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IPFS News Link • Military



The product of a grueling training pipeline that yields field-ready precision marksmen qualified on the M40, M110, and M107 series rifles, the Marine Scout Sniper program is facing permanent disbandment as a result of a shifting focus in the country's amphibious warfare service.

A leaked Feb. 21 unclassified message from Lt. Gen. D. J. Furness, the deputy commandant for plans, policies, and operations, detailed that the current 18-member Scout Sniper Platoons assigned to the Corps' infantry battalions will quickly transition to 26-member Scout platoons – in other words, cutting the snipers in favor of a unit that would provide more "continuous all-weather information gathering."

Spots in the Scout Sniper Basic Course will be zeroed out in the coming fiscal year while a nascent sniper capability will be continued in the Corps' Reconnaissance and Marine Special Operations units under a new Military Occupational Specialty – 0322 MOS (Reconnaissance Sniper) – via a revamped, shorter training program.

The problem with that is, as these groups typically operate detached from standard infantry units, the highly specialized skill will in effect vanish at the battalion level, which will be left to get by with the current designated marksmen already at the company level. Under current doctrine, DMs typically only have a three-week course under their belt and train to engage targets out to 500 meters, rather than the much longer ranges that Scout Snipers train to achieve. 

The USMC Scout Sniper Association is urging the Commandant of the Marine Corps to reconsider what the group terms an "ill-advised" policy decision that will gut the program that has been tweaked and perfected over the past 80 years.