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The Marines' next warfighting experiment: slapping targets with rockets from the sea
Marines will test new ways to take out far-flung targets from Navy ships and ashore during the next phase of a years-long experiment meant to prep leathernecks for the future fight.
Long-range precision fires and command-and-control will be the focus of the next iteration of Sea Dragon 2025, Lt. Gen. David Berger, head of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, told Military.com on Thursday. The shift marks the third phase of a series of experiments -- first on infantry units and then on logistics -- that Marines have carried out in preparation for a high-tech fight against a near-peer enemy.
"We spent two years working on logistics and met last week to kind of wrap that up," Berger said. "Going forward will be a heavy dose of command-and-control and precision long-range fires."
Investment and training in long-range precision fires has been a focus in recent years. Last year, the Marine Corps more than doubled the amount of money it spent on its high-mobility artillery rocket systems, or HIMARS, from $60 million to $134 million.
Commandant Gen. Robert Neller also said in a 2016 operating concept document that Marines at the small-unit level would need long-range precision-fires capabilities as the maritime environment becomes more contested.
"The deep-water ports and high-throughput airfields we once relied upon are also increasingly vulnerable to attacks with long-range fires," Neller wrote. "These challenges will only grow as competitors pursue concepts for holding our forces at bay at greater distances and denying our ability to maneuver in both littoral and landward areas."
The High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) is fired from the flight deck of the amphibious transport dock ship USS Anchorage (LPD 23) during Dawn Blitz 2017 over the Pacific Ocean, Oct. 22, 2017. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Matthew Dickinson0
Berger said the hope is that Marines will practice taking out mock-targets from aboard amphibious assault ships as part of the Sea Dragon experiment. Ideally, he added, while speaking on Capitol Hill during the annual Navy Amphibious Warship Congressional Forum, the same system used at sea could also be easily moved to land.
"If you're going to control a region and you have an amphibious fleet," he told lawmakers, industry leaders and other guests at the forum, "then we're going to need long-range fires to take out maritime targets using sea-based or shore-based platforms."
The Marines have used HIMARS -- a C-5 transportable, wheeled, indirect fire, rocket/missile system -- on land and aboard an amphibious assault ship.
The Corps, Berger added, is also looking at ways to use unmanned aircraft or surface vehicles "to look for and kill things in the maritime domain."
"The pieces are there -- the air pieces are there and the surface pieces are there," he said. "The magic is combining it all together ... [but] it's all there and proven to be doable."
Unmanned technology such as robots and drones played a significant part in the experimentation infantry and logistics units carried out during previous phases of Sea Dragon 2025. The infantry Marines used drones to collect surveillance ahead of patrols. The logisticians used self-driving vehicles to get gear and medical supplies to the fight.
"This article originally appeared on Military.com
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WATCH NEXT: HIMARS Sea-Based Expeditionary Fires
A sprawling new survey says a ‘culture of resilience’ helped US military families weather housing woes for years
A new survey of thousands of military families released on Wednesday paints a negative picture of privatized military housing, to say the least.
The Military Family Advisory Network surveyed 15,901 adults at 160 locations around the country who are either currently living in privatized military housing, or had lived in privatized housing within the last three years. One of the report's primary takeaways can be summarized in two lines: "Most responses, 93 percent, came from residents living in housing managed by six companies. None of them had average satisfaction rates at or above neutral."
Those six companies are Lincoln Military Housing, Balfour Beatty, Hunt, Lendlease/Winn, Corvias, and Michaels.
What's behind these responses? MFAN points to the "culture of resilience" found in the military community for why military families may be downplaying the severity of their situations, or putting up with subpar conditions.
"[Military] families will try to manage grim living conditions without complaint," MFAN says in its report. "The norm of managing through challenges, no matter their severity, is deeply established in military family life."
Decorated Vietnam vet presents Purple Heart and Bronze Star to family of slain UNC Charlotte shooting hero
Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
CAIRO (Reuters) - After losing territory, ISIS fighters are turning to guerrilla war — and the group's newspaper is telling them exactly how to do it.
In recent weeks, IS's al-Naba online newspaper has encouraged followers to adopt guerrilla tactics and published detailed instructions on how to carry out hit-and-run operations.
The group is using such tactics in places where it aims to expand beyond Iraq and Syria. While IS has tried this approach before, the guidelines make clear the group is adopting it as standard operating procedure.