Marine Corps University Press
Marine Corps University Press logo
Marine Corps University
Quantico, Virginia

JAMS, vol. 11, no. 2

Marine Corps Force Design 2030 and Implications for Allies and Partners

Case Norway

Lieutenant Colonel Terje Bruøygard; and Lieutenant Colonel Jørn Qviller, Norwegian Army




 Abstract: Force Design 2030 describes major organizational changes to the U.S. Marine Corps. Arguably, these changes will affect the Joint force, allies, and partners. The United States, and in particular the Marine Corps, is an important part of the deterrence and defense of many countries, especially Norway. Thus, the Norwegian Armed Forces should adapt to these changes to increase interoperability and strengthen the common warfighting capability. A comprehensive implementation plan, including allies and partners to operationalize the changes in the Marine Corps as well as the new U.S. Service and Joint concepts, is needed to succeed in creating an advantage over China and Russia.

Keywords: Force Design 2030, operating concept, expeditionary advanced base operations, EABO, distributed maritime operations, DMO, multidomain operations, MDO, great power competition, antiaccess and area-denial, A2/AD, China, Russia, United States, Norway


All U.S. Armed Forces Services are constructing new operating concepts to be relevant in a possible future fight with China and Russia.1 There are an overwhelming number of concepts being developed in the U.S. armed forces that are very difficult for even close allies and partners to keep track of. For example, General David H. Berger, Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, published in March 2020 Force Design 2030 (FD 2030), which describes the biggest organizational change for the Marine Corps in recent times.2 FD 2030 is justified by the need to meet the changes and challenges of the current 2018 National Security Strategy.3 Due to these sweeping changes in the U.S. armed forces and the lack of communication between Services (with the exception of the Marine Corps and the Navy), it has also been difficult to implement and communicate these reforms to partners and allies.

Without an overarching Joint concept implemented by the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS), it is very difficult to communicate the changes so that allies and partners can adapt national operating concepts and plans accordingly.4 Most allies and partners collaborate with more than one U.S. Service and therefore need to keep track of the very rapid and unclear development of concepts. In the Commandants Planning Guidance: 38th Commandant of the United States (CPG) and FD 2030, the documents mention several times that closer integration between the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps is imperative.5 The U.S. Army is not mentioned at all. How should allies and partners interpret that? Does that mean that if the Army is planning operations or exercises with an ally the Marines will not? What about the U.S. Air Force? Is their new concept, agile combat employment, compatible or in competition with the other Services?6 These examples are evidence that the Department of Defense needs to do more to encourage interoperability between and among Services and allies, including increased communication with allies on changes happening at the Service and national level of the U.S. armed forces.

For smaller allies and partners that are dependent on support from the United States, the fast moving concept development may cause challenges with interoperability.7 Allies and partners are not a major part of the force design and concept development of the U.S. armed forces, even though the United States is planning to conduct operations on or in the vicinity of allied territory.8 What can the Marine Corps do to better integrate its allies and partners into the concept and force development processes? There is obviously a major potential not being utilized in the concept development by the Corps and the other Services; that is, how does the U.S. armed forces use the already present forces of allies and partners inside the weapon engagement zone (WEZ) that can facilitate U.S. forces’ defense of allies and prevent infiltration of contested areas by adversaries?9

What are the allied implications of the implementation of FD 2030? The United States has many allies and partners that depend on allied reinforcements in times of crisis and war. The Marine Corps is an important part of many allied and partner nations’ national military plans. It has been one of the most important and tangible partner forces for Norway. The new changes will have operational consequences for the defense of Norway. Accordingly, the Norwegian Armed Forces needs to adapt its own concept development to improve and ensure interoperability, but with a lack of up-to-date information from the U.S. side, it makes this task exceedingly difficult. Norway can offer its unique geography as a testbed for common experimentation, ensure that the national capabilities complement the U.S. Joint forces, and explore options to operate as an allied inside force.

