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Marine Commandant Wants A ‘Star Trek’-Style Holodeck For Wargaming
The Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, wants a sci-fi-inspired holodeck so he can war where no one has warred before, reports Marine Corps Times.
“In a perfect world, it would be like Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek,” Neller said. “I’d walk into the holodeck and I’d go, ’Computer, Battle of Waterloo, 1812, Prussian army, I am in command, simulation — go.’”
In his comments at the annual Modern Marine Expo at Quantico, Virginia, last week, Neller said he wants to take simulated training — which is currently used to help get individuals up to speed on weapons and vehicles — further than the service has gone yet.
“What I’m looking for is a simulation where a battalion or squadron commander or a regimental or a group commander or a division, wing or MEF [Marine Expeditionary Force] or a corps commander can go in and not have to put thousands of people on the battlespace and in the air and actually get them to do a repetition,” Neller said. “That is going to take some time.”
The service is still trying to determine just how feasible it would be to create a virtual wargaming facility at Quantico, Marine Corps Times reports, but it does plan to increase the frequency of simulated wargames it runs, raising the annual number from 11 to 20 over the next several years.
U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Glenn Walters, right, the Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps observes Marines training on simulator training systems during a visit to Camp Lejeune, N.C., Jan. 27, 2017.U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Abraham Lopez
Militaries the world over have always looked to science fiction for ideas. The Army’s Research Laboratory recently drew some inspiration from James Cameron’s Aliens with plans for a robotic third shooting arm for stability, and both U.S. and British arms developers are working on space-age pieces of headgear. Let’s not forget all the drones, hoverbikes, and terminators. This isn’t even the first time the Marine Corps has tried to rip off Star Trek, with the service teasing the possibility of battlefield-ready tricorders — ahem, “innovative scanners” — last May.
That said, being able to recreate past fights, or simulate future ones on a grand scale could be pretty useful to battlefield commanders. Simulators for ground troops are fast becoming par for the course, and with good reason. As Task & Purpose’s Sarah Sicard reported in August, virtual training allows troops to get familiar with real-life scenarios, so they can make the most of costly large-scale live-fire training exercises, essentially pre-training for real-life exercises.
Extending that opportunity to a battalion, regimental, or division commander, seems like a natural progression. Besides, who doesn’t want to step up to a console and say: Computer, engage.
Former Army 1st Lt. Clint Lorance, whom President Donald Trump recently pardoned of his 2013 murder conviction, claims he was nothing more than a pawn whom generals sacrificed for political expediency.
The infantry officer had been sentenced to 19 years in prison for ordering his soldiers to open fire on three unarmed Afghan men in 2012. Two of the men were killed.
During a Monday interview on Fox & Friends, Lorance accused his superiors of betraying him.
"A service member who knows that their commanders love them will go to the gates of hell for their country and knock them down," Lorance said. "I think that's extremely important. Anybody who is not part of the senior Pentagon brass will tell you the same thing."
"I think folks that start putting stars on their collar — anybody that has got to be confirmed by the Senate for a promotion — they are no longer a soldier, they are a politician," he continued. "And so I think they lose some of their values — and they certainly lose a lot of their respect from their subordinates — when they do what they did to me, which was throw me under the bus."
Fifteen years after the U.S. military toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein, the Army's massive two-volume study of the Iraq War closed with a sobering assessment of the campaign's outcome: With nearly 3,500 U.S. service members killed in action and trillions of dollars spent, "an emboldened and expansionist Iran appears to be the only victor.
Thanks to roughly 700 pages of newly-publicized secret Iranian intelligence cables, we now have a good idea as to why.
BANGKOK (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Mark Esper expressed confidence on Sunday in the U.S. military justice system's ability to hold troops to account, two days after President Donald Trump pardoned two Army officers accused of war crimes in Afghanistan.
Trump also restored the rank of a Navy SEAL platoon commander who was demoted for actions in Iraq.
Asked how he would reassure countries such as Afghanistan and Iraq in the wake of the pardons, Esper said: "We have a very effective military justice system."
"I have great faith in the military justice system," Esper told reporters during a trip to Bangkok, in his first remarks about the issue since Trump issued the pardons.
For one veteran who fought through the crossfires of German heavy machine guns in the D-Day landings, receiving a Congressional Gold Medal on behalf of his service and that of his World War II comrades would be "quite meaningful."
Bills have been introduced in the House and Senate to award the Army Rangers of World War II the medal, the highest civilian award bestowed by the United States, along with the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
An airman at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base was arrested and charged with murder on Sunday after a shooting at a Raleigh night club that killed a 21-year-old man, the Air Force and the Raleigh Police Department said.