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Expeditionary Operations: Force Development Focus Area

The Marine Corps must assure littoral access to enable the naval and joint forces to engage, respond to crisis, and project power. These required activities and operations include creating the conditions for host nations to allow forces to use facilities, establish basing of forces in a potential crisis area, and seizing access when necessary through forcible entry operations. The development of capabilities for expeditionary operations under the Expeditionary Force 21 concept should consider the following dimensions:

  • Diplomatic Access:  requires implementation of forward engagement policy specifically focusing on increased planning, coordination and information exchange with regional MARFORs, Geographic Combatant Commanders, State Department, TSOCs, allies, other partners, and local governments.
  • Geographic Access:  Requires improved connectors with greater range, capacity, and speed and better landing profiles to include at-sea discharge and other craft to provide improved access to littoral inland waterways. Presently, access is limited to boats for littoral maneuver and riverine. Additionally, the LCAC has limited access to 70% of displacement-craft-surveyed beaches, severely limiting access.
  • Military Access:  requires resourcing, fielding, experimentation, exercises, integration and doctrine development for counter-guided rocket, artillery, mortars, and missiles (G-RAMM) capabilities and CONOPS with emphasis on the integration of Blue and Green capabilities approaching and operating within the littorals. This includes UAV, F-35B, AH-1, and small craft considerations. Also includes resurgent support for low-cost naval surface fires improvements to range and precision.

Land-based and sea-based prepositioning must be maintained as a key enabler to access and crisis response. Other considerations include the ability to:

  • Rapidly seize, establish, sustain, and protect austere expeditionary bases to enhance the ability of the fleet to operate in A2/AD threat environments.
  • Employ new mobile forward arming and refueling points (FARPs) that are rapidly re-locatable and operate as a network to support dispersed F-35B operations.
  • Seize lodgment for follow-on joint operations.
  • Establish mobile and distributed air and missile defense capabilities to support integrated fire control counter-G-RAMM and area denial defense systems.
  • Develop initial assault / raid capability for surface and vertical assault from greater than 65 nm.
  • Retain initial 2 x MEB forcible entry capabilities. Each MEB to insert at least 1 battalion landing team (BLT) via single-wave, surface assault and up to 2 BLTs via vertical assault during one period of darkness from 30-50 nm. Follow on surface / ground tactical maneuver capabilities can be deployed via surface and air connectors as required for sustained operations ashore. These capabilities may deploy from MPS or alternative shipping to offset mobility deficiencies within the compositing force.
  • Ensure the capability to conduct at-sea transfer of MPS from 30-100 nm from shore with the capability then to maneuver to the shore.
  • Conduct experiments and exercises to leverage MSC shipping – to include the MLP, the INLS, and the RRDF, and the JHSV.
  • Retain sufficient and compatible follow-on echelon shipping.
  • Improve the ability to embark, support, and quickly deploy USMC/NECC/SOF small craft from amphibious shipping or alternative shipping.
  • Expeditionary contracting to support steady-state activities, crisis response and power-projection operations.