For the U.S. military Services, however, the change in interoperability will better integrate the Marine Corps with the Navy by adapting structure, materiel, and operating concepts. The Commandant stresses that the Marine Corps is an agile, expeditionary, and maritime organization with a focus on China and operations in the Pacific region. The Corps should move away from prolonged land campaigns and leave decisive land operations, carried out by major mechanized units, to the U.S. Army.

A comprehensive implementation plan to include allies and partners to operationalize the FD 2030 and other Joint and Service concepts, which implies exercises, procurement, and concept integration, is needed to succeed in creating an advantage over China and Russia. This article will first analyze the strategic context, then the FD 2030 and Marine Corps and other U.S. Services’ operating concept development before analyzing the implications for allies and partners by using Norway as a case study.



The Marine Corps is organized under the Department of the Navy and is a natural part of the naval force.10 The Marine Corps is manned, trained, and equipped to seize and defend forward naval bases, and it is evidently capable of participating in major land operations.11 Nonetheless, a naval force is not optimized to seize and hold larger land areas. The U.S. Navy’s core missions are maritime control, power projection, and deterrence.12 If deterrence fails and war breaks out, a decisive battle on the deep waters of oceans seems less probable than an exchange of long-range missiles and airstrikes between naval and land forces.13 Such a war will be fought in the littorals, and that is where the Marine Corps has its natural place.

Although the Marine Corps is maritime in both law and organization, it has taken part in land battles during the last 30 years, from Operation Desert Storm, where it conducted a ground offensive with two divisions, to the Global War on Terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, where it rotated forces in and out for almost 20 years. The consequence has been that training, education, organization, and materiel investment have been focused on these land operations, while the Marine Corps has insisted that major amphibious operations are still needed. This development has brought to life an old inter-Service rivalry. In the years after World War II, the War Department, the Army, and Navy wanted to abolish the Marine Corps and transfer the air forces to the Air Force and the land forces to the Army.14 With Force Design 2030, General Berger has pointed out the direction to make sure the Marine Corps is relevant for the future threats.


New Technologies and New Threats

The current U.S. security strategy establishes China and Russia as the main adversaries and claims that the United States has returned to an era of great power competition. The strategy signals a need to change the focus for the U.S. military Services from counterinsurgency to future threats from China and Russia.15 China’s massive investments in building ships, long-range precision missiles, hypersonic missiles, and air defense are already threatening U.S. hegemony in the Pacific region.16 Also, Russia’s modernization of long-range precision missiles, air defense, and electronic warfare (EW) capabilities challenge the U.S. ability to deter conventional attacks in Europe. China and Russia’s reliance on long-range precision missiles is referred to as antiaccess/area-denial (A2/AD). It describes both the ability and strategy to deny an opponent’s access to a given area and its ability to target forces that are present inside the same area/WEZ.17

The A2/AD threat have forced the U.S. military to revise their operating concepts. The current American way of waging war will not work against an opponent with a comprehensive A2/AD defense. Large and sophisticated platforms such as an aircraft carrier will be vulnerable to long-range antiship missiles. Long-range missiles will threaten a build-up of forces in forward bases. Also, sophisticated air defense will threaten U.S. dominance in the air.18

It is the A2/AD threat from China and Russia and concept development in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps that has spurred General Berger to take structural steps. He published the Commandant’s Planning Guidance in July 2019 and announced major changes in manning, training, and equipment.19 Since then, extensive planning processes, simulations, and discussions have been ongoing within the Marine Corps and with the DOD and the other Services. The result of this work was published in Force Design 2030. General Berger has stated that the Marine Corps has shortfalls in capabilities such as long-range air defense, long-range precision fires, and long-range unmanned aerial vehicles needed to support Joint, naval, and Marine Corps operating concepts. To achieve that, the Marine Corps needs to divest in legacy capabilities to make room for new ones.20 Neither major amphibious operations nor the ability to attack or defend territories in brigade and divisional formations seems to be a priority for the Marines. However, it is not just the U.S. Navy and the Marine Corps that have understood the necessity for renewing operating concepts.

