Posts tagged ‘Marine Corps’

SPECIAL OPERATIONS: SOCOM Leadership Changes; New Gunships Defense; SEALS and Women

Votel & Thomas.

The head of U.S. Special Operations Command (SOCOM), Army General Joseph Votel is likely to be the next chief of Central Command (CENTCOM), according to the Washington Post. And to replace Votel at SOCOM, the Post says Army Lieutenant General Raymond Thomas is the most likely candidate.

Votel, an Army Ranger and former head of the 75th Ranger Regiment, took over Tampa, Florida-based SOCOM as its 10th commander in 2014 from Admiral William McRaven, a Navy SEAL.

Word of Votel’s planned transfer to CENTCOM, was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

Army Gen. and U.S> SOCOM commander Joseph Votel. (U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez)

Army Gen. and U.S. SOCOM commander Joseph Votel.
(U.S. Army photo by Staff Sgt. Steve Cortez)

Special Operations Forces include Army Green Berets, Rangers and Special Ops aviators, Navy SEALS and Special Warfare Combatant-craft crews, Air Force Pararescue jumpers and combat air controllers, Marine Corps Corps critical skills operators and special operations combat services specialists.

Thomas, also an Army Ranger, is currently the head of Joint Special Operations Command, the SOCOM unit that oversees terrorist-hunting missions from North Africa to Afghanistan, according to the Post. CENTCOM, based in Tampa, Florida, is responsible for U.S. security interests an area consisting of 20 mostly Middle Eastern and Central Asian countries — Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen.

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Radio Countermeasures.

U.S. Special Operations Command has ordered radio countermeasures equipment for its AC-130J and MC-130J gunship  variants.

Under a $32 million contract with Northrop Grumman, the company’s Land and Avionics C4ISR division will supply radio frequency countermeasures (RFCM) for the planes, according to the C4ISR&Networks web site.

Jeff Palombo, Northrop Grumman division vice president and general manager, said N-G’s solution “is designed to detect and defeat not only current radio frequency threats, but also to have the flexibility to protect our warfighters as the threat evolves.” In a Northrop Grumman press release, Palombio said the solution “is built upon our high confidence aircraft protection systems of today, coupled with an open architecture approach that enables our offering to grow to a multi-spectral, multi-function capability for the future.”

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Mabus VS. SEALS

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus is urging the Navy’s admirals to press forward with integrating women into the Special Ops Navy SEAL teams, over the concerns of Navy SEAL leaders.

140121-N-KB563-148 CORONADO, Calif. (Jan. 21, 2014) Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDs) students participate in Surf Passage at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. Surf Passage is one of many physically demanding evolutions that are a part of the first phase of SEAL training. Navy SEALs are the maritime component of U.S. Special Forces and are trained to conduct a variety of operations from the sea, air and land. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Michael Russell/Released)

Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUDs)
students participate in Surf Passage at Naval Amphibious Base Coronado. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st
Class Michael Russell/Released)

As Naval Special Warfare hammers out a plan to start admitting women into their very rugged training, Mabus is urging Chief of Naval Operations Admiral John Richardson to forge ahead. Mabus rebutted some of the concerns Navy brass raised about roadblocks to integration, the Navy Times reported.

In the plan it submitted, NSW argued that allowing women to join direct ground combat units would not increase readiness, and could even distract from it, according to the memo obtained by Navy Times.

January 12, 2016 at 1:33 am Leave a comment

SKILLS AND TRAINING: Marines Preparing for Future Actions in Coastal Mega Cities

Skyscraper Warfare?

Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers and U.S. Marines patrol streets in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal James J. Vooris)

Iraqi Special Forces Soldiers and U.S. Marines patrol streets in Fallujah, Iraq in 2004.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal James J. Vooris)

Back in September, we told what challenges Marine Corps planners and strategists think the corps will face later in the 21st Century. Much talk at the Modern Day Marine expo in Virginia focused on the kind of hybrid warfare seen in eastern Ukraine and the rise of teeming coastal mega cities around the world.

