Thursday, April 09, 2020

Navy LtCdr wants to put the Ground Combat Element to the knife in his proposed "new" MEU...

via USNI
The battalion landing team requirements and the equipment to support it far exceed its use by combatant commanders. The number of detachments added to an infantry battalion to form a landing team gives the unit a large footprint on board the ARG. If the ESG concentrates on four mission sets, the battalion landing team should be slimmed down and optimized to support those missions. Each ship in the ARG should have one complete rifle company. The landing team’s heavy weapons company should divide into three groups, each staffed with some of their machine gun, antiarmor, and mortar platoons, and be split among the three ships in the group. This would give every ship in the ARG a capable landing force. However, the remainder of the detachments would disappear from the new MEU construct. The combat logistics battalion should be slimmed down as well.

The vehicle storage space freed by eliminating these would allow ships in the ARG to carry a greater share of aviation parts. Currently, the LHD hangar deck often is choked with parts, quadcons, and aviation support equipment, leaving little room for aircraft maintenance. The F-35B has an enormous footprint because each jet requires its own shipping container for support. Placing these in lower vehicle storage would give them space without crippling the hangar and make them easier to secure from unauthorized personnel. 


The new ARG/MEU construct can and should be a key part of supporting special operations forces. The landing team would support missions as a PR asset, blocking force, or as part of a quick reaction force. The LHD also could use the troop berthing cleared out by slimming the landing team to embark a Tier-II special operations asset, such as a company of Force Reconnaissance or Marine Raiders or a SEAL platoon.

The embarked MH-60S detachment would need to be certified to support this unit as an insertion platform for short- to medium-range missions. The Osprey squadron, with its longer range and faster speed, would take over for long-range missions. With less heavy equipment on board the ARG, there would be less need to embark landing craft, utility (LCUs), and the space could be reallocated to embark special operations craft. 


There is less need now for a ready force to conduct an amphibious assault than there was 35 years ago. Rather, the Navy and Marine Corps should focus on the four missions that cater most to the needs of geographic component commanders: strike (as a light carrier), raiding, humanitarian assistance/disaster relief (HA/DR) operations, and special operations support. By narrowing down to these four missions, the ARG/MEU can better train and become more proficient in a more limited set of skills.  
Full story here. 

This is head spinning.  Does the new formation that the LtCdr's proposing seem as powerful as the legacy?

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