SecDef Robert Gates may be looking to kill the Marine Corps Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV) as part of Pentagon budget cuts. What took him so long?

While the EFV provides a lightly-armored high-speed amphibious infantry transport and gun platform to replace the Corps’ ancient AAVs, modern weaponry–particularly guided weapons–have called the doctrine of traditional amphibious assault into question, when much faster and more nimble heli-borne and LCAC-based transport can put more survivable and lethal armor on the beach faster, without the trade-offs of the EFVs design.

At the very minimum, a “EFV-lite” stripped of the troublesome amphibious components could provide the Marines with a modern armored fighting vehicle needed for combat patrols and scouting, for vast majority of time these vehicles will spend out of the water anyway.

Perhaps if we waste less money on problematic vehicles built for outmoded doctrines, we can invest that money in equipping our Marines with rifles chambered in a cartridge with more lethal range than the 5.56, to better take advantage of the legendary riflemanship of the Corps. We’ve known the 5.56 is suboptimal for more than 40 years, and it’s time to give our Marines a more lethal cartridge with which to kill the enemy.