ARLINGTON, Va. ― The Marine Corps rifle squad has lost a member but will gain a suite of capabilities in a servicewide initiative to bring powerful tools from information to precision fires to the lowest echelons of combat. Commandant Robert B. Neller told a crowd of hundreds at the Marine Corps Association and Foundation Annual Ground Awards Dinner on Thursday that the new configuration would consist of three, three-Marine fire teams and a command element of three ― a squad leader, assistant squad leader and squad systems operator. The systems operator will be the most tech-capable Marine in the formation, Neller said. Rather than create a new Military Occupational Specialty, the systems operator will come from the infantry ranks. And all squad members will carry the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. https://www.marinecorpstimes.com/ne...ing-a-squad-systems-operator-commandant-says/ Interesting setup. The squad has lost a member, as well as a belt fed machine gun (SAW). But it will now have a "squad systems operator" (electronics) and the M27 rifle. The M27 is essentially a beefed up piston driven AR. It does not put out the volume of fire of the M249 SAW, but it is nearly half the weight and more accurate. Its to be used almost as a dual purpose gun-both as a light machine gun, and a designated marksman rifle (DMR) which is an accurized rifle used against snipers, etc. While the M27 is not a belt fed machine gun, and while its not a DMR like a scoped M14-its going to take on the roles of both, along with replacing the M4 carbine. While the marines are retiring many of its aging M249's, there are still .30 caliber LMG's for use.