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USMC Doctrine Changes

Grey Havoc

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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.
 

Purpletrouble

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Considering what the US pays to train troops/marines, and what it pays *after* they leave service in the form of the VA, just exposing troops' hearing to less bang sounds worth it to me given the long lifetime of a modern suppressor. Then there are the actual tactical benefits of greatly reduced muzzle flash and noise, with super sonic shot noise being far less directional. I honestly don't know why it took this long for this to become a standard issue item consider the obvious utility and ubiquity of combat optics. The US spends enough on an individual solider training-to-grave to absolutely warrant this kind of investment.
The amount the USN spends on payments for loss of hearing to flight deck crews was the reason behind a huge amount of F35 acoustic research and associated mitigation measures - all comfortably expected to pay for itself.
 

uk 75

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Assuming the US were serious about defending Taiwan, the answer would be to recreate the old US Army division equipment stores in W Europe on the island (POMCUS) and hold annual exercises flying their personnel in from CONUS.
The USAF would establish a full network of bases and Patriot SAM sites. Even China would think twice about killing USAF F35 pilots on day 1 of an invasion.
 

Moose

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The speed at which they're discarding armor is certainly something.
 

Bhurki

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The speed at which they're discarding armor is certainly something.
There's only so much you can do to move within the armor, mobility, firepower matrix.
The speed of shedding armor points to the accelerated focus on increasing long range offensive capabilities and moving away from bogged down fighting tactics to a more guerilla type shoot and scoot scenario to not let the enemy establish and maintain any forward stronghold. There's really no point in operating tanks when you want to attack through different axis (most of them on water) and regularly back off rather than digging yourselves in to move forward on the same axis.
 

TomS

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The speed at which they're discarding armor is certainly something.
It's certainly a way to send a signal within the Corps. And if they are fully divesting those tanks, it makes the change in organization harder to reverse.
 

jsport

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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.
 

MihoshiK

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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.
Army. Paying for the USMC's tanks.

Ahaha. Excellent joke my dear sir. Perhaps one should consider a career in vaudeville?
 

Bruno Anthony

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If the USMC has to take one of China’s new man made islands by force, they won’t need armor?
This shows how much the Army & USMC are reshaping for a certain style of War in the Pacific. Long range missiles, drones, and quick raids or reinforcement of own base. The Army is also IMO deliberately dragging its feet on a new MBT as it internally squabbles over roles/ missions and the equipment to go with it.
 

Foo Fighter

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Not sure how tanks will help on those small islands tbh, as an ex tanker they would just be targets I would not want to be near and of very little to no value to an assaulter. Naval gunnery and air assault will be MUCH more useful in that scenario.
 

Foo Fighter

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BTW, those M1A1 are hardly the tip of the M1 family spear are they? How old are those vehicles?
 

TomS

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This is the actual report outlining the basis for the new force structure and sizing. It's not incredibly detailed,, but I think it gies a lot more concrete info than we previously have had in this thread:


Doctrinally, the big takeaways are:
  1. The Marines are not interested in sustained conventional ground combat operations. They aren't going to be a second Army.
  2. They are essentially acknowledging that the Navy has lost or is on the verge of losing the anti-access/area denial (A2AD) fight, so that there will probably not be the clear area superiority required for traditional forced entry operations
  3. The Marines should not organize specifically to support humanitarian assistance, disaster relief, and noncombatant evacuations, but rather let those be a fall out from their primary warfighting capabilities. That's basically a shot in the head to traditional MEU operations.
The removal of tanks is obviously a big deal, but IMO most notable force structure change is the radical enlargement of the rocket artillery batteries from 7 (basically one per infantry regiment) to 21 (one per infantry battalion), with the simultaneously reduction in tube artillery to less than one battery per battalion. That's intended to enable the missile-based island fighting they are talking about, but it also has some interesting implications for how they see artillery support to infantry fights. I do wonder if the detailed restructuring will see more heavy mortars organic to the infantry battalions to help make up for the loss of direct support tube artillery.
 
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Hood

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They were upgraded to M1A1-FEP standard: HAP-3 DU armour, M1A2 SEP FLIR but certainly not the same capability as an M1A2.
 

TomS

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Oh, one other BIG bullet in that Force Design document:

“As the preeminent littoral warfare and expeditionary warfare service, we must engage in a more robust discussion regarding naval expeditionary forces and capabilities not resident with 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.”
They're talking about whether or not to try to take over Navy riverine squadrons, Seabees, and MCM (presumably EOD?) capabilities. That's huge, and likely to cause massive hate and discontent, even though those forces are widely ignored by big Navy.
 
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Bruno Anthony

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TomS

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Wow! Now what?
I might be overselling that, but they are talking about fighting in "mutually contested space." That sounds to me like a recipe lots of intermingling of forces, no clear fronts, etc. Basically a massive insurgency at sea.
 

