Marine Corps: Capabilities Needed For New ‘Operational Unpredictability’ Deployment Strategy

The Marine Corps is looking for new long-range precision fire and information warfare capabilities needed for its move to a new force deployment approach focused on fostering “operational unpredictability.”

Officials at a Monday event described acquisition priorities for the Marine Corps’ “Dynamic Force Employment” strategy to move away from being as forward-deployed and preserve capabilities to meet surge requirements and increased strategic competition from near-peer adversaries.

Lt Gen Robert Walsh Chief of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

Lt Gen Robert Walsh Chief of Marine Corps Combat Development Command and Deputy Commandant, Combat Development and Integration. (Photo: U.S. Marine Corps)

“We see the intellectual capital that we have with our Marines, and by tying that together with technology is where our real advantage is,”  Lt. Gen. Robert Walsh, commanding general of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command, said during a panel event at Center for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS). “And that advantage is that it will allow them to operate sometimes in a more autonomous, independent manner than they’ve ever operated before.”

The Pentagon’s latest National Defense Strategy called for the Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) to embrace “Dynamic Force Employment” as a way to protect capabilities as strategic competitors look to develop similar tools and deploy teams as needed for operation unpredictability.

Walsh said a seven percent increase in Marine Corps funding for FY ‘19 and a 32 percent boost in modernization accounts will go toward information warfare capabilities and long-range precision fire tools to meet dynamic force goals.

“When it comes to funding, that’s been our priority. That’s where we see our advantage of operating in all domains. As we look at information warfare, we see lots of advantages in that area,” Walsh said.

IW funding boosts will go toward signals intelligence, electronic warfare capabilities, and improving MAGTF teams ability to operate in degraded environments, according to Walsh.

Walsh is also looking to increase the range of all MAGTF weapons systems.

“When it comes down to our cannon artillery, our HIMARS rocket systems, we’re looking at everything from a near-term, mid-term and long-term perspective,” Walsh said. “We want to go out and procure something that’s available right now that we can integrate into our command & control system. We don’t have the shooters that we need from an air defense standpoint or anti-ship long range capability, so those are things we’re going to focus on.”

Lt. Gen. Brian Beaudreault, deputy commandant of Marine Corps Plans, Policies and Operations, said logistics modernization will be critical to meeting “Dynamic Force Employment” requirements.

Sikorsky’s [LMT] CH-53K heavy-lift helicopter, which is set for a 2018 delivery, will assist the Marines’ more  rapid, dispersion forces under the new strategy in meeting delivery and relocation needs.

“That’s one piece that will help us get through the logistical challenges of resupplying and sustaining, quickly setting up and breaking down and relocating these forces that we will have at these various advanced bases,” Beaudreault said. “That operational unpredictability is how we’re building this, and we need a logistics system that can support the concept.”

Walsh said the Marine Corps’ new acquisition priorities will focus on best pairing technologies to meet the surge requirements for testing a new deployment strategy.

“We see the intellectual capital that we have with our Marines, and by tying that together with technology is where our real advantage is,” Walsh said. “And that advantage is that it will allow them to operate sometimes in a more autonomous, independent manner than they’ve ever operated before.”





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