With a new year Semper Fi Magazine takes a look under the armor of a new set of wheels destined for the U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Army. Fast-tracked for development, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) will eventually supersede the venerable Humvee for many uses where speed, agility and troop protection are of paramount concern.

With their missions in Iraq largely accomplished, the Marines are shifting focus to the very different battlefield of Afghanistan, whose mountainous trails and tracks are ill-suited to using the massive Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles that saved so many lives in the deserts and cities of Iraq. Overall, the Corps is getting back to its seaborne roots and reshaping itself into a lean, fast, amphibious fighting force. Contributor Glenn Goodman writes that the JLTV suits these new requirements and its development has accelerated in recent months.

Also in this issue of Semper Fi, which we produce for members of the Marine Corps League, we sit down for an in-depth interview with Carlton W. Kent, the 16th Sergeant Major of the USMC. As the Corps’ top NCO, SgtMaj. Kent is constantly on the go visiting Marines around the world, seeing their needs firsthand and motivating them to continue to excel.
One of the more somber consequences of better armor and protection for troops has been the steep rise in cases of traumatic brain injury (TBI) among troops shaken and slammed by explosive concussions. TBI and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) cases are soaring among returning and deployed troops, leading veterans groups and health officials to fear that we are only seeing the tip of the iceberg. An in-depth feature by contributor Emma Johnson looks at the scope of the problem, and what is being done to address it.

Mechanical Marines highlight our report on the League-sponsored Modern Day Marine Expo held in October aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, VA. A far cry from R2-D2, these machines nevertheless advance bravely into hazardous territory to disable explosives, conduct surveillance and even to help rescue wounded Leathernecks. Their use will only increase, as will their capabilities and sophistication. Experts are already discussing esoteric upgrades such as how to program robots with a code of ethics, so, like flesh-and-blood troops, they can evaluate the legality and ethicalness of an order or a situation.