– 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.
– USNI Proceedings – There is a dangerous disconnect between Marine aviation readiness levels and calls for increased mission versatility; ‘something has to give.’
– USNI News – Marine AV-8B Harriers operating from USS Wasp (LHD-1) have struck ISIS targets Libya.
– USNI News – The Navy and Marine Corps will deploy a second Amphibious Ready Group and Marine Expeditionary Unit team to the Southern Pacific beginning as early as 2019, to allow the Japan-based forward deployed forces to focus on the northern and eastern parts of the vast Asia-Pacific theater.
– Marine Corps Times – The Islamic State group is about to feel the sting of this 27-year-old gator as it heads out on its first major deployment in more than a decade.
– USNI News – The Marine Corps intends to add improved sensors and precision-strike capability to its entire KC-130J Super Hercules tanker/transport plane and MV-22 Osprey tiltrotor fleets, applying the “Harvest Hawk” concept to make both aircraft more multi-mission.
– USNI News – A three-pronged approach is helping the Navy keep its strike fighter inventory shortfall at a “manageable” level –speeding up legacy Hornet life extension work, preparing to conduct the Super Hornet life extension program more efficiently, and buying new Super Hornets – though the Marines’ legacy Hornet fighter inventory is so strained there are hardly any planes available for day-to-day squadron training.
– USNI News – Sailors and Marines assigned to the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit will begin returning from a seven-month deployment to the Middle East starting today. However, an artillery detachment from the 26th MEU assigned to a collation fire support base in Iraq will remain until an unnamed Army unit relieves them.
– Reuters – The U.S. military’s MV-22 Osprey aircraft has been a lightning rod for opposition to U.S. bases in Japan since 24 of them were deployed on the southern island of Okinawa in 2014. By sending eight of the tilt-rotor Ospreys to help with relief efforts for survivors of recent earthquakes on Kyushu island, both U.S. and Japanese military planners have been able to showcase an aircraft they see as necessary for Japan’s defense.
– USNI News – Eight Marine Corps MV-22B Ospreys have been tasked in assist relief efforts following two severe earthquakes that struck southern Japan over the weekend.
– USNI News – The MAGTF (pronounced MAG-TAF) is the soul of how the Marines organize themselves, from the 500 Marine special purpose units forward deployed in Europe, to the Marine Expeditionary Brigades (MEB) built around a 15,000 Marine infantry regiment, to the 40,000 strong Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF).
– Breaking Defense – With the rise of high-tech threats from Russia and China, the Marine Corps plans a major increase in its forces devoted to jamming, hacking, and deceiving enemies.
– Washington Post – Photographs and information released by the U.S. military provide new details about a fire base recently established by the Marine Corps in northern Iraq to target Islamic State militants, including its austere nature and how troops arrived there last week.
– CNN – The Marine killed in an ISIS rocket attack in Iraq on Saturday was at the first American firebase that had only become operational a few days earlier CNN has learned.
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.’