The United States Marine Corps has disbanded a historic and elite scout sniper program as part of a more extensive overhaul to prepare infantry battalions for future warfare.
The scout sniper platoons will now be replaced with scout platoons that will provide commanders with relevant, reliable, accurate, and prompt information. This change will mean that infantry battalions will no longer have sniper attachments, and a new MOS “Reconnaissance Sniper” will be established within the Reconnaissance Battalions.
The Marine Corps’ decision to disband its scout sniper program is a part of the Marine Corps Force Design 2030 plan, which aims to restructure how the branch operates in response to the evolving landscape of warfare. This change has been both sudden and contentious, with many criticizing the move.
The new Scout Platoons will comprise 26 Marines, more significant than the traditional Scout Sniper Platoons comprising 18 Marines. Marine spokesman Capt. Ryan Bruce told the Marine Corps Times that the shift to a Scout Platoon would allow those Marines to focus their training and evaluations on scouting, providing commanders with the right tools to accomplish their mission. The memo also stated that designated marksmen, along with precision rifles, would remain within infantry companies.
The USMC Scout Sniper Association has released a statement following the move, calling it “misguided” and “ill-advised.” The association argued that the Marine Corps leadership had “forgotten the lessons learned in combat, paid for with the blood of our members.” They continued, “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. We urge the Commandant of the Marine Corps to reconsider this ill-advised policy decision.”