U.S. Marines to Return to Amphibious Operations

BY Herschel Smith
4 years, 10 months ago

The title of the Navy Times article is Amphibious ops to become default mode for MEUs, but the import is much larger than that.  It’s more than just about MEUs.  The Commandant wants to return to amphibious roots – generally.

Determined to get Marines directly involved with the fight against pirates and other threats at sea, the Corps is reinventing its seven expeditionary units.

Major changes, some already underway, will make the MEUs even more potent and versatile than they are now, equipping them with the latest weapons, gear and capabilities while ensuring they’re thoroughly trained to be the premier on-call first responders for any number of worldwide contingencies.

Officials want to shift their focus away from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan — many MEUs have cycled through multiple combat tours during the past several years — and back to being “Soldiers of the Sea.”

A new policy issued in August updates the baseline MEU structure with new and future weapons systems and redefines its core capabilities to include 16 essential missions, along with special operations tasks already in high demand today. It’s the first big overhaul since Sept. 25, 2001, and touches on everything from pre-deployment training to the specialized skills Marines will need to get these jobs done.

“Amphibious forces are increasingly likely to be tasked with counterterrorism, counter-proliferation and counter-piracy missions,” Marine officials wrote in “Amphibious Operations in the 21st Century,” a doctrinal paper released earlier this year. “These will likely involve amphibious raids conducted for the purposes of destroying terrorists and their sanctuaries, capturing pirates or other criminals and seizing contraband, rescuing hostages or securing, safeguarding and removing materials to include weapons of mass destruction.”

Deployed MEUs serve as key “theater reserves” overseas, ready to respond to regional contingencies or crises. Each is designed as an air-ground task force with the capability to operate and launch missions at sea within six hours or operate ashore for a month before needing any resupply.

“A lot has changed in the last eight or nine years,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Impellitteri, MEU policy officer in the Expeditionary Policies Branch at Plans, Policies and Operations at Marine Corps headquarters. “We wanted to streamline the [mission essential task list] to make it basically say … this is what the MEU needs to do.”

MEUs will continue to be centered on battalion landing teams, and while the new policy outlines basic structure — still about 2,200 Marines composing air combat, ground combat and logistical combat elements, plus a special operations element — the MEU commander can tailor the force to fit his expected needs. Increasingly, there is a host of new assets from which to choose.

The 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit, for example, left its home at Camp Lejeune, N.C., in May with the MV-22 Osprey, the first MEU ever to take the tilt-rotor aircraft on an overseas pump. Navy SEALs, once a routine component of amphibious ready groups, have largely disappeared, but the creation of Marine Corps Forces Special Operations Command and the re-emergence of Force reconnaissance offer comparable capabilities.

The U.S. may not need to conduct a hostile amphibious assault on a foreign shore anytime soon, but an MEU’s ability to decimate enemy forces or, with help from the Navy, quickly dole out humanitarian aid in the aftermath of a natural disaster, preserves the Corps’ role among the services as the expeditionary force in readiness.

Moving forward, amphibious ops will be the MEUs’ default mode.

“As the generals are fond of saying,” said Col. David Coffman, who commands the 13th MEU out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., “if there’s a sword to be drawn at sea, shouldn’t a Marine be wielding it?” …

The MEUs’ aviation and ground mix also is in transition.

As the Corps modernizes its inventory with new equipment, such as the UH-1Y Super Huey, AH-1Z Super Cobra and eventually the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, MEUs will begin to look and operate differently.

“You basically have an entirely new [air combat element], platform by platform,” Coffman said. “We have to decide what that mix is like again.”

His 13th MEU was the first to deploy with the UH-1Y, providing an operational test as the fleet grows, but none of the current units training or deployed have a Super Huey aboard. The 22nd MEU has a squadron of Ospreys, but with several years to go before that aircraft arrives at West Coast bases, Olson’s 11th MEU left San Diego with CH-46E medium-lift helicopters as its aviation core.

Coffman wants to see the MEUs expand their ISR — intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance — assets, to include unmanned aerial systems. His battalion landing team had smaller drones, but adding systems such as the Scan Eagle would only strengthen intelligence gathering.

My commentary has been opposed to MEUs as they currently exist, as well as wasteful spending on the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle.  The Commandant wants to return to their expeditionary and amphibious roots, but against what enemy?  If the enemy is a stable nation-state with the power and industry to deploy mines, and employ air ordnance and air power against the landing team, sending EFVs and LCACs would be disastrous.  The U.S. is not prepared for the thousands of Marine deaths that would result from a conventional, full bore amphibious assault on a state even smaller than a near peer, much less a large and powerful near peer.

