The need for a full rebrand of the British Royal Marines comes as commanders of the 350-year-old Corps seek to end the blurring with Army counterparts and adopt a more “commando raid” approach, with smaller units using hi-tech kit.
The future Royal Marines plans will see the green berets provide more direct support to British Special Operations Forces. A very first move should be positioning of units onboard of the pre-positioned motherships, ready to strike in areas such as the Mediterranean and the Gulf. Other plans should include the wider integration of autonomous platforms, such as remote-controlled vessels and drones, while, at the tactical level, they are to be issued with a new digitally-enhanced camouflage combat uniform which will be distinctive to them.
Though only some Royal Marines now have access to the superior Colt C7 rifle, the move will see it rolled out to all members and mark the Corp’s ditching of the standard-issue SA-80. As part of the push to return to its maritime role, discussions are currently underway to change officers’ rankings to match those of the Royal Navy, rather than the British Army, though this is still under review.
What has been decided, however, is that they will retain their iconic green beret and cap badge.
“The scale and ambition of our transformation is significant. Nothing is off-limits and we aspire to be at the cutting edge of defence,” said Royal Marines Commandant General Major General Matt Holmes.
Senior sources confirmed that the new “force distribution” policy was inspired by recent US Marine Corps guidance. Ironically, however, it will mark the green berets’ return to their original “commando” roots. Currently, the regiment uses concentrated force to pit its strength against an enemy’s weakness.
Further plans include adoption of a more “special operations” approach by using more and smaller units, complemented by technology such as the use of remote-controlled boats to set up a decoy while another unit speeds ashore with a remote-operated UAV to help identify their targets. This has to be reached within the next three years.
The other major change is related to the basic Royal Marines unit, a Troop. It will be reduced from 30 operators to 16.
The regiment currently operates one specialist maritime unit, 42 Commando, which is deployed in small groups in areas such as the Gulf and mounts maritime interdiction operations against piracy and to protect shipping from potential Iranian attacks in the Strait of Hormuz.
But now Maj-Gen Holmes wants the entire 3 Commando Brigade – the Royal Marines’ main fighting arm – to become a special operations force, similar to its USMC counterpart, Express reported.