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A Call for Constructive Debate: Force Design 2030

A Navy/Marine Expeditionary Ship Interdiction System Launcher in Hawaii

Since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, we've been watching history unfold before our eyes. But starting last month, we witnessed the opening shots of another historic clash, this one fought with rhetoric and web essays. In a move that surprised many, a group of prominent retired U.S. Marine generals and other former officers of notoriety began an aggressive campaign of public dissent against Force Design 2030 (FD 2030), Commandant David Berger’s bold plan for the future structure and employment of the Marine Corps.

The op-eds for and against the commandant’s vision continue to arrive at a dizzying pace. Defenders of FD 2030 claim that the retired officers lack the full data and analysis behind the commandant's decisions, and possess an inaccurate grasp on the current and future challenges of the modern battlefield. Many have further accused the retirees of personifying the proverbial “old men yelling at clouds"--people out of touch, irrelevant, and angry at developments beyond their control. The Marine Corps has responded with what appears to be a new website describing and justifying in detail the need for FD 2030. The site even includes direct quotes from three of the generals critiquing the commandant’s decisions. The quotes, each made years ago, speak to the need for change and innovation, the same change and innovation that FD 2030 adherents claim General Berger has pursued all along. This is a shot across the bow if there ever was one. On the other side, the retirees have questioned the validity of the wargames the Marine Corps has run to test and validate FD 2030 concepts. They've also expressed grave concerns about the supposed abolition of the classic Marine Air-Ground Task Force, the Marine Corps' divestment of tanks, its reduction of active infantry battalions, and other aspects of General Berger’s decisions.

As readers of The Maneuverist will recall, in 2021 we published several pieces critical of FD 2030, namely The Massangale-Damon Letters #1 and #2 and The Ghost and General Smith. With this in mind, we invite you to join the FD 2030 debate in a constructive way. We’re calling for articles on the topic—for, against, or in the middle—ranging from 500-2000 words. Have something to say? Send it to us at

When writing for us, please remember to: Make an argument. Use evidence and reasoning. And keep things professional.


Damien O’Connell

The Maneuverist

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