If the nation-state is unstable (or even essentially non-existent), then it’s unlikely that air artillery and air ordnance would be employed against an amphibious assault, and so the EFV is unnecessary.  It’s not that the EFV design is not state of the art, but rather, that the art doesn’t match the need.  But if I’ve been opposed to the EFV and the notion of full bore amphibious assaults, I have also advocated that the Marines be prepared to retool the Amphibious Assault Dock and air power and support to air-based landings farther inland.

That’s why, after seeing the maintenance problems with the V-22 Osprey in Iraq along with its inability to navigate the high elevations of Afghanistan, I have recommended that the U.S. Marine Corps not be so quick to retire its currently fleet of helicopters (Marines can fast rope from the CH-46 but cannot from the Osprey), and plan for a new fleet of helicopters.  The Osprey can serve some functions (it’s faster and can fly higher and further), but cannot replace the helicopter (certainly not as a weapons platform).

But I have also recommended that the U.S. Marine Corps rethink how it does MEUs.  The current practice of deploying entire Battalions of Marine infantry on board amphibious assault docks to float around the Mediterranean, Gulf of Aden and Persian Gulf for nine months so that pilots can get flight time, the Navy can get ship time and the Marines can waste time in every bar between here and there is worse that wasteful.  It’s an immoral expenditure of U.S. tax dollars.

If there is actually a need for a Battalion of Marine infantry in some certain circumstance, e.g., fighting pirates, then a MEU should be deployed with very specific mission orders for landing, sea-based fighting, etc.  But writing white papers about fighting pirates is one thing.  Actually fighting them is another.  I have previously mentioned that I interviewed one Marine Scout Sniper who had a pirate in his sights but refused even to ask for permission to fire because of ROE, and because “no one wants to deal with the lawyers.”  Reality is not the same thing as white papers written by Lieutenant Colonels sitting in the Pentagon.  We will finally have to deal with the issue of ROE or deploying MEUs to fight piracy is yet another waste of time and resources.

Next, I’m not convinced that training to utilize amphibious landing equipment (such as the LCAC) requires nine month deployments of entire Battalions of Marine infantry.  There are better uses of Marine infantry than sitting them on board Amphibious Assault Docks awaiting deployment orders for forces in readiness that never come, and hasn’t come in decades.

It’s one thing to be amphibious capable, and entirely another to be amphibious obsessed.  The future of the U.S. Marine Corps is to be a ready strike force, capable of deployment any time, anywhere, via any platform, with skills that cannot be duplicated otherwise.  This might include an amphibious component, but the focus shouldn’t be only on amphibious operations.

So at least in part I disagree with the vision of the Commandant, and I certainly don’t support the use of infantry trained Marines to perform humanitarian missions.  But I also strongly believe in resourcing the campaigns before us.  The Marines have left Anbar, having done an extraordinary job in what I believe to be one of the most remarkable counterinsurgency campaigns in history.  More than 1000 Marines were lost in Anbar.  They will never be forgotten.  For this fight to have been for the Army alone is inconceivable.  It is equally inconceivable that Afghanistan would belong exclusively within the Army’s domain when so many Soldiers are so exhausted, and so many Marines are currently aboard Camps Lejeune and Pendleton planning for their next amphibious operation that in all likelihood will contribute essentially nothing to the security of the United States.  I know that it shouldn’t be this way – and so does the Commandant.

Prior:

Strategic Decisions Concerning Marines and Expeditionary Warfare

Arguments Over the EFV and V-22

Navy and Marines to Part Ways Over Expeditionary Strike Groups?

Kill the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle



  • Warbucks

    Perhaps a very effective way to deal with pirates is to scape 99% of the current approaches and think smaller. What if instead of the vast presence of a powerful military naval escort we stationed a anti-pirating well trained, unarmed, crew aboard each transport and let the commercial shipping industry pay and provide for their private service. They would be licensed by a special international agency, and paid for by the shipping industry entirely. It would probably require a 6 to 12 man contingency, reasonable quarters, food and lodging aboard ship. They do not have weapons they have communication platforms that interface with an international militarized strike force which monitors shipping region-by-region with airborne weapon systems which can be called in and targeted by coded commands from the anti-pirating crews (“the private interface crews” or “PIC’s”).

