Author Topic: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)  (Read 980 times)

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Offline MarkOttawa

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Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« on: August 01, 2019, 14:21:29 »
New commandant wants a sweeping re-do of concept of amphibious operations:

Quote
Sacred Cows Die As Marine Commandant Changes Course On Amphibs
“It would be illogical to continue to concentrate our forces on a few large ships," the new USMC Commandant writes in his new guidance, setting decades of planning on its head. So what's next?

The new Marine Corps Commandant has issued a startlingly blunt new set of orders to his commanders, calling for a complete overhaul of the core amphibious mission of the Marines and how they operate once they hit shore. In the span of one 26-page document posted online last week, Gen. David H. Berger made clear he’s setting a new course for the Corps, scrapping old capabilities without a trace of sentimentality.

Berger, who took command earlier this month, wasted no time in issuing his sweeping critique of the Marine amphibious strategy, calling the current approach of moving Marines ashore aboard slow, small amphibious vehicles and helicopters an “impractical and unreasonable” plan that has been wedged within a force that “is not organized, trained, or equipped to support the naval force” in high-end combat.

In other words, Berger is calling into question the Navy’s years-old requirement for 38 amphibious ships to carry Marines to the fight.

“The ability to project and maneuver from strategic distances will likely be detected and contested from the point of embarkation during a major contingency,” his new document states, while declaring the Corps must be able to quickly move and scatter forces ashore to avoid the proliferation of precision strike capabilities [emphasis added].

And then comes the key line.

“It would be illogical to continue to concentrate our forces on a few large ships. The adversary will quickly recognize that striking while concentrated (aboard ship) is the preferred option. We need to change this calculus with a new fleet design of smaller, more lethal, and more risk-worthy platforms.”

The decades-old idea that Marines could punch their way ashore from amphibious ships parked dozens of miles offshore has been hijacked by reality. In many parts of the world — particularly the Pacific, where China has covered islands with anti-ship missiles and airfields — the old way of thinking has long since died
[emphasis added]. Even groups like the Iranian-backed Houthis in Yemen have some stand-off capabilities that could inflict some pain.

“We must change,” Berger wrote, “we must divest of legacy capabilities that do not meet our future requirements, regardless of their past operational efficacy.”

Earlier this year, the Navy cut two amphibious ships from its 2020-2024 shipbuilding and budget plan, indicating that Berger’s critique might not have come as a complete shock. Earlier this year — before he was commandant — Berger outlined some of his ideas at an amphibious shipbuilding industry forum, saying “we’re going to need long-range fires that can operate from a ship or from the shore to take out sea-based or shore-based platforms” in order to give amphibs some room to maneuver. But his new document goes much further [emphasis added].

In a Twitter thread praising Berger’s guidance, Chris Brose, former staff director of the Senate Armed Services Committee, called it “one of the best defense documents I have read in a long time. The blood of sacred cows is all over this thing.”

On Thursday, Naval analyst Bryan McGrath called the document “the single most consequential piece of writing about American seapower since the combined effort of the 1980 maritime strategy. It is that big, and that important.” Appearing on a War on the Rocks podcast, he added that part of its impact is that the paper, by dint of being signed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps, is now gospel. “There are 180,000 Marines who will cite this thing chapter and verse as long as he is Commandant…and it makes a wonderful case for the new CNO and secretary of the Navy to get on board.”

Berger’s arguments look like they’ll find favor with the presumptive Deputy Defense Secretary, David Norquist, who said during his nomination hearing this week that the US needs to find ways to get inside the “blunt layer” of Chinese anti-access weapons in the Pacific, and he’ll be looking at “investments that allow you to survive in that environment. Things that let you detect and defend, and hide yourself.”..


Marines maneuver amphibious assault vehicles near the amphibious dock landing ship USS Germantown.
https://breakingdefense.com/2019/07/sacred-cows-die-as-marine-commandant-changes-course-on-amphibs/

Mark
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Offline Underway

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2019, 19:01:39 »
It seems like he broke the golden rule of military writing.  It's great to dismantle ideas but if you come with nothing to replace them then you're just a complainer.  What exactly are these technologies that can scatter marines all over the place.  How else can you get marines ashore without using boats and helo's?  You killed a bunch of cows sure, but where's the beef?