Bruno Anthony

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Wow! Now what?
I might be overselling that, but they are talking about fighting in "mutually contested space." That sounds to me like a recipe lots of intermingling of forces, no clear fronts, etc. Basically a massive insurgency at sea.
That sounds better than the vision of a USN only capable of operating btw California & Hawaii or off the coast of Somalia.
If the USN can’t put the PLAN (yes it’s hair will get mussed) next to Davy Jones, then it’s wasted money. Yes I know it will be a combined arms effort with the AF and the ground forces taking man made islands or shooting missiles, but the USN will be the lead service.

The intermingled forces sounds like the 6th Fleet operational environment of the Cold War played out on a larger scale.
 

Foo Fighter

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They were upgraded to M1A1-FEP standard: HAP-3 DU armour, M1A2 SEP FLIR but certainly not the same capability as an M1A2.
Thank you, Sir.
 

jsport

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Oh, one other BIG bullet in that Force Design document:

“As the preeminent littoral warfare and expeditionary warfare service, we must engage in a more robust discussion regarding naval expeditionary forces and capabilities not resident with 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.”
They're talking about whether or not to try to take over Navy riverine squadrons, Seabees, and MCM (presumably EOD?) capabilities. That's huge, and likely to cause massive hate and discontent, even though those forces are widely ignored by big Navy.
The DoN has all the cards in determining mission sets. Marines have no power and no money if they cross the DoN. Limiting oneself to the single scenario mindset of RocketMarine when the PLAN is to have DEW defenses deployed down to logistics nodes, not to mention forward formations, doesnt seem to be a good plan.
 
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Bhurki

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For people quickly panning through, here's a snapshot of whats proposed
Hammes-Pic.jpg
Not included -
Reserve InF Bn - 8 to 6 (-2)
Refueller Sqn - 3 to 4 (+1)
Unmanned Sqn - 3 to 6 (+3)
 
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Bhurki

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Not to forget the inflating effect on price of B if 9 slated squadrons of 16 each get cut down to 10 airframes each, resulting a reduction of 54 Bees, (ceteris paribus on reserve and FRS numbers) if external assessment deems so necessary.
 

TomcatViP

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Hard to figure the logic behind that. Moreover, wouldn't it lead to every Squadron deployed having no reserve (pilots & airframe), meaning that entire Squadrons could be decimated with all the inherent losses in operational experience?
 

TomS

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Hard to figure the logic behind that. Moreover, wouldn't it lead to every Squadron deployed having no reserve (pilots & airframe), meaning that entire Squadrons could be decimated with all the inherent losses in operational experience?
It makes each squadron fit on an LHA(R) or LHD, and probably facilitates putting a second squadron aboard when they flex to the Lightning Carrier role. The old plan was to have a weird mix of small squadrons, larger squadrons (split up for MEU ops and intact for Lighting Carrier ops), and a few small C squadrons for the big-deck carriers. But the new F-35 plan is probably the least firm part of the whole reorg; the Commandant has been up front that this is likely to change, and could well result in a reduced buy.

 
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Josh_TN

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So pretty much lighter in most everything but HIMARS. Is there still any intention of adopting NSM or are they at least dropping that bad idea in favor of the moving target version of PrSM that the Army is already working on?

Also I hope there is some effort to bulk up the inventory of mortars if they are cutting that many guns - five howitzer batteries for the entire service?

Over all it looks like there will just be a lot less Marines. The increase in rocket artillery is no where near the number of formations their cutting. I'm particularly surprised by the cut to the air component - do they intend to operate fewer LHA/LHDs going forward? Is this just accounting for the fact there are going to be fewer Marines to move?
 

TomS

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So pretty much lighter in most everything but HIMARS. Is there still any intention of adopting NSM or are they at least dropping that bad idea in favor of the moving target version of PrSM that the Army is already working on?

Also I hope there is some effort to bulk up the inventory of mortars if they are cutting that many guns - five howitzer batteries for the entire service?

Over all it looks like there will just be a lot less Marines. The increase in rocket artillery is no where near the number of formations their cutting. I'm particularly surprised by the cut to the air component - do they intend to operate fewer LHA/LHDs going forward? Is this just accounting for the fact there are going to be fewer Marines to move?
End strength goes down about 12,000 people, or ~6.5%.

Most of the rotary-wing component cuts seem to be linked to the reduced numbers of infantry battalions and I think the reduced relevance of the light helos (UH-1/AH-1) since they can't keep up with the Ospreys.

I'm sort of baffled by the big cut in heavy lift squadrons. The CH-53s have always been highly valued, and I'm not sure why they are getting whacked, except perhaps the same issue of keeping up with the Ospreys. Also, one of their big roles was to move tube artillery ashore, so with that getting trimmed, perhaps they need fewer sling loads (can't sling load HIMARS).

