Crisis Response Marines in Middle East Focused on Operations in Syria, Afghanistan

USNI News – The Marine Corps’ Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) Crisis Response force in U.S. Central Command is becoming increasingly distributed across the Middle East as its role evolves, but it is gaining additional aircraft and a ship it can call upon to help support its vastly spread out operations.

Carriers Aren’t The Only Big Targets: The Challenges of Mobile Basing

Breaking Defense – For years, we’ve heard about how vulnerable aircraft carriers are to enemy fire. They’re big. They’re not that fast — compared to a missile. But a big airbase isn’t exactly mobile. While it can be hardened, its location is well known.

Marines Won’t Need a Carrier for High-End Fight With MUX Unmanned System

USNI News – The Marine Corps and Navy are preparing for a high-end fight that will require ships to be distributed across the ocean rather than clustered around an aircraft carrier, and the Marines’ future Group 5 unmanned aerial system will give them the airborne early warning capability to break free from the carrier and its E-2D Advanced Hawkeye early warning aircraft.

Marines Forward-Deploy Portable Drone-Killing System

USNI News – Forward-deployed Marines are using a new system to protect U.S. troops from the threat of cheap and lethal unmanned aerial vehicles.

Marine Corps Wants Forces in U.S. Ready to Surge for Major War

USNI News – The Marine Corps wants to focus its continental U.S.-based forces training for a high-end large-scale war, in case a conflict on the Korean Peninsula or elsewhere requires a massive surge force.

Marines Reorganize Infantry For High-Tech War: Fewer Riflemen, More Drones

Breaking Defense – The Marine Corps is reorganizing its infantry for future high-tech conflicts in which troops must spread out to avoid the enemy’s precision-guided firepower.

Confessions Of A U.S. Marine F/A-18 Hornet Maintainer

War Zone – What it really takes to keep the USMC’s tired Hornet fleet in the air and first-hand experience of Marine Aviation’s waning readiness.

The Navy and Marine Corps Need to Prepare for the Swarm of the Future

War on the Rocks – One only needs to look at the opening ceremony of the 2018 PyeongChang Olympic games to see how modern drone technology could soon render today’s Marine Corps warfighting platforms and doctrine obsolete. During the ceremony, Intel Corp used over 1,200 specially designed drones to light up the night sky in a never-before-seen swarm that danced and maneuvered in formations that included a giant moving snowboarder, an enormous flying dove, and the iconic Olympic rings. With such a graphic display of sophistication, it is not difficult to imagine the damage that could be inflicted against an adversary’s force if each of those 1,200 drones had been weaponized and configured to seek and destroy enemy formations.

Upgrade Navy Networks To Get Most From F-35: Commandant Wants Quality

Breaking Defense – If the Commandant of the Marine Corps had one more dollar to spend — and he probably will with the recent budget deal — he’d use it to upgrade Navy ships’ electronics to take full advantage of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.

Marines to Field Small UAS, EW Tools, Upgraded Weapons After Sea Dragon 2025 Experimentation

USNI News – The Marine Corps is beginning to implement changes to the infantry battalion a year into the service’s Sea Dragon 2025 experimentation effort, with recommendations that include fielding small unmanned aerial systems (UAS), adding advanced training opportunities, restructuring the rifle squad and drawing up new tactics and procedures for a high-end battlefield.

These Marines in Syria fired more artillery than any battalion since Vietnam

Navy Times – A small Marine artillery battalion fired more rounds than any artillery battalion since Vietnam. It’s an explosive revelation that sheds light on the immense level of lethal force brought to Raqqa and northern Syria in support of U.S. counter-ISIS operations.

Let Marines Be Marines

USNI Proceedings – The retention of highly trained Marines is a major problem that the Corps is fighting and losing as personnel leave the ranks for a multitude of reasons, including lack of satisfaction with their service, mistaken expectations, cumulative fatigue, and medical problems.

F-35 Problems: Late IOTE, F-35A Gun Inaccurate, F-35B Tires, Threat Data, Cyber…

Breaking Defense – Perhaps the most damning thing a director of Operational Test and Evaluation can say about a weapon is that it is not “operationally suitable.”

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.