The U.S. Army has developed the concept multidomain operations (MDO).21 This concept describes how the Army will challenge an adversary in all domains with task-organized forces capable of penetrating an A2/AD defense, along with the ability to operate inside the adversary’s WEZ. Similarly, the Navy has developed several concepts to deal with these new threats, such as distributed maritime operations (DMO). It is a concept for making the fleets less vulnerable by scattering ships in smaller groups to be more difficult to target but at the same time being able to mass fire and effects against an adversary in time and space. The Joint concept for access and maneuver in the global commons (JAM-GC) is a Joint maritime concept from 2016 succeeding the air-sea battle concept. The JAM-GC describes an “inside force” that facilitates for an “outside force” ability to maneuver and conduct operations by securing key maritime terrain.22 Littoral operations in a contested environment (LOCE) is an integrated operating concept for the Marine Corps and the Navy to seize, secure, and operate in coastal areas with an A2/AD threat.23 Yet another concept is the expeditionary advanced base operations (EABO). This is the Marine Corps’ concept to support the Navy in sea denial and sea control operations with small and robust task forces (which the Marines now call stand-in forces) able to operate within an adversary’s missile range (WEZ) from bases with low signature. The units and bases have to be small and emit very little electromagnetic signature to avoid being targeted by long-range missile systems (the size of these bases is yet to be decided). These bases can be defended while being able to target adversaries’ long-range sensors, communications, and missile systems.24 EABO supports all Navy concepts but has similarities with the Army’s MDO concept. Both envision Joint forces being able to operate within the enemy’s WEZ, in all domains, and therefore be relevant in the South and East China Sea with long-range air, sea, and land missiles.25


Force Design 2030 and the EABO

In this context, Force Design 2030 will increase somewhat in scale in 2021 and will imply significant changes in 2022.26 The transformation will take place during the next 10 years, but the Marine Corps will begin to divest obsolete capabilities quickly to finance new ones.27 The Marine Corps claims that China and Russia will achieve peer parity with the United States 10 years from now, especially concerning A2/AD capabilities, and have even achieved an advantage in missile technology and hypersonic technology. The Department of Defense’s annual report to Congress states that “China has already achieved parity with—or even exceeded—the United States in several military modernization areas.”28 That includes shipbuilding, land-based long-range missiles, and integrated air defense systems.29

To achieve the EABO concept and become more closely integrated with the U.S. Navy, the Marine Corps must invest in new technology. Long-range precision missile and antiship missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, boats, and submarines with long endurance and armament, as well as longer-range air and missile defense are among the most important investments. Logistics in the EABO environment will be challenging because of distance, dispersion, and survivability. This is due to many small Marine units in need of supplies spread over a great area while being potentially targeted by adversary surveillance systems. The Marine Corps therefore needs to explore and invest in better ways to conduct logistics. The Marine Corps bought forward the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II, which can take off and land vertically. In the EABO concept, the Corps must maximize the use of that technology by operating from small, rudimentary, and dispersed bases. Moreover, General Berger wants to explore human/machine integration and artificial intelligence to improve performance, protection, and decision support.

Force Design 2030 advocates testing of new structures. Among the most important structural changes is the question of transforming all or some infantry regiments into Marine littoral regiments (MLR). The Marine Corps has studied the Pacific campaigns during World War II for inspiration, especially the role of the Marine defense battalions on Wake Island and Guadalcanal (Solomon Islands). These had coastal artillery, air defense, and infantry securing islands and supporting the U.S. Navy operations.30 III MEF, with the Pacific region as its area of responsibility, has already started experimenting with the MLR. The MLR’s role is to protect, operate, and target the adversary from expeditionary advanced bases (EAB). EABs are small bases that are well concealed and protected against long-range missile and EW threats. Several EABs will be able to mutually support each other and be part of an overall sea-denial or sea-control operation to support a larger Joint force.31

