USMC Doctrine Changes

Stephen Bowdren, the program executive officer for land systems, said the fact that the Medium-Range Intercept Capability combines three known systems has helped it progress rapidly. The Israeli military has tested the Tamir missile thousands of times, he noted, “so why should I test that in a typical fashion over a year or two, when I’ve got all this test data available in Israel?”

The Marine Corps had to negotiate an agreement to use Israeli data, and work through a weapons evaluation board to accept the foreign data instead of conducting independent testing at home.

“These are the kinds of permissions we’re seeking, these are the kinds of steps we’re taking so that … we can move out quickly,” Bowdren said.
IAI unmanned

Israeli firm IAI showcases an unmanned infantry combat support vehicle at Modern Day Marine 2023. (Ashley Roque / Breaking Defense)

Polaris showed off its next-gen MRZR Alpha light vehicle at Modern Day Marine 2023. (Ashley Roque / Breaking Defense)

GM Defense displays its Infantry Squad Vehicle 4 with Black Sage’s Sawtooth Counter-Unmanned Aircraft System (C-UAS) at Modern Day Marine 2023. (Ashley Roque / Justin Katz)

A member of Rheinmetall Defence’s robotics family sits on display at Modern Day Marine 2023. (Lee Ferran / Breaking Defense)

“I think the Navy, Secretary [Carlos] Del Toro and Commandant [David] Berger and Chief of Naval Operations [Adm. Michael] Gilday have all said exactly the same thing. We need 31 ready amphibs,” he said. “So when the budget comes over, and there’s no path to 31, and you ask the question, ‘Why? You’ve just told us you need them.’ The answer is because the OMB and the White House and the [Secretary of Defense’s] office decided that that didn’t make the cut.”

The reorganization is a move away from using the Corps as an assault infantry tool and instead, as a force focused on small teams acting as sensors and reconnaissance for a long-range strike, said Mark Cancian, senior adviser with the Center for Strategic and International Studies and retired Marine colonel.

Cancian, who authored a 2021 report titled “U.S. Military Forces in FY2022: Marine Corps,” that then noted perceived gaps in the redesign initiatives, also said he has questions about how the 811-Marine infantry battalion will be employed.

Comparing the newly-sized battalions with those of only a few years ago, would require analyzing whether Marine units will continue to conduct the “full spectrum of missions that Marine infantry has conducted in the past ― amphibious assault, urban warfare, counterinsurgency and extended operations ashore-or will it just focus on the preferred Western Pacific scenario?”

“Smaller units are often described as ‘leaner but meaner,’ but they are really just smaller,” Cancian said. “There is no evidence here of ‘meaner.’”
I don't see what this brings to the table for joint US forces. They discuss rearming and refueling US assets, but how is that remotely practical? It doesn't seem like this force could even sustain itself for more than a period days, let alone carry out any outside logistical role. What they are proposing seems like more of a naval fire base than a FARP - enough assets to shoot at a ship and a small enough footprint to quickly relocate. In actual practice, it seems these units would be impossible to supply or move without local air superiority. And if you have local air superiority, what goal are they serving? How many missiles could a shore based battery possibly have landed with and how many could they fire in one salvo? And even then, if we're talking NSM, which seems to be the case, they can reach out to 100-150 miles at sub sonic speed. How about I just use your budget to buy some FACs or better yet fill more existing Mk41s?
I don't think it's supposed to.

In Afghanistan, the Marines would only take hills or whatever for long enough for a convoy to move through the valley, then move on to the next point.

"For the week of July 24, refueling will be on Island X. Week of July 31, refueling will be on Island Y," etc

The one thing that make senses to me is giving the existing HIMAR system a version of the PrSM that can engage a ship. It has more than double the range of the NSM out of the gate (later versions might reach further) and you can fire it from your existing artillery inventory. If you really want to set up a forward fire base, do it from LCACs with existing equipment and save the budget for other things.
There's a very limited number of LCACs that the amphibs can carry, usually only 2 or so per entire MEU. But if you have a really seaworthy LCU in those Stern Landing Ships, you can pre-pack them with an assigned load and have them accompany your MEU, which allows your LCACs to do something else. Or just to carry other stuff to the base, like runway planking materials and fuel.
Though it can still be asked whether this idea is all that valuable as the conflict being looked at isn't a island hopping campaign to cross the pacific but invasion of a large close island far closer than suggested missile basing areas. Long range missile sites would be side show compared to counterattacking the CCP off the beaches or close range head on anti-ship combat.
The conflict isn't only an invasion of Taiwan, there's also the SCS and arguably the Philippines. All of which would be greatly enhanced by a number of temporary long range missile bases.
Some good ideas, but I think the Line Marines should also retain at least some expeditionary capability, including the heavy assets needed for that such as tanks.
They probably should, but Abrams is not how to do it.