The future battlefield will probably look nothing like Afghanistan and Iraq, where Marines have been fighting for the last 14 years. Instead, urban areas near the sea and river deltas are expected to be the most likely environment, said Brigadier General Julian Dale Alford, commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab.

During a panel discussion at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Alford said the new environment will be “complex, congested, cluttered, contested, connected (with the cyber world), constrained and coastal.”

There’s plenty of evidence to back that conclusion.

A 2014 United Nations report noted that 54 percent of the world’s population already lives in urban areas — a proportion expected to increase to 66 percent by 2050.  Projections show that urbanization, combined with the overall growth of the world’s population, could add another 2.5 billion people to urban populations by 2050, with close to 90 percent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa, according to the 2014 revision of the U.N.’s World Urbanization Prospects report.

Of today’s 28 mega-cities (with a population of 10 million or more) 16 are located in Asia, four in Latin America, three each in Africa and Europe, and two in North America. By 2030, the world is projected to have 41 mega-cities with 10 million inhabitants or more. Many of those cities are in the littoral areas close to the sea.”That’s where our Marines are  going to fight. That’s where we’re going to have to operate,” Alford said back in September.

Speaking at an industry training, simulation and education conference in Orlando, Florida last month, Alford asked industry attendees to help develop ways to better prepare troops to fight in high-rise warfare, Defense News reported.

Alford said training concepts need to move quickly from “the three-block war,”  to the “four-floor war.” “We are going to be on the top floor of a skyscraper . . . evacuating civilians and helping people. The middle floor, we might be detaining really bad people that we’ve caught. On the first floor we will be down there killing them. … At the same time they will be getting away through the subway or sub terrain,” Alford said, Defense News’ Jen Judson reported from Orlando. “How do we train to fight that? Because it is coming, that fight right there is coming I do believe with all my heart,”  Alford added.
Nighttime view of Israel's Urban Warfare Training Center. (Israeli Defense Forces photo)

Nighttime view of Israel’s Urban Warfare Training Center.
(Israeli Defense Forces photo)

Then U.S. Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno commissioned the Strategic Studies Group, to develop a study on the challenges of mega cities in 2014. Click here to see it.

January 7, 2016 at 11:14 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (January 1, 2016)

Old School.

Photo By Marine Corps Sgt. Tyler Viglione

Photo By Marine Corps Sergeant Tyler Viglione

We thought we’d start off the new year with a blast from the past — but wait — this photo was taken just two weeks ago. Apparently they’re still doing some things the old school way in the U.S. Marine Corps.

Here we see Marine Sergeant Preston T. Brown instructing a recruit to respond louder to a question at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego, California December 18, 2015.

Happy New Year, boot!  And a Happy & Healthy 2016 to everyone else, too, from 4GWAR.

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EDITOR’S NOTE: Apologies to our regular readers in time zones east of America’s Eastern Time Zone, we got caught up in ringing in the new year last night and forgot to send the Friday Foto until we looked at the morning paper and remembered today  was Friday as well as January 1, 2016. Apparently the recruit in this photo isn’t the only one who needs to wake up. Happy New Year!

January 1, 2016 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

SEASON’S GREETINGS: Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines Show Holiday Spirit

Simon Says Do This.

 (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan B)

U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Nathan Burke

Electrician’s Mate 2nd Class Godson Bagnabana supervises inflation of an inflatable snowman on the flight deck of the USS Ronald Reagan (CVN 76) at Yokosuka, Japan, December 17, 2015.

Young Santa.

U.S. Navy photo by Grady T. Fontana

U.S. Navy photo by Grady T. Fontana

Joe Gutierrez hands out gifts to students during a community outreach event at an elementary school in Chanthaburi, Thailand, December 21, 2015. Gutierrez, a midshipman cadet from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, is assigned to the USNS Walter S. Diehl.

