Game-Changing Unmanned Systems for Naval Expeditionary Forces

CIMSEC – It is one thing to state the aspiration for more unmanned systems in the Fleet, and quite another to develop and deploy them. There are compelling reasons why naval expeditionary forces have been proactive in experimenting with emerging unmanned systems.

No More Self-Licking Ice Cream Cones: Marines Need to Train Against Realistic Adversaries

War on the Rocks – Marine training reflects a Cold War mindset with only minor adjustments over the past two decades. A substantial shift is required for service level training to ensure Marine units are prepared for the current and forecasted future operating environment.

First F-35B shipboard deployment to begin as US warship arrives in Japan

Defense News – The U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship Wasp has arrived at its new home port in Japan, setting the stage for the first time the Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II fighter jet will go to sea on an operational cruise later this year.

Marines kick off war games with Japanese soldiers at Camp Pendleton

San Diego Union Tribune – Despite overseas tensions triggered by a nuclear-armed North Korea’s missile tests and China’s territorial claims in the Western Pacific, Japanese and American forces kicked off war games on Friday in California.

US Navy Wants to Hire Contractors to Fly Their Own MQ-9 Reaper Drones in Afghanistan

War Zone – The Marine Corps task force in Helmand Province has an urgent requirement for the unmanned aircraft.

Fighting Forward to Ensure Littoral Access

US Naval Institute Proceedings – The defense has the advantage in amphibious operations. Marines will require small, swift, stealthy, and survivable platforms and units to access, persist, fight, and win in littoral environments.

The United States Needs Mobile Afloat Basing

US Naval Institute Proceedings – With threats to access growing, the Navy cannot continue to depend on overseas facilities for maintenance and resupply. Adapting a modern version of the 1945 fleet train would re-establish the distinctly U.S. solution for naval maneuver warfare.

The Marine Corps Wants to Craft a Fleet of 1,000 “Itty Bitty Boats”

War Zone – The small watercraft force could give marines more flexibility and offer up new avenues of attack.

Baby Steps in the Snow: Getting the Marine Corps Cold-Weather Ready in Norway

War on the Rocks – In January 2017, a company of marines arrived in Vaernes, near the Trondheim Airport in Norway, about a third of the way up the Norwegian coast and just shy of the Arctic Circle. Almost 300 marines spent 6 months training alongside their NATO allies and their other non-NATO Nordic partners. This new program received far less publicity than the marines going to Darwin, Australia beginning in 2012, but it could be an even bigger move – both for the Marine Corps and the U.S. military writ large.

14 Amphibs Tied Up In Maintenance, Exacerbating Shortfall in Available Ships for Marines’ At-Sea Training

USNI News – Nearly half the Navy’s amphibious ships are currently tied up in maintenance availabilities and the service would be several ships short of need if it had to scramble the fleet for a major contingency, in large part due to continuing resolutions and other budget challenges.

Marines Seek Anti-Ship HIMARS: High Cost, Hard Mission

Breaking Defense – For the time since December 1941, when Wake Island’s shore gunners sank the invading destroyer Hayate, Marine Corps artillery wants to kill ships. That could be a big boost for the Navy, which confronts ever more powerful Russian and Chinese fleets.

Why the Navy Needs a Fighting Connector: Distributed Maritime Operations and the Modern Littoral Environment

War on the Rocks – Maritime operations, especially in coastal regions, will thus be contested and dangerous, compelling American forces to operate in an increasingly dispersed fashion. The modern operating environment raises the question of whether the Navy and the Marine Corps are properly equipped to protect and project force.

Navy, Marines Ponder Alternative Platforms’ Role as First ESB Now Operating in 5th Fleet

USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps are committed to using alternative platforms to move Marines around at sea, but there are still decisions yet to be made about how to maximize these ships’ effectiveness and minimize risk while operating independently or as part of a strike group.