Abrams has just gotten too heavy.

LCACs can only carry 60 tons officially, but are rated to haul up to 75 tons in an overload configuration. And that's short tons of 2000lbs each, not metric 1000kg. M1A1s were 63 short tons, already heavier than what an LCAC could carry. M1A2sep3s that the Army is using are 73.6 short tons, right at the outer edge of what an LCAC can haul at all, and not what an LCAC can haul in rough weather. And the A2sep4 is looking to be heavier yet. This meant that the Marines kept using the M1A1, which meant increased costs due to system differences between the A1 and A2sep.

Maybe the Marines will jump on buying some of the M10 Booker MPFs?
If the USAF fails to reliably penetrate the Chinese region with air power, I do not think much "counter-value" strike on infrastructure would happen as it is both an escalation and without value tactically when PLAAF and PLAN remains active and both makes demand on stand-off munition stocks. One could see months of indecisive air campaign if the opening blow fails to win the war as rate of combat gets limited by rate of long range munition production. USAF may not want commit to high attrition "decisive" air campaign as it can wait until the Chinese makes a move that makes such a commitment relatively decisive, like the Chinese massing land forces onto vulnerable ships or Taiwan being close to giving up.

The bulk of the USN would probably stay well out of A2AD range until PLAN commits amphib or some other attack, as attriting against land forces is without merit, though it could be committed to defeat PLAN/PLA landing forces.

The Chinese can either launch a rapid land invasion of Taiwan at the start of the war, in one of the most difficult operation in the history of warfare, or just blockade it, which takes comparative trivial effort, and hope to force a surrender or at least greatly degrade defenses. As operational level surprise is difficult in the modern era, a siege is likely. China can still maintain a blockade if their landing attempt fails, so such a event won't necessarily end the war.

This war scenario can last a while, until either Taiwan or China takes enough damage to give up. CONUS is untouched.
I expect the USAF to run B2 and B21s overhead for cleanup, plus B52s and B1s on cruise missile duty, to absolutely destroy all PLAN ports and shipbuilding facilities once the shooting starts. Plus an SSGN strike or three for extra fun.

US subs will sink anything with a PRC flag on it coming or going.

No ports, no raw materials, no foreign currency, no CCP for very long.
Ye have made some good points there, but even so the USMC should have IMHO gone with simply adding a requirement for an integral suppressor in the new 6.8mm weapon rather than procure suppressors for the existing weapons that will likely end up mostly surplus at best in the near future. There are other needs that really should be higher on the priority list than new suppressors, such as for example a new full face biochem filter mask & long endurance high dexterity protective gloves for operations in urban areas.
If you think the 6.8mm rifles are going to stick around for anything other than DMR work, you need to share whatever you're smoking with the rest of us. Too much recoil, nobody wearing the heavy body armor, and we're not fighting in Afghanistan anymore with the stupid long ranges.

Yes, the M250 will replace the SAWs and M240s, though I'm still wondering about an MG338 instead of the 6.8mm for the M240 replacement.
The Army should consider paying the armored bn to stay active as a permanent OPFOR unit at NTC Ft Irwin just to keep the capability until wiser leadership prevails. The competetive spirit would be great for both USA and USMC at NTC. Send the Gyrenes to Army AIT.
Oh, the Marine armor crews already went to Army armor school. Anywhere that the services have the same core training needs, they share the schools. Medical? all go to the same school. Aviation Admin? Marines and Navy both went to the same school, USAF is too different to share that one. Cooks? all the same school. etc.
Invading Japan was always a bad idea but a strategic occupation of an airfield would have been a better means to drop a nuclear weapon or for that matter increased daily bombing of Tokyo . That course was not chosen. All those Phillipines related invasions absolutely did not need to occur. Many other island invasions also did not need to occur.

Stalin was an ally at the time was he ever asked to afford a single airfield? The US could have told Stalin were taking an island dont touch that island.
You are greatly underestimating the available aircraft and how much more bombload closer airfields made possible.