    The PIC’s have several unarmed devices which they are trained to deploy around the clock away from the ship. These devices include unmanned aerial surveillance devices which can be either shipboard launched or preferably land based launched with command and operations turned over to the PIC’s thus reducing further at-sea logistics needs aboard ship.

    The PIC’s run 24/7 surveillance with the unmanned vehicles and then coordinate with the shipping company’s flag government reps to confirm targets, run intercepts, and in some cases kills, conducted not by the PIC’s but by the coordinated flag governments.

    The entire bill should be carried by the shipping industry.

    This takes little away from the US Marines as they can still be our nations response when coordinated and called in by the PIC’s with confirmed targets.

    Pirating can best be handled by the industry so long as kill and capture decisions are made by the respective governments who’s assets are at risk.

    Just a thought..

  • Warbucks

    Yes I meant “scrap” 99% of the current approach not “scape” 99%…

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Concerning piracy, your idea has been floated before. It isn’t a bad one as ideas go. Simply put Blackwater (Xe) folks aboard each vessel, shoot up the bad guys as they attack ships, and presto, the pirates learn their lesson.

    Trouble is that it won’t work that way. Too many problems, including [a] the fact that while major transporters can afford to hire Xe or Dyncorps, your local humanitarian agency cannot, and many smallerer ships without the financialy wherewithall to do this traffic those waters, and [b] even if Xe boys were aboard every ship, many of the ports have expressed problems with weapons being brought into port by anyone, including defense contractors.

    No, we either change the ROE, send the Marines after them to kill them, or simply let the insurance companies pay off the pirates. The decision is easy – or hard, depending upon who you are and how you see things.

  • Robbo

    I did 22 MEU in ’92-’93, and 11th, 31st, and 15th MEUs in ’97, ’98, and ’99. During each one of those MEUs we were involved in at least one real-world contingency. Based on my experience, you don’t know what the hell you’re talking about.

    Nobody is proposing we re-enact Tarawa or Normandy. We need more practice operating from the sea, the definition of amphibious operations. Remember Afghanistan in 2001? That was an amphibious operation — our forces attacked into a country from the sea.

    Just in the decade of the 90s, how many raids, evacuations, humanitarian interventions, show-of-force operations, etc. did the Navy-Marine team conduct? Dozens? Hundreds? All amphibious operations.

    The money, time, and effort keeping trained Marines on the high-seas for six months has been shown to be well worth it. The problem recently has been a lack of corporate knowledge on how to operate from the sea because the Corps has been doing an army’s job for so long. I’m not going to argue what gear is best (MV-22, EFV, etc) . But we need the people trained to use those tools. You don’t just wake up one morning and suddenly know how to invade a land-locked country from the Arabian Sea; or evacuate 3,000 people from an African coup; or recover aircrew shot down over a European civil war; etc., etc., etc.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    “You don’t know what the hell you’re talking about …”

    Your high strung emotion hurts your argument and causes those of us reading your prose to desire a bit more analysis and a bit less drama. Your comment is disrespectful, but I’ll let that slide this time. You should try to do better next time.

    You quite obviously didn’t read the post – or more correctly, you read into the post what you wanted to see. The question whether the time at sea is well worth it begs the question rather than being demonstrated by your comment. You haven’t given me even a single compelling reason to jettison my position.

    You’ve told me all about your accomplishments, but you haven’t argued international military policy and strategy in a such a manner that we might agree with your assessment. In fact, you’re even wrong about the significance of the choice of equipment as it pertains to repeating Tarawa somewhere in the 21st century. Have you looked at the EFV and its capabilities? Do you understand exactly what it is used for – and the ONLY purpose for which it would be used? You need to do your homework.

    Finally, I didn’t recommend that the USMC jettison entirely amphibious capabilities. I recommended that it retool how it trains in order to free up entire Battalions of Marine infantry while pilots and sailors get their time. This is entirely reasonable and you haven’t demonstrated otherwise, your blustering and chest thumping to the contrary.

    There will never be another large scale, conventional, full bore amphibious assault on a near peer state. Any time or money spent on such a concept is wasted, and the USMC will either adapt or become irrelevant.