Offline Cloud Cover

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2019, 19:09:02 »
Jet ski and Jet Pack :)

Your point is valid, but so is his. Large amphibs are large targets, and the alternative is ....
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Offline Blackadder1916

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2019, 20:14:22 »
It seems like he broke the golden rule of military writing.  It's great to dismantle ideas but if you come with nothing to replace them then you're just a complainer.  What exactly are these technologies that can scatter marines all over the place.  How else can you get marines ashore without using boats and helo's?  You killed a bunch of cows sure, but where's the beef?

Have you read the planning guidance?

https://www.hqmc.marines.mil/Portals/142/Docs/%2038th%20Commandant's%20Planning%20Guidance_2019.pdf?ver=2019-07-16-200152-700

Here's a small sample; a few paragraphs in which he talks about a different mix of ships, and then the summary.  The full document is an interesting read.
Quote
. . . . .

Future Amphibious Capability and Force
Development
Our Nation’s ability to project power and influence
beyond its shores is increasingly challenged by long range
precision fires; expanding air, surface, and subsurface
threats; and the continued degradation of our
amphibious and auxiliary ship readiness. The ability
to project and maneuver from strategic distances
will likely be detected and contested from the point
of embarkation during a major contingency. Our
naval expeditionary forces must possess a variety of
deployment options, including L-class and E-class ships,
but also increasingly look to other available options
such as unmanned platforms, stern landing vessels,

other ocean-going connectors, and smaller more lethal
and more risk-worthy platforms. We must continue to
seek the affordable and plentiful at the expense of
the exquisite and few when conceiving of the future
amphibious portion of the fleet.


We must also explore new options, such as inter-theater
connectors and commercially available ships and craft
that are smaller and less expensive, thereby increasing
the affordability and allowing acquisition at a greater
quantity. We recognize that we must distribute our
forces ashore given the growth of adversary precision
strike capabilities, so it would be illogical to continue
to concentrate our forces on a few large ships. The
adversary will quickly recognize that striking while
concentrated (aboard ship) is the preferred option.
We need to change this calculus with a new fleet
design of smaller, more lethal, and more risk-worthy
platforms. We must be fully integrated with the Navy
to develop a vision and a new fleet architecture that
can be successful against our peer adversaries while
also maintaining affordability. To achieve this difficult
task, the Navy and Marine Corps must ensure larger
surface combatants possess mission agility across sea
control, littoral, and amphibious operations, while we
concurrently expand the quantity of more specialized
manned and unmanned platforms.

As the preeminent littoral warfare and expeditionary
warfare service, we must engage in a more robust
discussion regarding naval expeditionary forces and
capabilities not currently resident within the Marine
Corps such as coastal / riverine forces, naval construction
forces, and mine countermeasure forces. We must ask
ourselves whether it is prudent to absorb some of those
functions, forces, and capabilities to create a single naval
expeditionary force whereby the Commandant could
better ensure their readiness and resourcing.

. . . .

SUMMARY
This CPG establishes my priorities for aligning the Service
with the NDS and DPG; enhancing our warfighting capability
through naval integration; achieving the proper balance of
resources in our readiness, modernization, and infrastructure
sustainment efforts and accounts; and improving the quality
of leadership we provide our Marines and Sailors.

While not all encompassing, this CPG is thorough to provide
clear guidance on the way forward. I expect all Marines,
and particularly senior officers and Staff Non-Commissioned
Officers, to read and begin implementing this guidance
immediately. Within the next 30 days, the Director of the
Marine Corps Staff, will publish a detailed implementation
plan to accompany this guidance. That plan will identify
specified and implied tasks derived from the CPG, the
command or office of primary responsibility, and timelines.
Your continued feedback and ideas on this document and
the full range of issues affecting our Corps are critical.