The entire Philippine campaign had 3 reasons: 1 was to deny the fighter airfields to the Japanese to intercept incoming bombers. 2 was to provide damaged bombers a place to land safely. 3 was to satisfy MacArthur's promise to the PI about coming back.

That's a big commitment, but the total commitment would require much more since the offensive would be coming from China directly.

If the US plans to go all in to help Taiwan (with its proximity to China), they might as well plan to invade China and remove the Communist Party from power. Couldn't imagine the regional conflicts around the world that would break out to take advantage of the US being wrapped up in such a large conflict.
Might not have to invade the mainland, the economic damage that the US would inflict as a result of a war would likely be enough to remove the CCP from power. All the shipyards destroyed, all incoming raw materials stopped, all outgoing finished goods stopped.
I'm unaware of the acoustic link upgrade - this is something in production TDDs? As far as placement is concerned, my concern would be the bomber being directly engaged by long range AAWs (or even SAMs, at the higher altitudes needed to extend range). Tracking the individual munitions to the water isn't going to be possible unless an AWAC is available, and even then I suspect tracking a group of bombers releasing all of their weapons at once would make this exceedingly difficult for all target tracks.
Are there regularly scheduled air flights going over that area at 36kft? Say, Vietnam to Tokyo or something? Boeing 747 flies along at 36kft, 10 miles behind it is a B1 loaded with 75,000lbs of Quickstrike-ERs. Both are squawking planned flight codes and appear to be large commercial aircraft on radar.

Legal? probably not. get the job done? sure.
Honestly, if you want to mine the harbors close to the mainland Bones and BUFF's aren't the platforms to use unless you add propulsion to the glide kit. Go with B-2's, B-21's or better yet submarines, the latter being the best option.

Problem is, that USN submarines are big & not exactly well-suited for minelaying in defended harbors.
Mk67 Submarine Launched Mobile Mine. Basically a Mk37 torpedo with an inertial navigation system to guided it to where you want it. after that it's effectively 500lbs of TNT as a bottom laid mine. 10 mile range from launch to where the mine lands on the bottom. Plus, being built on the Mk37 body, it's small enough to carry 2 per stow in a torpedo room, the typical 688 or Virginia class can carry 40 or so. If you could pry a Seawolf out of DEVRON's hands, you could have 90 or so onboard. And they swim out, so you don't have anywhere near as much launch noise transients.
I feel like the USMC is trying to bring a knife to a gun fight in the WestPac.
I think the entire notion of Island Hopping should be thrown out the window. China has over a billion able bodies it can throw in Zerg fashion towards every island in the area.
But do they have transportation to get them to those islands, in condition to fight as soon as their boots get wet?
If the USMC needs protection from planes and missiles while it comes ashore just so it can emplace its own missiles, one has to question why they bothered going ashore at all: leave the missiles on the ship and co-locate the air defense there and save USMC a trip. This whole modern day island hopping routine reeks of an institution desperate to be relevant. They are trying to build a mission around capability rather than the other way around.

Agreed, I don't think the USMC is factoring in Chinese suicide drones peppering islands with bio/chem agents.
I think they are. Bio/Chem agents means WMDs are in current use. Time for a Trident submarine to inform the CCP that was a bad idea.
but the US has always underwritten Taiwan's security.
That must reassure the South Vietnamese a fat lot.
Or the Kurds...

The sad reality is that a commitment from the USA has a credibility not much longer than the next change of administration. Repeatedly and shamelessly so.
The catch with Taiwan is that the US made it a point of national pride. "Chairman Mao, you will take Taiwan by force over the smoking wrecks of the US Seventh Fleet."

It's in the 7FLT's standing orders to immediately respond if Taiwan is attacked.
That one I do actually expect to happen, though not the full length of a Columbia class BN. Idea is to make some SSGNs like the Ohio GN conversions.

I expect it to be about 8-12 big tubes, depending on what happens with SSN(X) and what they decide to use for the bow compartment of the Columbia class SSGN.

If the SSN(X) ends up as basically a Columbia class engineroom with a Seawolf sized torpedo room (it's an attack sub, those are the only two variables that matter), you then have an option of sticking that SSN(X) forward compartment on the Columbia GN with 8 tubes amidships for an absolutely ludicrous amount of weapons onboard (~42 weapons in 6 big tubes, 50 in the torpedo room, 12 more in the forward VLS, total of 104! First two tubes are diver chambers, so 2x tube quadpacks gives you 6 big tubes for use). Or you have the BN sized forward compartment with probably 4 torpedo tubes, no VLS, and ~13 weapons in the torpedo room; plus a longer, 12 tube missile compartment amidships with ~70 weapons in the big tubes (first two tubes replaced with diver chambers as in Ohio SSGN).