Amphibious Warfare Leaders Warn Against Buying Light Carriers Instead of Amphibs

USNI News – The Navy’s director of amphibious warfare warned that pursuing a light aircraft carrier option in lieu of amphibious assault ships would limit the Marines’ options for responding to operational commanders’ needs, and instead urged faster shipbuilding and experimenting with new ship groupings to increase operational flexibility.

Marines Need Speed From Ship To Shore

Breaking Defense – Small, fast missile boats clear a path through coastal waters for Marine landing forces. Robot jet skis, surfboards, and mini-subs scout out landing sites ahead of the human force. High-speed landing craft carry troops, their gear, and vehicles to the beach. Those are some of the ideas the Marines are experimenting with as they seek new ways to get ashore in the teeth of high-tech defenses.

Marines Fire HIMARS From Ship in Sea Control Experiment With Navy

USNI News – The daytime launch of the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System on Sunday might have seemed like another training mission if the Marines hadn’t fired it from an amphibious ship operating at sea.

Marine Aviation Deaths Are Six Times Navy’s

Breaking Defense – If you know a young person who dreams of flying for their country over land and sea, tell them they’re a lot safer in the Navy than in the Marines. The MV-22 tilt-rotor that crashed in August, killing three, and the KC-130T transport that crashed in July, killing 16, are just the tip of a very ugly iceberg. According to data obtained by Breaking Defense, aircraft accidents have killed 62 Marines in the last six years, compared to just 10 personnel from the much larger Navy.

On a familiar battlefield, Marines prepare for their next chapter in Afghanistan

Washington Post – In Marine Brig. Gen. Roger B. Turner Jr.’s office on this small, dusty base in Afghanistan, there are a leather couch, a map of Helmand province and a white board marked with half a dozen goals. One of them reads: “Get thru fighting season.” That aim – survival – demonstrates how modest U.S. ambitions in Afghanistan have become.

Marines Order Stand-Downs After Crash Deaths: What’s Wrong?

Breaking Defense – With 19 Marines killed in two aircraft crashes since July 10th, Marine Corps Commandant Robert Neller has ordered all aviation units to stand down for safety reviews. This summer’s crashes come after months of rising accident rates, with a total of 22 deaths and 18 “Class A Mishaps” – incidents involving loss of life or $2 million in damages – since last spring, plus numerous lesser accidents.

Additional 100 Marines headed to Afghan province to help fight the Taliban

ABC – About 100 more Marines will be sent to the troubled Helmand Province in Afghanistan to help the 300 Americans who are already there advising and assisting Afghan security forces.

USS America Leadership Look To Aircraft Carriers For Inspiration On Leveraging Aviation-Centric Design

USNI News – As the first-in-class USS America (LHA-6) begins operations on its first major overseas deployment, leadership has a good understanding of the basics of operating this new type of ship – an amphibious assault ship without a well deck – but also a lot of room to learn how to maximize the new capability it brings to the fleet.

How the Death of a Muslim Recruit Revealed a Culture of Brutality in the Marines

New York Times Magazine – Recruits at Parris Island have been subjected to severe hazing, far beyond that experienced in other U.S. military boot camps. Is this really the only way to create a warrior?

Marine Airpower’s Future: Networking F-35s, V-22s, & MUX Drones

Breaking Defense – The Marine Corps’ top pilot sketched a vision of fast-paced and networked air operations, spearheaded by F-35 fighters, V-22 tiltrotors, and the future MUX drones, all linked to each other and the rest of the force by Link-16 and MADL.

Will missiles from Russia, China and Iran make amphibious Marines obsolete?

San Diego Union Tribune – The seventh-month odyssey of a “blue-green” flotilla that saw combat in Yemen and Syria and conducted training exercises across a large swath of the globe demonstrates the enduring importance of the Navy-Marine Corps team overseas, commanders of the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit said Wednesday.

‘It feels like Groundhog Day’: US Marines return to Helmand province

The Guardian – With the Taliban resurgent and the security situation deteriorating, elite US forces have been redeployed in southern Afghanistan.