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Maneuver Summary:

  • Develop ground combat and tactical vehicles that value land and water mobility performance and drive a subordinate but effective balance of lethality and protection.
  • Develop new ground support platforms that can be transported via MMV-22 or CH-53.   
  • Ensure in-stride obstacle breaching capabilities are maintained with future ground vehicle development.
  • Ensure instride explosive breaching capability within an amphibious vehicle.  
  • Training that facilitates more interoperability with SOF.

Maneuver: Force Development Focus Area:
Operating in the littoral environment demands a Marine Corps with maneuver options in permissive, uncertain and hostile environments. These capabilities must be optimized to be deployed, employed and sustained with available lift and power projection means. Regardless of the level of threat amphibious forces must have the capability to penetrate a coastline and move inland through complex terrain.

In a contested environment—with increasingly capable adversaries equipped with coastal defense cruise missiles (CDCM) and other area denial capabilities—naval forces employ sea control and power projection in a complementary manner. Projecting and sustaining power ashore requires access to or control of the adjoining seas. However, sea control operations may require the projection of power ashore to remove threats to naval forces, or to control littoral terrain such as islands, archipelagos, straits, or shorelines.

In today’s world, the likelihood of concurrent and geographically dispersed crises places a premium on forward-deployed forces that are versatile and mobile enough to respond to a range of missions in varied locations, and then reinforce and sustain operations. By providing a scalable first-response capability to protect U.S. citizens and interests, forward deployed forces provide time for national decision makers to evaluate follow on options. As such, responding to crises may require maneuver from increased distance under less than certain conditions. In these situations mission success may be time critical.

Considerations for Maneuver to Gain Entry Where Access is Denied. Forward-deployed crisis response forces most often operate within the threat of A2/AD systems daily and must be equipped, trained, and practiced to accomplish power projection under varied degrees of that threat. While we operate today in this environment, our goal is to increase our capability. The following considerations represent situations that we will prepare for and are a departure from previous norms:

  • Crisis response involves a ‘come as you are’ dimension that may not allow for initial defeat of all A2/AD systems. As such, local air and maritime superiority may not be achieved prior to power projection. 
  • Crisis response and/or gaining local air and maritime superiority may require power projection to identify and reduce threats, which requires the ability to project power from greater ranges.
  • Stand-off range for amphibious operations requires a careful calculus that includes battlespace geometry, risk, threat, and conditions with the following implications:
  1. An integrated A2/AD threat with CDCMs necessitates standoff range greater than previously considered.
  2. The proliferation of CDCMs and sophisticated target acquisition and guidance systems requires standoff from beyond 65nm until the threat is mitigated.
  3. Once the CDCM threat is reduced, standoff can also be reduced. If a CDCM threat remains standoff can be reduced to a sea echelon area 30nm to 50nm to provide standoff from area denial threats, adequate CDCM acquisition, and protection by DDG/CGs. As mentioned above this is always a careful calculation of risk by the involved commanders.
  4. Once landing sites are controlled, amphibious ships may close to facilitate speed of build-up ashore. When a CDCM threat is completely neutralized, an amphibious ship can reduce the standoff distance when provided appropriate escorts to mitigate any residual risk. The discharge point for Amphibious Assault Vehicles (AAVs) and other surface connectors may be closer to shore, but generally will remain beyond 12nm. When the threat as a whole is sufficiently mitigated as agreed upon by the commanders concerned, these ships may decrease standoff to support continued operations.
  5. Landing site superiority must be established during amphibious operations requiring control of seaward approaches, landing areas, and the ability to inhibit threat actions.
  6. Vehicles, boats, and landing craft require the endurance and speed to operate from 65nm independently or in combination with other connectors.  
  • Operating in dispersed formations, including the use of company-sized landing teams, is a means to counter increased enemy ISR and strike capabilities.
  • The ability to identify, classify, bypass, and when necessary breach obstacles within the littoral.
  • The ability to overcome ground obstacles (explosive and non-explosive) from the seaward approach when they cannot be by-passed during an assault.

The Amphibious Capabilities Working Group (ACWG) report pointed to the need for assessing surface connectors in light of the increased standoff and weight of MAGTF equipment. Additionally, the requirement for increased presence demands an examination of connectors, for range, capacity and ability to interface with all amphibious ships and MPS platforms. The ability to operate independently for extended periods would assist in distributed operations. With these increased standoff requirements, we need to develop new surface connectors with: greater capacity, increased range, and speed (18 knots, minimum, to ensure timely maneuver); reduced signature; and modular capabilities.  New surface connectors must support at-sea transfer from the MLP and other platforms in order to support distributed operations, fires, logistics, and intelligence. To provide range and speed requirements, we need to explore boats for use in securing landing sites and littoral patrolling. These same boats can provide options for maneuver inland particularly in the Pacific, West Africa, and South America.

Considerations for Maneuver Inland. Once ashore, Marines require the ability to transit complex littoral terrain. Mobility options from the sea echelon areas must support maneuver inland via surface and air to inland entry points. This will require a combination of capabilities including but not limited to:

  • A minimum capability to maneuver two battalion landing teams in armored personnel carriers per brigade amphibious assault echelon and up to 12 battalions in operations ashore.

    Maneuver from distributed entry points to concentrate forces and disperse as required.
  • Ground combat and tactical vehicles that value land and water mobility performance and drive a subordinate but effective balance of lethality and protection.
  • Surface connectors to bring Marines, weapons, vehicles, and large-footprint materiel ashore.
  • Ground combat and tactical vehicle requirements that value transportability and sustainability.
  • Ensuring in-stride obstacle breaching capabilities are maintained with future ground vehicle development.
  • New ground maneuver platforms that can be transported internally via MV-22 or CH-53.
  • New vessels to enable greater maneuver throughout the littoral and along inland waterways.
  • In order to fully take advantage of increased stealth technologies, we should explore available and future technologies that will suppress the acoustic signature of our vehicles and weapon systems, specifically in the maneuver elements.