I believe either one would give enough space for the 65 SEALs that the Ohio SSGNs could carry.
The LAW is ~4500 tons (full load, presumably) versus nearly 8000 tons for the De Soto County class. The LAW carries maybe 75 Marines, the LST almost 600 troops (albeit in terrible conditions). And the LST has most of its cargo covered in the tank deck, while the LAW is open. Basically the difference between a ship designed to carry a section of coast artillery and one meant to carry about a company of tanks (or amtracks) or a battalion of infantry.

You can see another big difference between an LST and the LAW. The LST shown here has a set of four floating pontoons (Mexeflote to the Brits) slung on the sides, which it could use to build an expedient pier for offloading. I don't see any suggestion that LAW will have that option, which raises a question to me about just how many beaches it will be able to use.
Remember what the typical Pacific island looks like. The 100-fathom line is about 1 mile off the beach. Water there gets very deep very quickly.
Normal. Royal Marines are a small and quite elite organization: more a Green Level SF than a regular army like the huge USMC is.
Agreed, remember that the full name of the Royal Marines is the Royal Marine Commandos. The RMs are special forces in a relatively large number.
From the article:

“Without overstating the issue, it failed miserably. An aggressive red team that had been studying the United States for the last 20 years just ran rings around us. They knew exactly what we're going to do before we did it,” Hyten told an audience Monday at the launch of the Emerging Technologies Institute, an effort by the National Defense Industrial Association industry group to speed military modernization.
Being predictable is bad. Got it. Forgetting the other side also gets a say, and may not follow your script, also bad. Giving the other guys your script and then expecting them to follow it, and being surprised when not only do they not follow your script, they take it and turn it against you.... Well at least this time they didn't stop the game when they saw they were losing. What I get from this is that a lot more wargaming needs to be done, and by the officers who will be making the tactical decisions at all levels.
Yeah, that was an important lesson.

The Pentagon would not provide the name of the wargame, which was classified, but a defense official said one of the scenarios revolved around a battle for Taiwan. One key lesson: gathering ships, aircraft, and other forces to concentrate and reinforce each other’s combat power also made them sitting ducks.

“We always aggregate to fight, and aggregate to survive. But in today’s world, with hypersonic missiles, with significant long-range fires coming at us from all domains, if you're aggregated and everybody knows where you are, you're vulnerable,” Hyten said.
This is interesting. As in it upturns the entire history of naval warfare and fleet actions interesting.
seems to imply that all ships are going to need some seriously robust air defenses that are capable against hypersonics.

Which also implies larger ships to have enough missiles per ship onboard, I'm guesstimating a 50-100% increase in magazine size per ship. So, Constellation class with a 64cell Mk41 (or a pair of 32cells), not the single 32 that they're currently talking about. And it's probably a good thing that the Connies have Aegis now.

A new DDG is looking at not 96-128 cells, but 128-192 or so(!), and a new CG would be looking at 192-256ish. Even a modified Zumwalt design is going to need at least a 64cell addition to the ship, probably in place of one of the 155mm guns.

Even more critically, the blue team lost access to its networks almost immediately.

“We basically attempted an information-dominance structure, where information was ubiquitous to our forces. Just like it was in the first Gulf War, just like it has been for the last 20 years, just like everybody in the world, including China and Russia, have watched us do for the last 30 years,” Hyten said. “Well, what happens if right from the beginning that information is not available? And that’s the big problem that we faced.”
I don't think this is the big takeaway. It's just the fog of war. Forgetting the fog of war is a thing since you haven't really had to deal with it for a couple generations is a problem, forgetting the other guy can do the unexpected is a problem, but that's just overconfidence from having it too easy.
I'm just going to point out that it has been 4 generations of troops that have always had information dominance. Let that sink in for a moment. It's going to be painful re-learning how to work in Fog of War.

Concentration = death is the problem. If a single ship or other asset is unable to protect itself, separating leads to defeat in detail. If concentrating forces leads to massed attacks by weapons that can be launched at an area and then pick out targets once they arrive, that leads to losing everything at once. If you can't fight alone, because you need support to survive, and you can't fight together, because that just makes you a big fat juicy target, how do you fight at all?
Yeah, that's going to be an issue, and may result in a lot more subs at play and getting planned for in future construction plans.
additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.
I don't think the A-10 and AC130 have enough in common missions for a single plane to replace both to be effective.

