Next Marine commandant says MARSOC is ‘vital’

Lt. Gen. David H. Berger, the current deputy commandant for Marine Combat Development and Integration, was responding to questions from Sen. Richard Blumentha, about whether Marine Corps Special Operations Command should be “disestablished,” as was recommended in a recent think tank article.

“At this stage they have developed farther, faster than most thought possible,” Berger said. “I think they’re vital. I think the (Special Operations Forces) and the command are better with them there.”

Marine Forces Special Operations Command, or MARSOC, was founded in 2005 at the direction of then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. MARSOC’s tab after 13 years: 43 deaths, more than 300 valor awards, and 300 operational deployments

Berger has been tapped to take over as commandant when Gen. Robert B. Neller steps down at the end of his four-year tour later this year. The three-star general is a former reconnaissance Marine.

In late March another Marine veteran Dakota Wood, who now works as a senior research fellow with The Heritage Foundation, wrote a report centered on rebuilding the Marine Corps. The central theme of his research focused on how the Marine Corps has strayed from its amphibious mission.

He highlighted the growth of MARSOC and the resources that he says pull from the Corps as part of that mission distraction. Wood advocated for the elimination of the command to refocus on the Corps’ role in its primary calling.