Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

When Navy Secretary Richard V. Spencer pitched sending an aircraft carrier into early retirement, he had an idea for how to answer the call for flattops around the world: an amphibious assault ship loaded up with F-35B Joint Strike Fighter jets.

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Few things say "I have come here to chew bubble gum and kick ass, and I'm all out of bubble gum" like a Navy amphibious assault craft absolutely covered with Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II joint strike fighters ready to bomb an adversary back to the Stone Age.

That's the logic behind the so-called "Lightning Carrier" concept designed to turn those "Gator Navy" amphibs into ad hoc aircraft carriers — and the Corps appears to be moving slowly but surely into turning that concept into a new doctrine for the new era of great power competition.

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The USS America, (LHA 6), houses 12 F35-B Lightning II aircraft off the coast of California, November 18, 2016. (U.S. Marine Corps/Lance Cpl. Dana Beesley)

The Navy is bringing increased strike power to U.S. forces in the Pacific with a new deployment, the service said in a statement.

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Not only are U.S. Marines experimenting with a new aircraft carrier concept, but they are also taking a fresh look at forming "mini" carrier strike groups to fill in when the carriers are called away.

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