The loiter requirements alone for an AC-130 replacement are likely to require just flat a C130 sized plane, even if it does get stealthed up a lot. What was the code name concept for a stealth tactical airlifter back in the 1980s? Senior Trend? I expect AFSOC to end up with a couple dozen stealthy tactical airlifters and gunships. Actually, looking at the number of AC-130Js that they have (32), I think the total build would look more like 32 gunships and maybe 16 transports, total of 48 aircraft. Unless the USAF decides to get a stealthy tactical airlifter to replace the C-130 and be a forward tanker, which would guarantee a production run on the order of 350-400 aircraft, maybe as many as 500, just from the US. The C-130J has at least that many birds flying across all operators, with the US military alone operating 350 of them.

The A-10 replacement I have some ideas on, one of which involves removing the GAU-8 from inventory and replacing it with the GAU-12 or GAU-22 25mm gun. This means that all the F-35 bases could rearm the AX. (Plus, I'm anticipating the USAF to replace the M61 on everything with a GAU-22, which is roughly the same weight gun. Ammunition is both longer and heavier, of course, so it's likely that ammunition loads would decrease in the converted craft, but the F-35 is only packing 160-220 rounds of 25mm. Going from 500ish rounds of 20mm to 250ish rounds of 25mm would not be a major sacrifice.) Engines would be something in common use in the US military already, I like either the CFM56 from the P8 Poseidon or the BR725/F130 from the B-52 re-engine. It would have to be stealthy, because there's no way an unstealthy aircraft is going to be over the battlefield for long against modern SHORAD. Even with that stealth, it would also have all the "planned to be damaged" structures and features of the A-10.
I do wonder if a gunship can be used for counter UAV overwatch. The cost of such a vehicle would be insane though, but there may be no better solution for some missions.

Still need to figure out what kind of collateral damage is more acceptable: laser or airburst autocannons
The problem with a laser is how long it takes current lasers to stay on target to do any damage. We're talking seconds or longer of linger time on target to cause damage.

Give me a gun launched guided projectile with a self destruct tracer or equivalent to go hunting drones with. Lock on target, shoot, move to next target.
I think they are. Bio/Chem agents means WMDs are in current use. Time for a Trident submarine to inform the CCP that was a bad idea.

They don't even have to be anything deadly, it could be something that induces chronic diarrhea or dehydration without anyone suspecting.
I think they are. Bio/Chem agents means WMDs are in current use. Time for a Trident submarine to inform the CCP that was a bad idea.

They don't even have to be anything deadly, it could be something that induces chronic diarrhea or dehydration without anyone suspecting.
Having 100% of a unit go down for diarrhea would definitely be grounds for heavy analysis. And if that analysis shows a chemical causing it? Things are not going to be fun.

Strock supports the Corps’ pursuit of a mothership role for amphibious ships, but contends the service should increase the aperture. While amphibious vessels remain in high demand for training and deployments, which competes with experimentation needs, he noted the service also has access to a variety of expeditionary sea-basing ships built to serve as lily pads for launching missions and storing equipment.

“I would hope that senior leadership would be looking at innovative uses of alternative platforms to help compensate for shortfalls in amphibious ships in the near term,” Strock said.

The next steps in developing “mothership” tasks for amphibious ships involve reviewing literature on concepts and experimentation, then assessing how many Marines and sailors are needed onboard to monitor and operate additional systems, Brodie said. While drones of various kinds are the most likely add-ons to amphibious ships, Brodie noted, these additions are likely to prompt corresponding upgrades to make the platforms more survivable, more lethal and more self-sustaining.
Having 100% of a unit go down for diarrhea would definitely be grounds for heavy analysis. And if that analysis shows a chemical causing it? Things are not going to be fun.

"Could just be a tropical bug"

Is diarrhea worth nuking China over?
Having 100% of a unit go down for diarrhea would definitely be grounds for heavy analysis. And if that analysis shows a chemical causing it? Things are not going to be fun.

"Could just be a tropical bug"

Is diarrhea worth nuking China over?
Submarines have had outbreaks of norovirus ("cruise ship flu") before, imported from someone's wife that had taken a cruise shortly before the sub arrived. It didn't affect the entire crew at once. No natural disease ever does.

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