Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress Page: 4 of 16
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Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC)
U.S. Code, Title 10, Section 5063, United States Marine Corps: Composition and Functions,
dated October 1, 1986, states:
The Marine Corps will be organized, trained and equipped to provide an amphibious and
land operations capability to seize advanced naval bases and to conduct naval land
In this regard, the Marines are required by law to have the necessary equipment to conduct
amphibious operations and land operations. The ACV and MPC are considered integral systems
by the Department of Defense (DOD) and Marine Corps to meet this legal requirement, as well as
providing critical capabilities to execute the nation's military strategy.
On January 6, 2011, after spending approximately $3 billion in developmental funding, the
Marine Corps-with "encouragement" from DOD-cancelled the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle
(EFV) program. The EFV was intended to replace the 40-year-old Amphibious Assault Vehicle
(AAV), which currently transports Marines from ships to shore under hostile conditions. The
Marine Corps cancelled the EFV due to excessive cost growth and poor performance in
operational testing. Recognizing the need to replace the AAV, the Pentagon pledged to move
quickly to develop a "more affordable and sustainable" vehicle to take the place of the EFV The
Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) is intended to replace the AAV, incorporating some EFV
capabilities but in a more practical and cost-efficient manner.
In concert with the ACV, the Marines were developing the Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC) to
serve as a survivable and mobile platform to transport Marines when ashore. At present, the
Marines do not have a wheeled armored fighting vehicle that can operate as a dedicated infantry
carrier with Marine maneuver forces inland. The MPC was not intended to be amphibious like an
AAV, EFV, or the ACV but instead would be required to have a swimI capability for inland
waterways such as rivers, lakes, and other water obstacles such as shore-to-shore operations in the
littorals. Because of a perceived amphibious "redundancy," some have questioned the need for
both the ACV and MPC. In June 2013, citing budgetary pressures, the Marines reportedly put the
MPC program "on ice" and suggested that it might not be resurrected for about 10 years.2
Although some have questioned why the Marines cannot simply "adopt" a U.S. Army personnel
carrier, Marine requirements for a personnel carrier reflect the need for this vehicle to be
compatible with amphibious assault craft, as well as to have an enhanced amphibious capability,
which is not necessarily an Army requirement.
With the Marines involved in decades-long land conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan and
proliferating anti-access technologies such as guided missiles, some analysts questioned whether
the Marines would ever again be called on to conduct a large-scale amphibious assault operation.
In response to these questions and the perceived need to examine the post-Iraq and Afghanistan
Marine Corps, the Department of the Navy and DOD studied the requirement to conduct large-
scale amphibious operations and in early 2012 released a strategic vision for how amphibious
operations will be conducted in the future. The primary assertion of this study is that the Marine
Corps' and Navy's amphibious capabilities serve a central role in the defense of the global
1 An amphibious capability generally refers to a vehicle's ability to debark from a ship offshore at a considerable
distance and then move under fire to shore. A swim capability refers to a vehicle's ability to traverse limited water
obstacles such as streams, rivers, and smaller bodies of inland water.
2 Lee Hudson, "Marines Put Marine Personnel Carrier on Shelf Due to Budget Constraints," InsideDefense, June 14,
Congressional Research Service
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Feickert, Andrew. Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) and Marine Personnel Carrier (MPC): Background and Issues for Congress, report, June 1, 2017; Washington D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1043303/m1/4/: accessed March 21, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.