To change the operating concept, the Marine Corps must change the way it is educating, training, and executing military and naval exercises with partners and allies. Moving away from operating in larger military formations, the Marine Corps seems to intend for future operations to be fought by smaller units spread over larger areas. This will put increased demands on the individual Marine, noncommissioned officer, and junior officer’s ability to operate autonomously and the ability to handle advanced technical equipment.32 General Berger also wants to look at where the Corps is stationed and where it conducts training and exercises to ensure the Service is strategically positioned (force posture) to meet future threats. Integration with allies and partners is important to the Marine Corps. Yet, Force Design 2030 and the EABO concept have limited focus on interoperability, and the tempo of this transition is so high that allies are not able to keep track of the changes.33

One of the biggest changes in Force Design 2030 is that the Marine Corps wants new amphibious ships that are cheaper, smaller, and can navigate in narrow waters. This is to enable maneuvering of forces and logistics within the adversary’s WEZ. China is stated as the main threat and the Pacific region with III MEF as the main effort in the transformation of the Marine Corps. To ensure that the Service is relevant in the Pacific, its organization, equipment, and concepts have to be tailored and specialized for that area. The transformation that General Berger has initiated is going to make the Corps a relevant force on high readiness, ready to face the threats of the future, primarily aimed at China and the Pacific region.34

The change, however, will also have some likely negative consequences. First, the Marine Corps loses flexibility. A trademark of the Service is that it has been able to conduct missions throughout the conflict spectrum and with all types of tasks. By removing all tanks, bridging units, some infantry battalions, and tube artillery, as well as changing the operating concept and structure, the ability to attack and defend as a regular combat formation is affected. The Marine Corps also intends to remove some units and equipment that are well suited for counterinsurgency and humanitarian assistance, such as military police and helicopters.35 Second, the reorganization makes the Marine Corps more vulnerable. A too narrow priming of operating concept and structure against an A2/AD threat can allow an opponent to adapt by creating and exploiting new vulnerabilities, such as targeting logistics, lines of communication, or vulnerable EABs with regular and/or militia forces. Third, the priority of China as the primary threat is likely to cause personnel, equipment, concepts, and training to be tailored for the Pacific region, and specifically for the South China Sea. This will make the Service less capable of operating in harsher climates. These changes are, therefore, both good and bad news for partners and allies such as Norway.


Case Study: Norway

The Norwegian military has gone through drastic changes since the height of the Cold War. In the 1950s and 1960s, the Norwegian Armed Forces consisted of more than 350,000 servicemembers, with the whole society organized for a “nation in arms,” prepared to defend against a Soviet invasion.36 The large mobilization force was built around the conscript service and mobilization. Then as now, the strategic dilemma for Norway was how to organize the military to be an effective deterrence as a trusted North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member, while at the same time not provoking its powerful and aggressive neighbor.

Although a decent-size military, the quality of the Cold War-era Norwegian Armed Forces was low and the cost was high. As the Cold War came to an end, Norway found itself spending 3 percent of its gross domestic product (GDP) on the military.37 Still, the military had become stagnant, technologically impaired, expensive, and irrelevant.38 The Norwegian Armed Forces transitioned into a modern but small force, where the trade-off has been a smaller military in exchange for higher quality and lower cost. Just a few years ago, the number was as low as 1.5 percent, and Norway is still vague when it reaches the common agreed NATO target of 2 percent of GDP. However, today’s force is a modern, high-quality, combat-proven force, for the most part interoperable with its closest allies.

