Marine Corps under fire for eliminating elite scout sniper platoons from infantry battalions: 'Misguided'
USMC Scout Sniper Association calls for ‘Commandant of the Marine Corps to reconsider this ill-advised policy decision’
A nonprofit organization representing the Marine Corps’ elite scout snipers is blasting a decision by the service branch to get rid of the position, decrying the move as "misguided" and "ill-advised."
The criticism from the USMC Scout Sniper Association comes after Marine Corps leadership issued a memo ordering "immediate transition of Scout Sniper Platoons to Scout Platoons" as part of the Force Design 2030 plan to restructure how the branch operates.
The document states the "scouting capabilities in the newly designed Infantry companies were insufficient to offer the Battalion continuous all-weather information gathering," so the Commandant of the Marine Corps ordered the creation of the Scout Platoons, consisting of 26 Marines, a first lieutenant and an infantry gunnery sergeant.
"This announcement by the Deputy Commandant, Plans, Policy and Operations is the misguided result," the USMC Scout Sniper Association wrote on Facebook, sharing images of the memo.
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"Rather than do away with Scout Snipers... perhaps our senior leadership should invest the little bit of time and effort it would take to better train, equip and organize the highly skilled and motivated Scout Snipers who are already giving their all in defense of our Nation," it added.
Scout Snipers, according to the website Careers in the Military, are Marines "skilled in field craft and marksmanship who deliver long range, precision fire on selected targets from concealed positions in support of combat operations," in addition to having a "secondary mission of gathering information for intelligence purposes."
The memo says even though the "approved Force Design 2030 construct removed the Scout Sniper Platoon from the Infantry Battalion Table of Organization," trained "designated marksmen and precision rifles will remain within the Infantry Company."
It calls for the establishment of the reconnaissance sniper position "within the Reconnaissance Battalions."
However, it also says starting fiscal year 2024, there will be "zero allocated seats" for the "Scout Sniper Basic Course."
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With Force Design 2030, the Marines says it wants to redesign the Corps "because current and future threats call for a significantly more capable force, with new operating concepts."
"Here at the USMC Scout Sniper Association, we’re shocked and saddened that our Marine Corps leadership seems to have forgotten the lessons learned in combat, paid for with the blood of our members," the organization wrote in its Facebook message about the announcement.
"Marine Scout Snipers have always, since WWII, been a tremendously cost-efficient force multiplier," it continued. "Scout Snipers have always risen to every operational challenge when afforded the opportunity and resources by their commanders to simply do their jobs."
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The USMC Scout Sniper Association concluded by saying "We urge the Commandant of the Marine Corps to reconsider this ill-advised policy decision.
"If you believe Scout Snipers are a valuable asset to our Marine Corps warfighting capability, then you should take whatever steps you can to place pressure on our Commandant, Gen David Berger, and his leadership team to rescind this message and do the right thing," it wrote. "You have representatives in Congress who want to hear from you."