Marine Corps M1A1 Abrams tanks of the 2nd Tank Battalion left Camp Lejeune, N.C., for the last time this week as part of the service’s sweeping modernization plan that envisions a more agile force.
Tank units on the East and West coasts shuttered this month and began hauling their armor to military depots, the service said.
The Marine Corps will eventually divest of all three of its active tank battalions as it moves from a “second land army” back to its maritime roots of defending ships at sea, island-hopping and battling for contested coastlines, in preparation for potential conflict with near-peer adversaries such as China.
“We have sufficient evidence to conclude that this capability, despite its long and honorable history in the wars of the past, is operationally unsuitable for our highest-priority challenges in the future,” Commandant Gen. David Berger wrote of the tanks in a March plan for the service’s overhaul. “Heavy ground armor capability will continue to be provided by the U.S. Army.”
The Corps also plans to trim some 12,000 troops from its ranks by 2030, eliminate law enforcement units, slash the number of cannon artillery battalions, reduce and restructure infantry battalions, and disband many manned aviation units. It will instead build up light armored reconnaissance units, drone squadrons and long-range precision strike capabilities — plans call for the tripling of rocket artillery battalions — among other changes. (end of excerpt)
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