The Royal Norwegian Navy consists of 4 frigates, 4 submarines, 6 corvettes and 4 mine countermeasure vessels, a Coastal Ranger Command, and 15 Coast Guard vessels. The Royal Norwegian Air Force has 52 Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning IIs, 5 Boeing P-8 Poseidons, and close to 50 helicopters. The army consists of one mechanized brigade, one infantry regiment, border guards, and His Majesty the King’s Guard, with a land operations center and supporting units. Finally, Norway has a Special Forces Regiment, a Home Guard with 40,000 soldiers and joint enablers.39 All in all, the force consists of around 65,000 servicemembers, of which 40,000 are reserve.40

Norway has been a trustworthy military partner for the United States and NATO. Although small in numbers, Norwegian forces have contributed to combat operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, naval counter pirate operations in the Gulf of Aden, and in the air campaign in Libya, among others. In Libya, Norway punched above its weight, delivering a total of 588 bombs and ostensibly “took some of the most challenging missions and performed in a superb manner.41

Norway supports a military primarily to preserve peace as the status quo. The overarching political aim is to ensure territorial integrity, national sovereignty, and political options. The Norwegian military is therefore highly trained and capable of operating in one of the world’s most challenging environments. Although Norway has increased its annual spending, it will always be a minor state compared with Russia. The Norwegian Armed Forces follows a maneuver warfare conceptual doctrine, abides to NATO standards, and trains regularly with allies and partners.

The Norwegian Armed Forces’ most demanding strategic tasks are to deter and, if necessary, defend Norway and its allies against attacks. Norway achieves these tasks by a mix of national defense and allied reinforcement.42 NATO is the mainstay of Norwegian security, and the United States is Norway’s most important ally.43 Of all U.S. forces associated with the reinforcement of Norway, the Marine Corps has been the most important. During the Cold War, the United States dedicated an air-landed Marine Expeditionary Brigade (MEB) to Norway to draw prepositioned equipment from the caves in Trøndelag. Today, the prepositioned equipment is still there, but there are no dedicated forces.

It is impossible to determine how long it will take to get allied reinforcement to Norway. There are too many variables, such as the overall situation, local threat, political and military decision making, and available forces. There is a big difference between deployment to Norway as part of an exercise and deployment during a crisis or war. A situation where Norway requests help from allies will most likely be elevated to a point beyond Norwegian interests, to a question of U.S. policy interests in great power competition. Both political and military decision-making processes in the United States will, therefore, revolve around American strategy and, to a lesser extent, Norwegian strategy. The great power competition and possible conflicts around the world will put pressure on all available U.S. forces. Although the United States is the world’s largest military power, it has far from a surplus of forces due to all its commitments worldwide. It is therefore a question of priority. Nevertheless, the most important question will be whether a conflict with Russia has escalated to a level where Russian A2/AD capabilities cover the access to the North Atlantic and Russia either threatens to use or actually will use such capabilities.

With this new threat and change of concept and structure for the Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, a military option with large naval groups or larger troop transport to Norway will be less likely. The Marine Corps and U.S. Navy, conversely, will probably try as early as possible in a conflict to establish EABs with distributed naval groups and Marine units to establish sea denial or sea control. Large reinforcements in the form of air, land, and sea forces will probably be kept at a distance until sea and air control is established. The situation in the rest of Europe—and the world for that matter—determines if U.S. forces are available. If a Marine Corps and Navy Joint force is available, it will bring significant capabilities, way beyond what the Norwegian Armed Forces have internally. Norwegian air defense, long-range precision missiles, land-based ship missiles, and electronic warfare are inadequate or limited. One can envision a Joint operational integrated concept in which the Norwegian Armed Forces, U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and other allies with unique and complementary capabilities neutralize and reduce Russia’s A2/AD capabilities and gradually establish sea and air control.44 This could facilitate larger NATO reinforcements to Norway.

Norway is ideal for the EABO concept with thousands of islands, small ports, long coastlines, advanced digital and physical infrastructure, and a whole-of society concept for defense (the total defense concept).45 The Marine Corps’ transformation is well adapted to the Russian A2/AD threat, Norwegian geography, and adds substantial military capabilities. The downside for Norway is that the Marine Corps’ focus is on China. General Berger also signaled in his Commandant’s Planning Guidance that he would not specialize units in various climate and geographical areas.46 Equipment procured for the South China Sea may be less suited for the Norwegian winter climate, as will the specialized competence required for cold-weather operations. The sum of this can have negative operational consequences for the defense of Norway by the United States.