The specifics of the anti-ship missile plan are pretty weird. They're still pressing on NMESIS (NSM) and asking for Tomahawks (specifically MST). I think PrSM is too far right, schedule-wise, for this Commandant.
 

Josh_TN

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I'm not a fan of shore based NSM. The range is short and it's a one trick pony. Where as HIMARS can still be a regular rocket artillery system, in addition to being a long range bombardment system and an anti shipping weapon. The flight profile is hardly subtle, but it is fast and long ranged. I suspect inside the range of NSM it would be very hard to intercept.

But then again I'm not particularly pro this whole island hoping idea anyway. If you have to land Marines just so they can launch missiles, just build more floating platforms that launch missiles. That is much less expensive and lower risk than putting troops ashore.
 

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I'm sort of baffled by the big cut in heavy lift squadrons. The CH-53s have always been highly valued, and I'm not sure why they are getting whacked, except perhaps the same issue of keeping up with the Ospreys. Also, one of their big roles was to move tube artillery ashore, so with that getting trimmed, perhaps they need fewer sling loads (can't sling load HIMARS).
Perhaps they are anticipating a huge increase in their availability with the King replacing the old Echo model.
 

TomS

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I'm not a fan of shore based NSM. The range is short and it's a one trick pony. Where as HIMARS can still be a regular rocket artillery system, in addition to being a long range bombardment system and an anti shipping weapon. The flight profile is hardly subtle, but it is fast and long ranged. I suspect inside the range of NSM it would be very hard to intercept.

But then again I'm not particularly pro this whole island hoping idea anyway. If you have to land Marines just so they can launch missiles, just build more floating platforms that launch missiles. That is much less expensive and lower risk than putting troops ashore.
NSM is very much a "what can buy today?" situation. I think General Smith's testimony from earlier this year is really helpful in understanding what's going on.

General Smith: ..... The ground-launched cruise missile, or GLCM, is a task that the Deputy Secretary of Defense has passed to the Marine Corps to have an operational capability very quickly for something that reaches out -- again, I'll just say hundreds of miles. That is a separate fielding, testing, and evaluation program now. The naval strike missile, which we call a ground-based antiship missile -- but, that is an existing technology now. The Navy already shoots it. So, for us trying to field a capability rapidly to show that General Berger's planning guidance has the teeth that it does, we'll pair that missile, which is existing now, with a JLTV. We call it a rogue-fires vehicle, a robotic vehicle. We'll pair that immediately. So, that ground-based antiship missile capability is currently naval strike missile. The ground launched cruise missile or any other system ideally can be fired off of that same platform. So, the platform is the platform. It's agnostic as to what it fires.
So you see that NSM is absolutely there because they can buy it yesterday and embed a concrete capability into the force structure. If it was just a plan to buy PrSM anti-ship for HIMARS in a few years, the next Commandant could completely drop it without a ripple, but this is more enduring because there is hardware now. And the Tomahawk (GLCM) portion seems to be an OSD initiative, not something the Marines came up with on their own.
 

Josh_TN

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I don't see how a JLTV can carry anything like ground based tomahawk. I wouldn't even thought it a particularly large enough platform for a meaningful number NSM. I'm really not a fan of any part of this plan, from overall strategy down to parts of the execution. Presumably people more knowledgable than me know what they are doing.
 

jsport

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Presumably
One has to share your skepticism, can these M&S gameplays be trusted? How is that 53Ks bring the JTLV HIMARS and missile reloads to support the depth which Ospreys deliver dismounts. It would seem some sort of OpFires missile deployed via other Ospreys (how close is that to reality?). Even then is that enough supporting firepower to assure dismount carrying Ospreys are supported. Missiles are logistically large and vulnerable in so many ways.
 

TomS

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I don't see how a JLTV can carry anything like ground based tomahawk. I wouldn't even thought it a particularly large enough platform for a meaningful number NSM
IIRC, they demoed LRAASM on an LVSR (their version of PLS), which is the size of vehicle you would need for Tomahawk as well. At the time (early 2019), NSM won becuase it was a lot more compact.

The JLTV thing is an unmanned version called Rogue Fires. It can handle a single HIMARS/MLRS pod or maybe a pair of NSM. Edit: I think the idea is that this can basically shadow a manned HIMARS launcher and double its firepower.


 

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TomS

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My edit above was wrong. Apparently they are talking about replacing the current HIMARS and tube artillery with a dispersed force structure where the fire units and the control systems are separated into multiple JLTVs, with the fire units being unmanned. They're also showing an unmanned JLTV with an MLRS/HiMARS pod, another unmanned JLTV with a short 155mm cannon, and a Medium Tactical Vehicle with a long-barrel 155mm. Seems like the end state might be to merge all the artillery into a single unit with a common fire control platform and a mix of rocket and tube artillery fire units.