Military Sealift Command Far East along with partners in Singapore donated more than 1,200 English books to the Pong Nam Ron, Pliu and Ban Trok Nong elementary schools. To see more photos from this event, click here.

Fun and Games.

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Melanye E. Martinez

U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Cpl. Melanye E. Martinez

U.S. Marines, sailors, and soldiers play games at an early Christmas celebration with Romanian children at Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base in Romania, December 19, 2015. To see more photos from this event, click here.

Santa Wears Combat Boots.

U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

Alaska National Guardsmen and other volunteers deliver boxes of donated food and presents to the residents of St. Mary’s, Alaska, during Operation Santa Claus, December 5, 2015.

Nobody Gets Coal Here.

Air Force photo by Andrew Pena.

U.S. Air Force photo by Andrew Pena.

Service members and volunteers from approximately 30 groups and organizations came together to bring holiday cheer during Operation Santa Claus to the village of St. Mary’s, Alaska, Dec. 5, 2015. This year marks the 59th year of the program, which serves to bring Christmas to underserved, remote villages across Alaska each year. To see more photos from this event, click here.

Toys for Tots.

U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

U.S. Air Force photo by Alejandro Pena

Marine Corps Sergeant Mauricio Sandoval, front, and Master Gunnery Sergeant Jason Milbery, drive snowmobiles between McGrath and Takotna, Alaska, during Toys for Tots, December 10, 2015. Sandoval and Milbery are assigned to Delta Company, 4th Law Enforcement Battalion and 2nd Maintenance Battalion. To see more photos of this event, click here.

Seranading Seniors.

 New Jersey Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Mark C. Olsen

New Jersey Air National Guard photo by Master Sergeant Mark C. Olsen

U.S. airmen sing along with fourth graders from the Seaview School in Linwood, New Jersey, during the 15th Annual Holiday “Songfest” at the New Jersey Veterans Memorial Home at Vineland, N.J., Dec. 16, 2015. To see more photos from this event, click here.

December 28, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

FRIDAY FOTO (December 18, 2015)

Bending Light.

U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Eric C. Burgett

U.S. Navy photo by Seaman Eric C. Burgett

Light, motion and camera speed combine to create a weird imagery effect as a Marine Corps MV-22 Osprey launches from the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LDD-4) during an exercise in the Pacific Ocean. The Boxer Amphibious Ready Group is underway off the coast of Southern California completing a certification exercise.

December 18, 2015 at 12:27 am Leave a comment

WASHINGTON: Pentagon Opens All Combat Roles to Women in All Services

Historic Decision.

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation. (U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Capt. Kristen Griest, a military police officer and 1st Lt. Shaye Haver, an Apache helicopter pilot at their Army Ranger course graduation.
(U.S. Army photo by Patrick A. Albright)

Back in August we wrote about two female soldiers who were the first women to graduate from the Army’s grueling Ranger course. At the same time, we noted that Army Captain Kristen Griest and 1st Lieutenant Shaye Haver could not apply for a job with the Army’s 75th Ranger Regiment. The elite unit has a separate selection process, which wasn’t open to women.

Well, on Thursday (December 3) that all changed.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced that he is opening all jobs in U.S. combat units from the infantry to Special Operations Forces to all “who can meet operationally relevant and gender neutral standards.” That policy change will open all jobs to female soldiers, sailors, Marines and airmen — including positions in elite units like the Army Rangers and Navy SEALS — if they meet physical and other standards.

Carter’s decision caps of trend that began in 2013 when then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced he was dropping a longtime ban on women serving directly in ground combat units. Since then the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps launched studies of the potential impact of gender integrated combat units. “Both the Army and Marine Corps studies found that women participating in ground combat training sustained injuries in higher  rates than men, particularly in occupational fields requiring load-bearing,” said Carter’s guidance memorandum on implementing the change.

