USNI News – The commandant of the Marine Corps and the chief of naval operations have been discussing how to design a more effective naval campaign that leverages both the carrier strike group and the amphibious ready group to fight a near-peer competitor.
– National Interest – Last July, the United States Marine Corps declared their short takeoff/vertical-landing (STOVL) version of the stealthy Lockheed Martin F-35B Joint Strike Fighter operational. However, a new Pentagon operational test and evaluation report shows that the jet is far from ready. Even at the time, many had suspected that the service’s initial operational capability (IOC) was more hope than reality—now there is data to back that up.
– USNI News – 280 Marines serving with the Special-Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force Crisis-Response Africa (SPMAGTF-CR-AF) are set to return home to Camp Lejeune, N.C., later this week after a six-month deployment to Spain and Italy.
– USNI News – The 3rd Marine Division is exploring ways to not only put Marines infantry on non-traditional ships but to push those vessels into higher-level military operations.
– USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps amphibious fleet is on the cusp of two major changes – the introduction of the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter and the growth of the fleet from 30 to 33 ships – that will change the way the fleet trains and fights.
– Washington Post – Marines are regularly flying over both Iraq and Syria to provide an airborne force capable of responding quickly if a coalition aircraft goes down and a pilot or air crew needs rescuing, said the commanding officer of a unit that returned from Iraq this fall.
– USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps should explore ways to make Marine aircraft a more useful part of the naval battle force – using alternate mixes of aircraft types on amphibious ship flight decks, finding additional missions for those aircraft, and pursuing increased connectivity to the rest of the naval fleet.
– US Naval Institute Proceedings – A worst-case ‘pre-mortem’ analysis of the Marine Corps’ latest operating concept is the way ‘to avoid failure when failure is not an option.’
– USNI News – The Auxiliary Platforms and Payloads Council at the Pentagon has focused its efforts on using the Expeditionary Fast Transport for Marines’ afloat command and control requirements, as well as looking at technical enablers to allow Marines to operate from the Littoral Combat Ship.
– San Diego Union Tribune – When Gen. Robert Neller was promoted to commandant about 10 days ago, he inherited one of the most contentious issues in Marine Corps history – whether women should serve as infantry. During a talk Monday at Camp Pendleton, the new leader of Marines made it clear they would salute and carry on whether or not restrictions barring women from ground combat jobs are lifted by year’s end, ensuring that combat effectiveness does not suffer.
– USNI News – The U.S. Marine Corps is in the midst of several acquisition programs that will extend the reach of the force and keep Marines safer while on the ground however the Corps is struggling how to fit the new kit on the Navy’s existing amphibious ships.
– Military Times – The Marine Corps has made strides to improve standards for the MV-22B Osprey nearly two years after a report found unsettling evidence the service was deploying squadrons that were not mission-ready. But some problems persist due to high operational demand and a lack of resources.
– USNI News – The Marines are shaking up their force in Europe, adding a one-of-a-kind Combined Arms Company to the Black Sea Rotational Force to train with local partners and allies on anti-tank capabilities.
– Foxtrot Alpha – The Marine Corp has declared initial operational capability for their first squadron of F-35Bs. The announcement is seen by some as more of PR achievement as the aircraft still has years of testing ahead of it. Others will argue that it represents a major accomplishment for the beleaguered F-35 program. But regardless of who you agree with, the USMC have succeeded at ramming the aircraft through a marker post that has always been a huge point of contention.
– Defense One – Seven years late and billions of dollars over its original budget, the Joint Strike Fighter is deemed ready to fight.
– New York Times – For decades the Marine Corps has tolerated, even encouraged, lower performance from the young women who enlist in its ranks, an insidious gender bias that begins with the way women are treated immediately after they sign up and continues through their training at boot camp. The results are predictable – female Marines risk being less confident and less fully accepted than their male counterparts, because the Corps has failed them from the outset. That is the position of Lt. Col. Kate Germano, an active-duty Marine officer who commanded both a Marine recruiting station in San Diego and a segregated all-female training battalion at Parris Island, the Corps’ boot camp in South Carolina.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps expects to have its V-22 Aerial Refueling System (VARS) ready for early F-35B operations despite a one-year delay in securing funding.
– Aviation Week – Talisman Saber is a biennial naval drill between the U.S. and Australian going back about a decade. This year’s exercise is the first since a major influx of Marines came to Darwin, the first to be focus mostly in and around the Northern Territory and the first to include Japanese forces.
– USNI News – When the time comes for the Marines’ first F-35B Joint Strike Fighters (JSFs) to deploy on an amphibious assault ship, the six aircraft on the float will bring more strike, sensing and communications capabilities than the three platforms they replace, the deputy commandant for aviation said.
– USNI News – Marines will have to continue to be adaptable to meet growing threats with limited resources by fundamentally rethinking how the Marine Corps organizes and operates.
– US Naval Institute – After spending more than a decade fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, the U.S. Marine Corps finds itself confronting a new enemy.
– Breaking Defense – Since early November, three Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys and 26 marines have been on alert at Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait, on 30-minute alert to fly in and rescue a U.S. or coalition pilot downed while bombing or shooting at the Islamic State in Iraq or Syria. On 29 occasions between Nov. 1 and April 24, two Ospreys and a KC-130J aerial refueling tanker assigned to this Tactical Recovery of Aircraft and Personnel (TRAP) mission have spent 145 hours loitering in the air as large coalition airstrikes were underway, “ready to swoop in if required,” their former commander says.
– Reuters – The U.S. Marine Corps is bringing together foreign commanders from amphibious forces deployed mostly in the Asia-Pacific for a conference aimed at taking steps to integrate operations, with China excluded from the event.
– BBC – As Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travels to the US for a state visit, one Japanese island is pushing back against a new American military base.
– Marine Corps Times – Nearly one of every five of the Corps’ aircraft are unable to fly, making it difficult for Marines to train for deployments, the service’s top aviator said.