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPSZ71-YqC8
 

jsport

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..saw this video when it was released back in 2016. It is unlikely any one service would be given the resources to develop these systems. The DoN has the last say for this service anyway. Also, the current JTLV, for instance is still not that popular in some circles and for good reason. (it was antiquated and payload space poor upon adoption) I warned as much. This TARDEC proposal of UGV family would at least be a joint solution. ..not sure if they would fit in a Osprey but could fit in a 53K. There is not G/MRLS launcher depicted and if the logistics of G/MRLS were analyzed it would be clear that depending on TACAIR would be a better solution than G/MRLS. 1596576846987.png
 

_Del_

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I don't see how a JLTV can carry anything like ground based tomahawk. I wouldn't even thought it a particularly large enough platform for a meaningful number NSM. I'm really not a fan of any part of this plan, from overall strategy down to parts of the execution. Presumably people more knowledgable than me know what they are doing.
The key for me is how they plan to use it. If you load up a couple batteries into LCACs (maybe bring along an army PAC-3 battery), and play a shell game of sorts on different atolls and sites on the atolls using F-35's from the fleet as sensors to cue HIMARS/Patriot-- well, that's probably useful even if it only continually robs the PLAN of initiative.

All the talk of turning the islands and atolls into expeditionary "bases" with forward air fields seems like a giant waste of effort. Too hard to defend and keep a fixed facility of that sort operational under those circumstances. Logistics alone seems like a nightmare unless you have undisputed control of air and sea.

Mobile detachments that are small enough to supply and sustain by LCAC and aviation assets, however, might fare better. Particularly if they are dispersed and frequently re-sited.
 

Josh_TN

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Mobile fire bases make more sense than any extended stay, but I still don't see what they bring compared to ships dedicating to firing ordnance. Build them out to look like civilian traffic and put some basic decoys and a RAM launcher on it and let the Marines stay home safe. I thought this was more or less what the USN was going to do with LUSV. I don't see any reason for the USMC to build a new class of landing ship to land this stuff if their main strategy is blend in with local shipping - don't bother landing then; just be able to fire something from the ship.
 

jsport

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All the talk of turning the islands and atolls into expeditionary "bases" with forward air fields seems like a giant waste of effort. Too hard to defend and keep a fixed facility of that sort operational under those circumstances. Logistics alone seems like a nightmare unless you have undisputed control of air and sea.
 

_Del_

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Mobile fire bases make more sense than any extended stay, but I still don't see what they bring compared to ships dedicating to firing ordnance. Build them out to look like civilian traffic and put some basic decoys and a RAM launcher on it and let the Marines stay home safe. I thought this was more or less what the USN was going to do with LUSV. I don't see any reason for the USMC to build a new class of landing ship to land this stuff if their main strategy is blend in with local shipping - don't bother landing then; just be able to fire something from the ship.
I don't know that a ship is any more (or less) survivable than a shore deployment. But this is something that gives the Marines a reason to exist, and it also is relatively easy to do with assets we already have or are readily available short-term. Our ship-building record, however, gives me no reason to believe we can build enough frigates/pickets on a reasonable budget or timeline. (To say nothing of the politics of dressing warships up like civilian traffic!)
 

Josh_TN

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The exercise very much seems like inventing a reason to exist; that is rather my point. I can think of reasons for the USMC to exist; I just don't think setting up fire bases of dubious value should be one of them. And if you read into the plan, it absolutely envisions creating a new type of landing ship to support it, not the LCAC delivery you postulate. If you go back a few pages I proposed something similar if the USMC has to go down that route - making it one LCAC lift and also to make the landing package personnel a small enough lift it could subsequently be evacuated one MV-22 lift at a much longer distance and greater speed, if necessary. Though again, I'd wait for HIMARS to have an anti ship capability and not buy a separate missile system dedicated to this one role. Air defense also is going to be an issue for landed forces - one reaper style drone can wipe out your fire battery, and it has the loiter time to check every island one by one. Patriot is a non starter; far too big. Short term, something like the new army SHORADS. Long term, some kind of SLAM RAM on a JVLT with the GATOR radar as the search/aquisition. That would be relatively off the shelf.

I still think this is a better job for the proposed LUSV though. Just make it looks kinda civilian-esque at a distance/on a SAR or ISAR radar and give it a similar propulsion plant so it sounds the same too. That will make ID harder. And if it gets sunk, who cares? Its built with minimal manning to commercial standards. So long as it IDs itself as a warship if challenged, or at least gives no false ID, that breaks no treaties or international law I'm aware of.
 
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