalion Experimentation” the Corps undertook, which “confirmed the scouting capabilities within the newly designed Infantry Corporations have been inadequate to supply the Battalion steady all-weather info gathering.”

In contrast to tanks and choose artillery capabilities, which have been publicly placed on the chopping block early in the course of the power design rethink, the Marine Corps has remained largely quiet on the way forward for snipers till now.

The brand new “scout platoons” will encompass 26 Marines. Infantry corporations will now not have Marines skilled as snipers, however they are going to hold “designated marksmen.”

It isn’t the primary time the Corps has dropped the scout snipers.

The Marine Corps beforehand canned this system after World Conflict I, World Conflict II and Vietnam, anticipating that future warfare would not require snipers.

Scout snipers are a storied a part of Marine Corps historical past.

Throughout WWII, scout snipers often called the “40 Thieves on Saipan” operated far behind enemy strains and grew well-known for his or her silent killing strategies. And earlier than “American Sniper,” there was Carlos Hathcock, a Vietnam Conflict Marine with 93 confirmed kills (and as much as 300 unconfirmed kills), and Chuck Mawhinney, one other Vietnam sniper with greater than 100 confirmed kills.

The Marine Corps’ commandant, Gen. David Berger, has been vocal about wanting infantry Marines to develop into well-versed in a number of weapons techniques — much less specialised and extra “commando-like.”

However some Marines, who spoke with in regards to the service’s choice to eradicate scout snipers on situation of anonymity, say that sort of mindset highlights a misunderstanding of the intense capabilities snipers present and the significance of their uncompromising coaching.

“We’re speaking out of each side of our mouth right here,” mentioned one Marine gunner, a weapons knowledgeable. “We do not wish to divest the tools as a result of we all know we’d like that functionality,” he mentioned, stating that tough-to-master sniper rifles aren’t going wherever.

“You simply cannot decide up a complicated sniper rifle and hand it to someone and anticipate them to have the ability to do what a skilled sniper can do,” the Marine added.

As a substitute, the Corps will depend on coaching up Marines by the two-week-long Designated Marksman course.

It is unclear how “scout platoons” can be skilled, as there may be at present no stand-alone “scouting” course inside the Marine Corps.

Scout snipers have confronted a critical scarcity of numbers in recent times, which some say is due partially to a too-high attrition fee from the scout sniper schoolhouses. Fewer Marines ending the course means fewer snipers general.

Others see it in another way.

“A part of this can be a retention drawback,” mentioned a Marine officer who’s concerned with present scout sniper coaching efforts. The Marine mentioned that, as a result of being a sniper is a secondary accountability, it will get quick shrift from higher-ups.

“A variety of them wish to hold doing their jobs as snipers,” the Marine added. “So that they get out, and so they go to the SEALs, Army Special Forces or MARSOC. I’ve seen it occur a number of instances. They do not wish to keep as a result of they are not valued correctly.”

Earlier reporting suggests there could also be wherever from 150 to 300 scout snipers within the Marine Corps. Save for snipers produced by stand-alone programs with Reconnaissance and MARSOC items, numbers will seemingly plummet, given the closing of the sniper faculties.

In 2018, then-Commandant Gen. Robert Neller sought to improve scout snipers’ numbers, amidst the scarcity. The Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory reportedly beneficial a rise in sniper platoon numbers across the similar time.

Whereas snipers are set to stay at MARSOC and Recon, Marines level out that MARSOC snipers are prone to be below the purview of their Particular Operations Command construction, and are not prone to be simply dispersed all through the service. And whereas Recon will keep snipers, their small numbers and specialised, high-level missions go away the vast majority of Marine infantry items out within the chilly.

“I believe loads of senior commanders do not actually perceive the total functionality {that a} sniper brings to them,” lamented a senior enlisted sniper.

“Snipers cannot be mass-produced,” he continued. “They’re attempting to mass-produce capabilities and reducing corners, pondering that numbers on a spreadsheet is what is going to win wars. However it’s not; all it will do is fill physique luggage.”

— Kelsey Baker is a contract journalist and former active-duty Marine. She might be reached at

Associated: Can Congress Save the Marine Corps from Itself?

Present Full Article

© Copyright 2023 All rights reserved. This materials will not be revealed, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.