– 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.
– 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.
– 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.
– 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?
– 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.
– 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.
– The Guardian – With the Taliban resurgent and the security situation deteriorating, elite US forces have been redeployed in southern Afghanistan.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps released its 2017 Marine Aviation Plan today, outlining its upcoming aircraft acquisition and upgrade plans and providing a glimpse of how those new capabilities will come together in various operational scenarios.
– CIMSEC – According to the 2016 Marine Corps Operating Concept (MOC), the greatest risk to the Marine Corps is that it becomes unbalanced in its development as a force that is at once naval, expeditionary, agile, and lethal.1 Four decades of institutional neglect of naval surface fire support (NSFS) has led to precisely that: the Corps is over-reliant on aviation and cruise missiles to provide fires in a non-permissive maritime domain. Without investment in NSFS solutions that balance capability and capacity, the Marine Corps will be constrained in its ability to maneuver at sea, leaving Marines ill-equipped to fight and win in the future operating environments the MOC predicts.
– USNI News – An undisclosed number of Marines assigned to the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit arrived in Syria recently to join U.S. forces and local forces poised to push Islamic State militants out of the city of Raqqa.
– USNI News – A future naval campaign against an enemy armed with long-range precision weapons will require the Navy and Marine Corps to disaggregate, creating temporal sea and air control with small units that can move from the sea to the shore and back again to meet an objective and then move on to the next task.
– USNI News – The new year began with no U.S. aircraft carrier and carrier strike group on watch in the Middle East. But the volatile Middle East region wasn’t devoid of U.S. military projection from the sea. For almost two months – and through the nation’s transition to a new administration – the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, aboard the three-ship Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, has been standing post.
– Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory – A collection of science fiction stories written by Marines and other service members from an Art of the Future Project and Marine Corps Warfighting Lab workshop.
– Defense One – In a proof-of-concept experiment, data passed instantly from a Marine Corps fighter allowed a shipboard Aegis system to shoot down a drone.
– Breaking Defense – Marines are famously aggressive, but a new battle plan from a leading thinktank makes Iwo Jima look low-risk. The Center for Strategic & Budgetary Assessments’ proposed concept of operations is imaginative, exciting and more than a little scary.
– USNI News – In a glimpse of what the future of Marine Corps aviation could bring, this fall F-35B Joint Strike Fighters were operating at long ranges with the MV-22 Osprey, passing information to other aircraft and to ground forces with tablets. Unmanned aerial vehicles provided intelligence, and precision rockets hit targets in dense urban areas. At Marine Aviation Weapons and Tactics Squadron-One (MAWTS-1) and its semi-annual Weapons and Tactics Instructor (WTI) course, top aviators from around the fleet not only trained to high-end warfighting scenarios but also help advance tactics to keep up with real-world developments and conduct experiments with emerging technologies that could give Marines in the air and on the ground an edge on the battlefield.
– USNI News – After years of testing to make sure the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter and its subsystems work as designed, the Marine Corps has a contingent of pilots and maintainers aboard USS America (LHA-6) now to ensure the new plane can operate from the amphibious ship, in a final test period ahead of next year’s first deployment.
– USNI News – Next year the Navy will relocate big deck amphib USS Wasp (LHD-1) from Naval Station Norfolk, Va. to a new homeport in Sasebo, Japan as the USS Wasp has been recently modernized to accommodate the Marine Corps variant of the Joint Strike Fighter (F-35B).
– US Naval War College Review – This article examines the logistical support requirements of distributed short-takeoff–vertical-landing (STOVL) operations (DSOs) by U.S. Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II fighters, and alternative solutions to fulfilling those requirements.
– San Diego Union Tribune – A look at what current US Marine F-35 pilots think of their new aircraft.
– Breaking Defense – After a generation spent fighting guerrillas, the Marines have just rolled out a new concept for high-tech combat against a nation-state — a concept they’re developing in unusually close concert with the Army and Navy.
– USNI News – The 13th MEU and Boxer ARG left San Diego on Feb. 12 for the seven-month deployment that was busy, with air strike missions supporting coalition forces fighting Islamic State in northern Iraq, amphibious war games in and around the Korean peninsula and training with partner militaries in Malaysia and Sri Lanka.
– USNI News – The new amphibious assault ship USS America (LHA-6) has raised more than a few questions in its short life, with sailors and Marines alike wondering what it will mean to have an amphibious ship without a well deck and therefore without the ability to deploy landing craft to move heavy tanks and equipment ashore.
– Defense News – The 2,500-person Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) is the basic formation of regularly-deploying US Marine Corps units, typically embarked aboard a three-ship US Navy amphibious ready group (ARG) that deploys for six months or more at a time. But the various units that make up the MEU are often called on to carry out missions hundreds of miles apart, even thousands of miles. It’s not unusual that the MEU and ARG, which together train before the deployment to operate as a single unit, split up once in theater to the point where the three ships might not even see each other for months. So does it make sense to continue that MEU/ARG construct? Gen. Robert Neller, commandant of the Corps, says yes.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps’ top aviator said the F-35B Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter pilots have matured in their understanding of the new platform in the year since the service declared initial operational capability (IOC), pushing themselves to push past planned tactics and create a new way of using the fifth-generation technology.