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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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- The Marines' Amphibious Combat Vehicle May Get a 30mm Cannon
- Retired SEAL: Tracking Special Operators' Performance May Help Prevent Suicides
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WATCH NEXT: HIMARS Sea-Based Expeditionary Fires
Once again, the United States and the Taliban are apparently close to striking a peace deal. Such a peace agreement has been rumored to be in the works longer than the latest "Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure" sequel. (The difference is Keanu Reeves has fewer f**ks to give than U.S. Special Representative for Afghanistan Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad.)
Both sides appeared to be close to reaching an agreement in September until the Taliban took credit for an attack that killed Army Sgt. 1st Class Elis A. Barreto Ortiz, of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division. That prompted President Donald Trump to angrily cancel a planned summit with the Taliban that had been scheduled to take place at Camp David, Maryland, on Sept. 8.
Now Taliban spokesman Suhail Shaheen has told a Pakistani newspaper that he is "optimistic" that the Taliban could reach an agreement with U.S. negotiators by the end of January.
75 years ago, Audie Murphy earned his Medal of Honor with nothing but a burning tank destroyer's .50 cal and insane bravery
Editor's note: a version of this post first appeared in 2018
On January 26, 1945, the most decorated U.S. service member of World War II earned his legacy in a fiery fashion.
Florida senators are pushing for Purple Hearts for service members wounded in the NAS Pensacola shooting
Florida's two senators are pushing the Defense Department to award Purple Hearts to the U.S. service members wounded in the December shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.
The Navy Department is in the middle of a new force-structure review, which could change the number and types of ships the sea services say they'll need to fight future conflicts. But instead of trying to project what they will need three decades out, which has been the case in past assessments, acting Navy Secretary Thomas Modly said the services will take a shorter view.
"I don't know what the threat's going to be 30 years from now, but if we're building a force structure for 30 years from now, I would suggest we're probably not building the right one," he said Friday at a National Defense Industrial Association event.
The Navy completed its last force-structure assessment in 2016. That 30-year plan called for a 355-ship fleet.
When Oscar Jesus Temores showed up to work at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story each day, his colleagues in base security knew they were in for a treat.
Temores was a master-at-arms who loved his job and cracking corny jokes.
"He just he just had that personality that you can go up to him and talk to him about anything. It was goofy and weird, and he always had jokes," said Petty Officer 3rd Class Derek Lopez, a fellow base patrolman. "Sometimes he'd make you cry from laughter and other times you'd just want to cringe because of how dumb his joke was. But that's what made him more approachable and easy to be around."
That ability to make others laugh and put people at ease is just one of the ways Temores is remembered by his colleagues. It has been seven weeks since the 23-year-old married father of one was killed when a civilian intruder crashed his pickup truck into Temores' vehicle at Fort Story.