  • Warbucks

    Two points. You’re probably right about humanitarian efforts, they will likely need special consideration. But the entire commercial fishing and transportation fleet is in large part controlled by the Insurance Industry that carries the risks. The commercial industry has enjoyed a military partnership for several hundred years. That partnership needs to be revised and rebuilt and the commercial maritime insurance carriers needs to be part of the solution in its rebuilding. We need to de-link military operations from policing operations which nearly all the piracy falls under. Our historic nature is to view piracy as an act of war, which it was reasonably classified as when the militarization of the pirates was on par with nation states powers. That parity no longer exists in most of the lawlessness on the high seas. …. although the Mexican and Columbian drug cartels almost, but not quite rise to those levels of power parity of the nations in which they operate.

    The other important point is that the PIC crews are not armed. They operate various communication platforms beyond and mostly separate from the ships’s communication crews. The PIC’s sole function 24/7 is security awareness not security enforcement.

    Blackwater has to my knowledge always provided both :security awareness and enforcement. PIC crews provide only security awareness. The idea is to extend awareness over the horizon and in all directions to have ample time to call in enforcement. Perhaps enforcement is provided then my another arm of the same agency but the ships themselves remain unarmed.

    This concept is already in play on a much lower level of operations on the high seas and coastal waters of many countries. But shippers are overwhelmed by surprise attack. The new focus needs to be on eliminating the surprise.

  • Robbo

    Herschel, thanks for ignoring the second sentence of my first paragraph above.

    Should I take your position to be: “There will never be another large scale, conventional, full bore amphibious assault on a near peer state. Any time or money spent on such a concept is wasted, and the USMC will either adapt or become irrelevant”? That training for any operation from the sea is a waste of resources?

    For one, how does that jibe with one of the missions of the Marine Corps: “Develop the doctrine, tactics, techniques, and equipment employed by landing forces in amphibious operations”? If you take that away it looks like we’re another land army.

    Your idea of what constitutes an amphibious assault is outdated. Again, in November 2001, less than 3 months after 9/11, we conducted a significant amphibious assault into Afghanistan. In 1995 we conducted an amphibious withdrawal of UN troops from Somalia, under fire. Not a near peer, but we’re not training to only conduct operations against a near peer.

    Your idea of taking the infantry off the MEU doesn’t make sense. That’s like putting skis in an embark box, sending them to Bridgeport, and then saying your unit is now trained in winter mountain warfare. How exactly is an infantry battalion supposed to learn ship-to-shore movement without doing it? And by the way, out 2,200 Marines in a MEU, there are only 3 rifle companies. The battalion itself is only about 800-strong — so you think the other 1,400 should go on training without them? And then when the President decides it’s in our national interest to evacuate citizens from Somalia/Liberia/Angola/Liberia, again/Ethiopia/Albania/Indonesia/the Philippines/Sierra Leone, where are the trigger-pullers?

    You say “Deployment orders for forces in readiness that never come, and hasn’t come in decades” – please, do your homework. “From 1990 – 1999 conducted 66 amphibious operations including 1 amphibious assault, 2 amphibious raids, 1 amphibious withdrawal, 3 amphibious demonstrations, 11 strike operations, and 48 other operations ranging from HA/DR, maritime interdiction, or embassy evacuation. From 2000 – 2009 the Marine Corps conducted 38 amphibious operations including 3 amphibious assaults, 8 strike operations, and 27 other operations ranging from HA/DR, maritime interdiction, or embassy evacuation.” See http://blog.usni.org/?p=3050

    I agree that we probably won’t again see two or three infantry divisions on line landing against a foreign shore under fire, a la Iwo Jima. Then again, there are other tactics that we’ve used in the past that we don’t use anymore. Civil War riflemen used to get on line and volley fire — we don’t do that anymore, but we still use rifles.

    So you think we don’t need an EFV? Do we need any amphibious assault vehicles? Do we need armored personnel carriers? Or infantry fighting vehicles? Surely you can imagine a situation where APCs or IFVs can come in handy. I think the answer has to be “yes” to at least one of those. How exactly are they supposed to get ashore? Don’t you think they should be amphibious too, for an amphibious force like the Marine Corps? What exactly do you see as the “ONLY” purpose of the EFV? Because considering how many they want to station at 29 Palms, I hope you don’t mean their only purpose is to taxi Marines ashore and disappear.

    As far as international policy and military strategy, I think the Commandant is definitely right. Our current policy and strategy involves — requires — forward, sea-based presence with the capability of force protection ashore, to wit: carrier-based strike aircraft, sea-based cruise missiles, and combat-trained amphibious forces.