The Marine Corps was the only service to seek exemptions from the rule change, asking to continue excluding women from certain combat jobs. But that idea was strongly criticized by Navy Secretary Ray Mabus, who has authority over the Marine Corps. And Carter’s decision negated the Marines request for exemptions. The top Marine officer who sought the exemptions was General Joseph Dunford, who is now chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Washington Post. Dunford did not attend the Pentagon press conference where Carter revealed and explained the new policy. But in a statement issued by his office, the Post reported, Dunford said. “In the wake of the Secretary’s decision, my responsibility is to ensure his decision is properly implemented. Moving forward my focus is to lead the full integration of women in a manner that maintains our joint warfighting capability, ensures the health and welfare of our people, and optimizes how we leverage talent across the Joint Force.”

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.   (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

Members of the female engagement team assigned to 3rd Battalion, 25th Marine Regiment, teach a hygiene class to children at a village medical outreach in Boldak, Afghanistan, Nov. 22, 2010.
(U.S. Marine Corps photo by Lance Corporal Marionne T. Mangrum)

The services and Special Operations Command have until January 1 to submit their final, detailed implementation plans to Pentagon officials. They are all required to begin executing their individual plans no later than April 1, 2016.

December 3, 2015 at 11:59 pm Leave a comment

AMPHIBIOUS WARFARE: U.S. MARINE CORPS Picks BAE Systems and SAIC for ACV Prototype

Narrowing the Field.

The U.S. Marine Corps — looking to replace its 40-year-old amphibious assault vehicles (AAVs) — have narrowed the selection process to two vehicles: One made by BAE Systems, the other by SAIC.

The Marine Corps awarded a $103.8 million contract to Sterling Heights, Michigan-based BAE Systems Land & Armaments — which makes the existing AAV — and a $121.5 million contract to SAIC of McLean, Virginia for the Amphibious Combat Vehicle Phase 1, Increment 1 (ACV 1.1) . Both contractors will build 13 vehicles each for the engineering, manufacturing and development phase of the project, beginning in the third quarter of 2016, according to BAE Systems. The contracts also have an option for three more apiece after evaluation of their products.

BAE Systems ACV entry. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

BAE Systems ACV entry.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

The AAV has been in service for more than 40 years and many of its components and parts re obsolete and no longer being manufactured. And because of that the Marine Corps says, the aging AAVs are becoming increasingly costly and difficult to maintain.

The original planned AAV replacement vehicle, the Expeditionary Fighting Vehicle (EFV), was cancelled in 2011 by then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates for being too expensive and behind schedule.

Now the Marines are looking for a big vehicle that can carry at least 10 Marines (beside an operating crew of three), get them to the beach from a ship as much as 12 nautical miles off shore, at a speed of at least 6 knots. The ACV will have to be as rugged and protective as a tank but be able to carry troops far inland quickly, if necessary.

The ACV will also be outfitted with a precision weapons station, providing “significant enhanced lethality, according to the Marines.

The Marines launched a competition for the ACV 1.1. Manufacturers submitting demonstrators were BASE Systems and SAIC, as well as  Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics and a team including Advanced Defense Vehicle Systems.

BAE Systems’ offering is an advanced 8X8-wheeled, open ocean-capable vehicle, based on a platform developed by BAE partner IVECO Defence Vehicles. The vehicle seats 13 Marine infantrymen as well as a crew of three.

SAIC ACV on display at Modern Day Marine. (4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

SAIC ACV on display at Modern Day Marine.
(4GWAR photo by John M. Doyle)

SAIC, previously known as Science Applications International Corporation, is offering the Terrex 2 vehicle, which can carry 11 passengers plus a crew of three. It is equipped with Hybrid All-Wheel Steering for tight well-deck maneuvers on amphibious ships.It is equipped with Hybrid All-Wheel Steering for tight well-deck maneuvers on amphibious ships.

 

 

 

 

November 30, 2015 at 12:03 am Leave a comment

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