What is relatively clear about this change is that the Marine Corps will not provide large land forces, as a second land army that traditionally has trained with the Norwegian Armed Forces and tasked to seize or defend territory together with the Norwegian Army and other NATO partners. Norway will have to hedge on reinforcements from the U.S. Army, NATO, or other nations that have bilateral agreements with Norway. Such reinforcements, however, will depend on the situation in the rest of Europe and whether the situation allows for the transfer of major land forces to Norway. That means that Norway has to be able to do more alone. Therefore, Norway must take a thorough look at Force Design 2030 and other conceptual changes in the U.S. Joint force when developing new security policy, strategy, operating concepts, and force structure. Thus, the possible consequences of these changes for Norway are increased defense spending to increase capabilities and volume, changes in operating concept, and hedging for allies and partners in the security strategy.

With America focusing on China, the U.S. military changing operating concepts, and Russia improving its A2/AD capabilities, Norway’s independent ability to defend the country becomes more important. The Norwegian Armed Forces must be organized with a balanced force structure that also takes into account the modern Russian A2/AD threat. A Norwegian operating concept should be able to be integrated into the Marine Corps’ EABO concept, the U.S. Navy’s DMO concept, and the Army’s MDO concept. Allies such as Norway may very well be counted in these concepts as allied stand-in forces. That, however, requires training and exercises with the Marine Corps and other U.S. Services to build conceptual and procedural interoperability. It also requires investments in technology that can communicate with U.S. systems. With Norwegian Armed Forces already on the ground, in the air, and at sea, the forces are already there inside the WEZ to locate and target the adversary and facilitate U.S. deployment. There is a potential here to harness that persistent presence to break a possible A2/AD threat. This should be further addressed in the U.S. concept development in general and Marine Corps concept and force development in particular.



The U.S. Joint force concept development is rapid and complex. With Force Design 2030, the Marine Corps enters a significant period of change in concept, structure, and education. This will accelerate next year and will have a significant impact from 2022 onward. The changes will turn the Service closer to the U.S. Navy and the mission of deterring China in the Pacific region. This rapid and complex change is necessary, but it is difficult for allies and partners to adjust to. Without a U.S. Joint operating concept that binds all the Service concepts together, it is difficult for allies and partners to integrate the new concepts into their own national defense plans and force designs.

The maritime focus in the Corps is a natural part of the organizational changes and the traditional role of the Service. At the same time, the Marine Corps is reducing its ability to conduct major land operations. This has direct consequences for the Norwegian defense planning and its armed forces’ organization and operating concepts. On the other hand, the concepts like EABO and DMO are applicable to Norway and the threat scenarios from Russia, as long as the equipment can cope with the climatic conditions and the Marines are trained in similar conditions. It will be necessary for the Norwegian armed forces to adapt to EABO and other new U.S. operating concepts first and foremost to increase combat synergy through improved interoperability. An overview of what new capabilities the Marine Corps can bring and what it will not bring or store in Norway in the future is also essential, along with the reaction time and expected operational sustainability it will have. In addition, the Norwegian armed forces have to be prepared for fighting an armed conflict or war alone for a prolonged period of time due to the uncertainty of which U.S. forces, NATO forces, or other bilateral partners that will be available, or able to reinforce Norway due to A2/AD threats, or situations in other parts of the world. This has implications for how Norway should line up its armed forces. The possible consequences of these changes for Norway are increased defense spending to increase capabilities and force structure, changes in operating concept, and hedging for allies and partners in the security strategy. The Norwegian armed forces and politicians should motivate the United States to test out new concepts, force structures, and capabilities in Norway by offering challenging and realistic training opportunities and exercise areas. This will give the Marine Corps important operational experience in a demanding climate, and it will allow the Norwegian military to incorporate concepts and capabilities in its national plans. By doing so, the threshold for the Marine Corps to support Norway when needed will likely be lower.

