Marine Corps’ new force design approach is yielding operational results

Marine Corps’ new force design approach is yielding operational results


WASHINGTON — Changes to the Marine Corps’ structure, equipment and approach to deployment are giving the Corps new ways to respond to crises around the world.

As the Marine Corps continues to design its forces, including personnel, equipment and operational changes to combat competitors such as China, some of these changes already in place in operational units are proving combat capability. , two senior admirals said at the Modern Marine Expo on Thursday.

Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckle, deputy commander for Combat Development and Integration, cited recent exercises and the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine as examples.

During Exercise Nordic Response in February, the Marines worked with NATO allies to operate ground and air mission-oriented radars on behalf of Norway to track airborne threats near the Russian border, Heckle said.

G/ATOR is an important addition to the Marine Corps inventory as the Corps shifts its focus to how it can provide unique capabilities to other services in joint operations.

What are Marines learning from Houthi tactics in the Red Sea?

However, such moves also occurred in 2022, when Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Speaking to reporters after Thursday’s panel appearance, Heckle did not discuss details of the operation, but said Task Force 61/2, part of the Marine Corps’ Ultimate Expeditionary Brigade at the time, responded almost immediately. Stated. We forced a design that wouldn’t have existed otherwise and did quite a bit with it. G/ATOR is one of them, but I’ll leave it at that. ”

The Marine Corps’ new focus on threat sensing and data communication is part of an evolution in force design, Heckle said.

“As we progressed through this force design journey, we initially thought about blowing things up in a very kinetic way, but now through the force stands we can actually sense and make sense of it. “I realized that it was my ability to do things,” Heckle said.

Lt. Gen. James Biermann, deputy commander for plans, policy and operations, expanded on what the service has seen in implementing force design changes within the unit.

Biermann cited Houthi rebel attacks on maritime vessels in the Red Sea as evidence of how adversaries can create chokepoints, adding that countering such attacks would require “marine forces. It will be a job for many people.”

In 2023, when Bierman commanded the III Marine Expeditionary Force, the unit conducted Exercise Azure Dragon. The focus was on the unit’s ability to act as a stand-in force in the 1st and 2nd Island Chains.

The unit is headquartered in Okinawa, Japan, within the first island chain surrounding China. At the same time, the Marine Corps purpose-built the 3rd Marine Coastal Regiment in Hawaii and recently established the 12th Marine Coastal Regiment, also in Okinawa, centered on force design concepts of sensing and striking within range of enemy forces. It is set at

“Very pertinently, there has been a lot of focus on MLR, so what we were trying to do with Azure Dragon was the ability to stand in as an MEF, as a (maritime air ground task force). ,” Biermann said.

But having a force of 25,000 Marines operating as a combat force will allow regiments and other units to better exploit enemy weaknesses, Biermann said.



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