They may not be the laser-armed combat Space Marines some of us are hoping to eventually see, and I have written about here and here, but it is a start. Nine months ago, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger ordered the creation of the new Marine Corps Forces Space Command, and now “select Marines” from this unit will start space training.
This comes nearly 60 years after America’s first Space Marine, the late, great, retired Marine colonel, John Glenn was the first American to orbit the Earth.
The current training won’t involve much individual combat though.
It is more like pre-warfare training for a service with limited expertise in space operations. And interestingly, the training will be completed at the Army’s Space and Missile Defense School in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as the Army is the ground force with the most space background.
So, yes, the Army will be training the first Space Marines.
According to an Army news release, the Marines will learn “situational awareness of space capabilities, space assets, space products, and the impact of space on operations.” No mention of plasma cannons or lasers, yet. But some warfare tactics and techniques involving satellites, electronic space warfare, and missile defense is part of the curriculum.
Paul Szoldra, a fellow Marine, writes in Task & purpose:
In other words, they’ll learn a lot about space. But in plain English, they’ll likely be getting trained on satellite communications and how to ward off enemy missiles under the instruction of experts at the Army’s Space and Missile Defense Command. Then after they complete training, the Marines will embed with Army space support teams, which enhance “intelligence and operation planning capabilities” for units in the field. Comprised of four enlisted soldiers and two officers, ARSSTs bring a knowledge base of space-based military capabilities like satellite intelligence and communications. They can even jam enemy communications and take part in “navigation warfare,” according to an Army guide from 2017.
…these Marines will be a far cry from the boltgun-armed Space Marines of Warhammer 40,000 or the Colonial Marines of ‘Aliens’ fame and there are no plans yet to launch space grunts into orbit. As Marine officials explained in a December news release, the Corps’ main goal at this point is to get qualified Space Marines on the staff of Marine Expeditionary Forces (MEF) so they can provide “the commander situational awareness of the space domain,” among other items.
“The MSST [Marine Space Support Teams] concept is currently in the experimental phase which will be complete when all three MEFs have been trained, likely spring of 2021,” Lt. Col. Joseph “Hookah” Horvath, a space operations officer, said in the release.
It might be a while before Space Marines are boarding enemy space stations, sabotaging satellites, or protecting bases on the moon or Mars. But when it does happen, we can look back and say this is where and how it began. Hoorah! ADN