Forget “One if by land; two if by sea.” An Amphibious Ready Group can come at America’s enemies by land or sea—and in numbers much greater than ones and twos. These Navy–Marine task forces are deployed around the world to do everything from humanitarian assistance and refugee evacuation to combat operations.

Amphibious Ready Groups are like a Swiss Army knife. A typical group carries about 2,000 ground troops and a couple of boatloads of attack and support aircraft. It’s a mean machine.

In a recent interview, the commanding officer of the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Colonel Roy “Ozzie” Osborn, discussed the flexibility an Amphibious Ready Group demonstrated by three concurrent operations in one day, including close air support in Afghanistan, combating piracy in the Gulf of Aden, and providing flood relief in Pakistan.

A recent study by The Heritage Foundation of U.S. forces around the world concluded that America already has too little amphibious capability to meet all the missions demanded of the armed forces.

The greatest challenge for the President and Congress is not figuring out where to cut more from defense, but how they are going to invest in the armed forces we need to keep the nation safe, free, and prosperous.