Other allies and partners will likely have challenges similar to Norway. Rapid and complex changes, including the lack of a Joint U.S. concept, make this necessary concept development slow to implement in allied and partner national plans and concepts. A comprehensive implementation plan to include allies and partners to operationalize the different U.S. concepts, which implies exercises and procurement, is needed to succeed in creating an advantage over China and Russia. Mutual wargames, exercises, and concept development, in addition to exchange of technologies, is needed to create the edge that ensures that the United States, with its allies and partners, will win a possible future great power conflict or war. There is a major potential not being utilized in the concept development by the Marine Corps and the other Services to use the already present forces of allies and partners inside the WEZ, as an allied inside force, that can facilitate U.S. forces’ targeting of adversaries and infiltration of contested areas.


  1. John Nathan Freier et al., “The US Is Out of Position in the Indo-Pacific Region,” Defense One, 20 July 2020.
  2. Force Design 2030 (Washington, DC: Headquarters Marine Corps, 2020), 2.
  3. Force Design 2030, 1.
  4. The U.S. Army’s concept of multidomain operations (MDO) is about to be turned in to a Joint concept. Force Design 2030 is not referring to the Army’s MDO. It is referring to an emerging Joint concept and the outcome of the Joint Staff J7’s Globally Integrated Wargame. Regardless of the concept development in the United States, the U.S. armed forces seem to be driven by Service concepts, with jointness being an afterthought. Robert G. Angevine, “Time to Revive Joint Concept Development and Experimentation,” War on the Rocks, 23 January 2020.
  5. Gen David H. Berger, Commandant’s Planning Guidance: 38th Commandant of the Marine Corps (Washington DC: Headquarter Marine Corps, 2019).
  6. MajGen Brian M. Killough, “The Complicated Combat Future of the U.S. Air Force,” National Interest, 9 February 2020.
  7. Nick Childs, “U.S. Marine Corps Raises the Flag—and New Questions—on Future Force Design,” Military Balance (blog),, accessed 1 October 2020.
  8. Though outside the scope of this article, the integration of a host nation in U.S. concepts is not used to the extent it should. With closer integration in target acquisition, U.S. troops do not need a heavy footprint inside the WEZ. LtCol Jørn Qviller, “The Fait Accompli and A2/AD Dilemma in Northern Europe: A New NATO Operating Concept to Counter Russia” (master’s thesis, Marine Corps University, 23 April 2020).
  9. Qviller, “The Fait Accompli and A2/AD Dilemma in Northern Europe,” 24.
  10. United States Marine Corps: Composition; Function, 10 U.S.C. § 8063 (2020).
  11. DOD Directive Number 5100.01, Functions of the Department of Defense and Its Major Components (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 21 December 2010), 32.
  12. Capt Wayne P. Hughes Jr. and Robert P. Girrier, Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 3d ed. (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2018), 127.
  13. Huges and Girrier, Fleet Tactics and Naval Operations, 147, 161–62.
  14. Gen Victor H. Krulak, First to Fight: An Inside View of the U.S. Marine Corps (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 1999), 12–22.
  15. Summary of the 2018 National Defense Strategy of the United States of America: Sharpening America’s Military Edge (Washington, DC: White House, 2018).
  16. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2020: Annual Report to Congress (Washington, DC: Department of Defense, 2020), vii.
  17. Robert Dalsjö, Christofer Berglund, and Michael Jonsson, Bursting the Bubble: Russian A2/AD in the Baltic Sea Region: Capabilities, Countermeasures and Implications (Malmö, Sweden: Malmö University, 2019).
  18. Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) Handbook: Considerations for Force Development and Employment (Quantico, VA: Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, Concepts and Plans Division, 2018).
  19. Berger, Commandant’s Planning Guidance.
  20. Force Design 2030, 2.