    You say, “The Commandant wants to return to their expeditionary and amphibious roots, but against what enemy? If the enemy is a stable nation-state with the power and industry to deploy mines, and employ air ordnance and air power against the landing team, sending EFVs and LCACs would be disastrous.” Well, duh, he knows it would be disastrous, which is why none of our tactics involve sending LCACs in against a defended shoreline. But then again, they proved invaluable in our assault into Afghanistan. Do your homework. “Against what enemy?” Who was our enemy in the dozens of amphibious operations we’ve done since 1990? That might start to answer your question. You know, they might have rifles and machineguns, and maybe an armored vehicle isn’t a bad thing to have.

    It seems to me that your position is we will never do Normandy again, therefore we should not “return to our expeditionary and amphibious roots”, and therefore all we need the Corps to do is be another Army and fill in when there aren’t enough soldiers.

    I cannot disagree more.

    That’s what we did in Iraq for the past 4 years, and that’s why the Commandant wanted to withdraw Marines from Iraq in order to fight as an expeditionary force in Afghanistan. There they are fighting as a MEB, per USMC doctrine, rather than as another RCT/BCT per Army doctrine, as they did in Iraq.

    You also seem unaware of what a MEU does while at sea. Besides responding to the inevitable contingency, like, say, supporting Australian-led combat operations in East Timor, and yes, drinking lots of Sing-Ha/VB/Peroni/Amstel, there are also the multiple bi-lateral training exercises with local forces, and unilateral training ashore in foreign countries. It’s not like we spend the ENTIRE 6 months PTing and cleaning weapons. “An immoral expenditure of U.S. tax dollars” is a disgusting, gross hyperbole, period.

    And if you don’t like humanitarian operations, you think we should just let the Chinese Navy do it? We made a lot of points in Asia after the Boxing Day Tsunami. Recently, as luck would have it, we had a ship (frigate, not a gator) en route to American Samoa when a tsunami hit there and Samoa, another sovereign nation. I met a Bangladeshi who is still thankful to Marines for Operation Sea Angel in 1991. Helping out in those situations IS part of our national strategy because it shows that we have a world-wide presence. With the Chinese on a massive ship-building spree, do you want Asia to look to them for help first?

    In summary, I agree with the Commandant that we need to again practice amphibious operations. I agree that a viable presence at sea is crucial to our national strategy. And I agree that we need the tools to do it. If the EFV program goes away, then we’ll need to start a new AAV program. The MV-22 is already in combat. If you’d like to start a new helicopter program from scratch, well … there are a lot of things I bet you’d like, but are unrealistic. The last CH-46 was built in 1973. It is not viable in Afghanistan, so in an unusual move, the MEB is flying only heavy-lift helicopters there, the CH-53D. So as far as hardware, maybe we don’t have the best gear right now, but that doesn’t mean the shooting is going to stop, or that we shouldn’t continue developing “the doctrine, tactics, techniques, and equipment employed by landing forces in amphibious operations.”

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Your loud mouth chest thumping is getting old, but I answer one more time.

    We can disagree, but my position is a presupposition. An axiom. So is yours. There is no proof that we should or shouldn’t be involved in such a thing as humanitarian missions, it’s only a position we take. You should be a little less strident on this issue, recognizing that it’s your position, and just that: a position on an issue.

    I still do not support the idea of sending infantry-trained Marines on humanitarian missions. We don’t have the national resources to support being the world’s benevolent Santa Clause with fighting men.

    As for your amphibious operations listed, none of them involved major combat operations from sea to shore, and thus my point is proven concerning the EFV.

    The V-22 is not in combat. The V-22 is in operation (it was in Anbar for several months). Get your facts straight. The V-22 cannot be “in combat,” for it isn’t a weapons platform – per se. It is for transport.

    As for training ashore in foreign countries, we can train in the states. Again, you are citing instances and examples of what a MEU does. You are justifying the existence of entire Battalions of infantry trained Marines on board amphibious landing docks for nine months by referring to your experience. Telling me what ‘is’ doesn’t meet the criteria of telling me what ‘should be’. You’re not doing critical thinking – challenging your own presuppositions and seeing where you end up with the thought experiment.

    Maybe you would end up at the same place you began, but that would be beneficial, would it not? You are simply refusing to engage in challenging your own positions. You are falling into the trap of saying just because we did it in the past, we should do it in the future. You aren’t assessing potential enemies and attempting to counter the threat with strategic plans – such as would be done in the QDR.

    I believe in sea-based defense (not in the littoral combat ship, BTW, since it is anything but a COMBAT ship), and I have recommended an alternative to the EFV (air-based forcible entry built upon a Navy which should be operating closer than the horizon), and training to perform amphibious operations (without deploying Marine infantry aboard for nine months).