We are entering a period of force transformation, one
through which I am honored to lead our Corps. This
CPG identifies those characteristics and capabilities within
the force that must change to produce the force we must
become to meet the challenges of the NDS and uncertainty
of the future operating environment. We will not employ
these in isolation, and thus we must better integrate with
the Navy and work more effectively with other elements
of the Joint Force. While this transformation will require
more than simply the next four years, as maneuverists we
are prepared to make bold decisions more rapidly than
others to effect those outcomes, to generate tempo, and
create friction within the decision cycles of our competitors
and adversaries.

While the next four years will be a period of substantive
change – let me be clear – we are not experiencing an
identity crisis nor are we at risk of irrelevance. We are a
naval expeditionary force capable of deterring malign
behavior and, when necessary, fighting inside our
adversary’s weapons-engagement-zone to facilitate
sea denial in support of fleet operation and joint force
horizontal escalation. Nothing could be more relevant to
the NDS and the certainty of an uncertain future than this.
We are not a second land army, nor do we aspire to be
anything other than the world’s premier naval expeditionary
force. While these are intended as statements of fact and
conclusions vice empty assertions, our actions haven’t
always supported our statements. This will change. As we
implement the guidance in this document, we must divest
of the past to modernize for the future – and we will.

In the summer of 2023, when we anticipate a routine
transition to a new Commandant, we will have accomplished
the following, at a minimum:

• Designed the Marine Corps of the next 25
years as prescribed in the NDS, NMS, DPG,
and as further visualized in our family of naval
concepts. This design effort includes making
the necessary divestments from the current
force and current program to accelerate the
funding and modernization of the future force.

• Re-established our identity as a naval
expeditionary force, and enhanced our
relationship with the Fleets as an extension
of naval power as the FMF.

• Re-established our primacy within the
Department as the most innovative and
revolutionary thinkers, the most welldisciplined
and accountable force, and the
most transparent and responsive force to our
collective civilian leadership across the Joint
Force and Department.

It is an exciting time to be a Marine. Strategic guidance casts
the Marine Corps in a central role in our Nation’s defense,
and this planning guidance is designed to ensure our Corps
is prepared for this responsibility. The initiatives outlined
in this document identify my priorities for improving the
quality of the leadership we provide the Marines and Sailors,
enhancing our warfighting capability and naval integration,
and achieving the proper allocation of resources across
readiness, modernization, and personnel accounts.

Ensuring a shared understanding of this guidance is a
shared responsibility, and I expect unit commanders and
senior leaders to ensure a broad understanding of this
guidance across the force. As important, I expect Marines
to be prepared to provide their leaders – me included –
with critical feedback, ideas, and perspective on this CPG.
Bringing about the changes outlined in this document
will be an all-hands effort. We cannot afford to continue
to admire problems or fail to take the necessary decisive
actions; our strategic guidance is clear, and so is mine.
The time for action is now.
Whisky for the gentlemen that like it. And for the gentlemen that don't like it - Whisky.

Offline MarkOttawa

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2019, 11:43:54 »
Much more, major piece:

Quote
Marine Boss's Audacious Plan To Transform The Corps By Giving Up Big Amphibious Ships
The bold vision of a USMC that is far less dependent on the lumbering "Gator Navy" comes with a sacrificial offering of the force's most sacred cow.
https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/29608/marine-bosss-audacious-plan-to-transform-the-corps-by-giving-up-big-amphibious-ships

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Offline Colin P

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2019, 13:12:58 »
The big amphips though also gives the US a lot of soft power options and not just the hard amphibious operations.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2019, 13:23:20 »
Quote
We must continue to
seek the affordable and plentiful at the expense of
the exquisite and few

I love that line.   :cheers: :salute:
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2019, 13:51:29 »
I wonder if this means more support for ships like these?







Dispersing combat teams around the fleet?  Lots of little lily pads?
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Revolution in Marine Affairs (RMA)
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2019, 17:21:02 »
The 'Swarm' concept, applied to amphibious ops.

Maybe we can learn something from our enemies after all ...

The U.S. Navy Has a Plan to Destroy Any Swarm Boat Attacks by Iran

https://nationalinterest.org/blog/buzz/us-navy-has-plan-destroy-any-swarm-boat-attacks-iran-78126
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