  21. The U.S. Army in Multi-domain Operations, 2028, TRADOC Pamphlet 525-3-1 (Fort Eustis, VA: U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, 2018).
  22. Capt Michael E. Hutchens et al., “Joint Concept for Access and Maneuver in the Global Commons; A New Joint Operational Concept,” Joint Force Quarterly, no. 84 (1st Quarter, 2017).
  23. “Littoral Operations in a Contested Environment,”, accessed 13 November 2020.
  24. Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO) Handbook, 5–6.
  25. The U.S. Army has defined these domains to be air, sea, land, space, and cyberspace. In addition, it has added the information environment and the electromagnetic spectrum. MDO and EABO address all these domains.
  26. Force Design 2030, 2.
  27. Gina Harkins, “Four Marine Units Case Their Colors as Sweeping Reorganization Takes Effect,” Task & Purpose, 6 July 2020.
  28. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2020, vii.
  29. Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China, 2020.
  30. Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO), 43.
  31. Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO).
  32. Force Design 2030, 3.
  33. The Marine Corps is already removing tanks from the Marine Corps Prepositioning Program–Norway (MCPP-N). Svein Arstad, “U.S. Marine Corps Kvitter seg med Stridsvogner,” Forsvarets Forum, 24 July 2020.
  34. Mark F. Cancian, The Marine Corps’ Radical Shift toward China (Washington, DC: Center for Strategic and International Studies, 2020).
  35. Cancian, The Marine Corps’ Radical Shift toward China.
  36. “Our History,” Forsvaret, 31 July 2015.
  37. “Sipri Military Expenditure Database,” Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, accessed 18 August 2020.
  38. Magnus Håkenstad, Den norske mobiliseringshæren 1950–1970. Rasjonalt kompromiss eller nasjonal livsløgn? (Oslo: Norwegian Institute for Defense Studies, 2010), 94.
  39. The Defence of Norway: Capability and Readiness: Long Term Defence Plan, 2020 (Oslo: Norwegian Ministry of Defence, 2020), 20.
  40. “Norway,” NATO, accessed 19 August 2020.
  41. Karl P. Mueller, ed., Precision and Purpose: Airpower in the Libyan Civil War (Santa Monica, CA: Rand, 2015), 285–86.
  42. The U.S. Air Force is educating all Norwegian F-35 and P-8 operators/pilots. Officers attend the U.S. Air Force, Navy, Army, and Marine Corps colleges. There are Norwegian officers working in the Pentagon Joint staff, Naval Striking and Support Forces NATO (STRIKEFORNATO), the U.S. 2d fleet, and at NATO’s headquarters to enhance integration. Allies like Norway provide intelligence from sensors within WEZ (from underwater to outer space), provide armament tailored to the environment like the naval strike missile, antisubmarine warfare AEGIS Frigates, and autonomous mine countermeasures. At the same time, Norway is dependent on the U.S. Joint force for extended air defense to survive in an A2/AD environment. This creates lasting dependencies and build on trust and integrated training.
  43. Cancian, The Marine Corps’ Radical Shift toward China.
  44. Qviller, “The Fait Accompli and A2/AD Dilemma in Northern Europe,” 22.
  45. The Defence of Norway, 16.
  46. Berger, Commandant’s Planning Guidance, 23. 

About the Authors

LtCol Terje Bruøygard is a Norwegian cavalry officer and a graduate from Expeditionary Warfare School and Command and Staff College (CSC) at Marine Corps University (MCU). He served as the commanding officer of Telemark Battalion and deployed to Iraq with his unit before serving as military faculty advisor at CSC. He is currently serving as the J5 at the Norwegian Joint Headquarters. LtCol Jørn Qviller is a Norwegian infantry officer who graduated from the School of Advanced Warfighting after serving as the commanding officer of the Norwegian Army Border Guard Battalion at the Norwegian/Russian border and is currently serving as military faculty advisor at MCU’s Command and Staff College. Opinions in this article are the authors alone and not those of the Norwegian Armed Forces, Marine Corps University, or the U.S. Marine Corps.

The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Marine Corps University, the U.S. Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy, or the U.S. government.

Marine Corps University