    You can dislike my suggestions all you want, but you are still merely barking about what has been done in the past, not what should be done in the future.

    Oh, and while we have this pedantic arugment, Soldiers in Afghanistan are exhausted and demoralized (after five and six combat tours through Iraq and ‘Stan) and need the additional help of Marines. I’ll take my chances with my own model, thank you. You send your boys around the world to frequent the bars in all of the port cities.

  • Robbo

    “As for your amphibious operations listed, none of them involved major combat operations from sea to shore, and thus my point is proven concerning the EFV.” You’re the one stuck in the past – Normandy won’t happen again. Why do you hold that up as the justification for the EFV? The Marines need some sort of APC/IFV, at least some of the time; how do they get ashore?

    “The V-22 cannot be “in combat,” for it isn’t a weapons platform – per se. It is for transport.” Then CH-46s have never been in combat either. Tell that to the Purple Foxes, past and present.

    “We can train in the states”, yeah, except when you’re providing a forward presence around the world. My point is that there is training involved, too — when there isn’t shooting. It’s not all bar girls and SCUBA diving.

    What “is”, is the Navy/Marine team has done over 100 amphibious operations since 1990, including at least 6 amphibious assaults or raids.
    “You are still merely barking about what has been done in the past, not what should be done in the future.” So let’s assume that real-world amphib ops are going to completely go away over the next ten years? Your idea of deploying without Marine infantry aboard is simply ludicrous. I can’t say it any nicer. How many of the 100+ ops could have been done without infantry?

    There are only 27 active infantry battalions, and you know that they can’t all deploy at the same time. They, too, are all tired and exhausted from multiple deployments. Using them to fill in for the Army is a poor use of resources. Again, how does a battalion become proficient at amphibious operations without training to do it?

    I justify the existence of entire battalions of infantry Marines aboard ships because that is what they are: they are Marines, not soldiers. Marines go to sea. Marines say, “aye, aye,” “head,” and “deck.” Marine pilots are naval aviators. We are a sea service. Get over it.

    “You send your boys around the world to frequent the bars in all of the port cities.” That is an insult to Marines past and present who have sailed in harm’s way, who have risked life and limb on a foreign shore, who have died while training to do just that.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    This will be the final word on this particular exchange. You aren’t adding anything to the conversation, you’re just repeating yourself.

    Your reading comprehension isn’t what it needs to be. Listen carefully. I didn’t recommend deploying without Marine infantry aboard. Again. I didn’t recommend deploying without Marine infantry aboard. I recommended not deploying at all – or at least, less frequently than the Commandant wants.

    GOT IT this time? Training is fine, but that doesn’t require a nine month tour of the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. If we must do MEUs, then perform fewer of them than the Commandant wishes while we have an ongoing campaign in Afghanistan. Do them when necessary to address a strategic need – not just to train. MEUs are a poor excuse for training.

    As for having a vision other than the Commandant’s, I have given that. Sea/air based forcible entry farther inland relying more on air power, securing the coast, and then landing LCACs and docking Naval vessels to deliver personnel vehicles, arty and other necessities. EFVs are expensive and unnecessary. The Marines and Army should be participating in the joint tactical light vehicle together.

    http://fas.org/sgp/crs/weapons/RS22942.pdf
    http://www.aviationweek.com/aw/generic/story_channel.jsp?channel=defense&id=news/LIGHT042909.xml

    Even if it’s too heavy for heli-transport, the Navy and/or LCACs can deliver it to shore. Having a designer-made piece of equipment for each and every contingency is expensive and infeasible. The Navy needs to man-up and agree to operate closer than 25 miles to shore.

    Using them (Marines) to fill in for Army when the Army is tired and exhausted is a GREAT use of resources – so says I. So says I. You have had your say and have weighed in otherwise, and more argument on this issue is unnecessary.

    You haven’t changed my mind one iota on this subject.

  • Warbucks

    I noticed in this morning’s paper no less (Sat, Oct 24, 2009) aerial surveillance of hot-spot regions off the African continent are being covered 24/7 with MQ-9 Reapers to give the early warning needed to ship captains of possible Pirate threats.

    It does not seem likely that one solution can be applied to all areas of the world where pirating is occurring. It does seem likely however, eventually some of this over-the-horizon 24/7 functions need to be addressed by the insurance industry in partnership with trade partners.

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