Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.
The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.
They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.
It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.
The Marine Corps general found to have repeatedly made derogatory statements about women and to have bullied his staff is hitting back against the findings of a months-long investigation into his wrongdoing.
Brig. Gen. Norm Cooling, the assistant deputy commandant for Marine Corps Plans, Policies and Operations, said a 47-page investigation into his time leading the service's legislative affairs office includes "statements attributed to me that I unequivocally did not make or were purposefully embellished."
"At no time during my seven months in the Office of Legislative Affairs, nor at any other time during my 33-year career, have I ever negatively singled out anyone for anything other than their job performance," Cooling told Military.com.
The commandant of the Marine Corps will have five years to stop separating men and women at the service's oldest boot camp, if a new amendment added to the 2020 defense authorization bill survives to ratification.
Rep. Jackie Speier, a California Democrat and chair of the House Armed Services Military Personnel subcommittee, proposed the amendment on Wednesday, which would prohibit gender-segregated training at the Marine Corps recruit depots.
"Training at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, may not be segregated based on gender," the measure states. "The Commandant of the Marine Corps shall carry out this subsection not later than five years after the date of the enactment of this Act."
Several members of the Marine Corps' famous Silent Drill Platoon were kicked out of the service or punished by their command after someone reported witnessing them using a training rifle to strike someone.
Three Marines have been discharged in the last 60 days and two others lost a rank after the Naval Criminal Investigative Service began looking into hazing allegations inside the revered unit that performs at public events around the world.
Navy leaders failed to address sailors' safety concerns after a sexually explicit list targeting female crew members surfaced aboard the service's second submarine to integrate women, resulting in the firing of a commanding officer and several other punishments.
A "rape list" was shared by members of the guided-missile submarine Florida's Gold crew, where investigators found "lewd and sexist comments and jokes were tolerated, and trust up and down the chain of command was nonexistent." That's according to a 74-page investigation into the misconduct, obtained exclusively by Military.com through a Freedom of Information Act request.
The Florida, homeported in Kings Bay, Georgia, was the second submarine to integrate enlisted women in February 2018. Capt. Gregory Kercher, who became the Florida Gold crew's commanding officer five months prior,was fired in August for a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.
At least two sailors assigned to the submarine have been separated from the military, and an undisclosed number faced administrative punishment in connection to the list, Navy officials said.