The flexibility and persistence of the U.S. Navy in forward areas provides an ideal staging “ground” for a Marine Corps which is much more than simply an amphibious force. The Marine Corps’ new operational vision, Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare (EMW), describes direct deployment from ship to inland objective, by air and by sea, with rapidly penetrating and self-sustaining assault forces as part of a joint force. It includes the more traditional doctrine associated with both the littoral battlespace and sustained operations ashore, and describes the synergies between operational concepts.
The expeditionary character stems from the historical purpose and orientation of the Marine Corps as an austere force in readiness. The maneuver qualities implement the objectives of Joint Vision 2020, with the unique attributes of Marine Corps amphibious and combined air capabilities. The Navy’s vision inSea Power 21 provides the essential context for this Marine vision, and underscores the power of the combined Navy/Marine emphasis on littoral warfare.
Recent operations in Afghanistan and Iraq have allowed the opportunity to put the concepts of EMWinto practice. While limited – in some cases substantially – by currently deployed technology, Marines have proven their ability to operate at considerable distances from the sea base and to maneuver rapidly with decentralized command and control while employing combined arms.
Planned new technologies and platforms will transform today’s limited EMW into full operational reality within a decade. Programs such as the MV-22 Osprey, the Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV), and the Navy’s amphibious landing assault ship LPD-17, will provide dramatic mobility improvements in the near-term. In the longer-term, the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the DD(X) destroyer and future prepositioning logistics ships will combine with the command and control architecture of ForceNet to provide the robust sea basing envisioned in EMW.
EMW is a revolutionary concept which will be implemented in an evolutionary way as new technologies and platforms join the force. It is a concept based on years of development and experimentation. Having embraced the concept of transformation, the Marine Corps and the Navy must now buy the capabilities to make it a reality.
The initial draft of this report was written by Myra S. McKitrick. All members of the Naval Strike Forum had an opportunity to review and modify the final report.
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