Author Topic: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations  (Read 7747 times)

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Offline Chris Pook

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USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« on: August 29, 2005, 10:55:53 »
http://www.defense-aerospace.com/cgi-bin/client/modele.pl?session=dae.4308111.1089903978.QPadasOa9dUAAESlMZk&modele=jdc_34

KevinB should like this direction. 

12 man squads, 1 man per squad qualified to call for Fire Support, Patrolling culture, independent action, up to 50 miles between Command and Platoons, train for several jobs and re-equip the individual rifleman.



 Equip The Man, Not Man The Equipment: Commandant Debuts Distributive Operations Concept
 
 
(Source: US Marine Corps; issued Aug. 26, 2005)
 
 
 TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. --- Since the beginning of the global war on terror, there have been significant changes in the way Marines fight. New technology and tactics put Marines one step ahead to gain the edge over their enemies. 
 
A new tactical concept that will eventually train, equip and empower small unit leaders to act confidently on the mission is currently in experimental stages. 
 
The 1st Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, based out of Marine Corps Base, Hawaii, recently spent two weeks in classes and hands-on training conducted by the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, using this new concept. 
 
The concept states, "We are harvesting a generation of junior officers and noncommissioned officers who are fully prepared to assume much greater authority and responsibility than is traditionally expected at the small-unit level." The operation gives increased decision making powers to small units, trained to a higher standard than ever before. 
 
"Distributive Operations is an approach that will create an advantage over the opposition through the planned use of separation and coordinated interdependent, tactical actions enabled by increased functional support, as well as by enhanced combat capabilities at the small-unit level," said John D. Manley, public affairs officer, Marine Corps Warfighting Lab. 
 
The Corps developed distributive operations in response to the rising global threat of terrorists and insurgents. 
 
"Marines fighting the Global War on Terrorism confront adversaries that are adaptive, decentralized and elusive," the concept states. "In order to maintain our dominance on the battlefield, it is essential that we continuously adapt our methods of warfighting while remaining a flexible, combined arms force." 
 
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee signed the concept for the operations in July and since then the Warfighting Lab has been developing combat initiatives that will apply to the Corps' maneuver philosophy. 
 
"Although the concept was signed and is an official commander's intent, the concept is currently under experimental status. Right now we're in our second month of an estimated 18-month experimentation phase prior to completion," said Manley. 
 
The concept proves that Marine small-unit leaders are often capable of making and implementing decisions despite their rank, said Manley. Concept applications provides rifle platoons, squads and fire teams the freedom to operate more independently. 
 
In urban fighting, small units often find themselves out of communication with the rest of the battalion. They need to be able to perform many of the functions usually performed at higher levels, such as calling for fire support. 
 
To conduct distributed operations the Corps will have to improve education, training and equipment of Marines in small combat units. 
 
"It will require installing a patrolling culture similar to what Marines did in Vietnam when squads patrolled the area far from the rest of the battalion," states the concept. 
 
One man in each squad would be trained to call fire support. As of now only three Marines in each battalion are trained for such duties. Enlisted personnel would perform tasks once restricted to officers. 
 
Reducing a squad from 14 to 12 Marines with the extra riflemen moving to Alpha and Bravo command groups would downsize the platoon. The command groups help run the platoon. 
 
Along with the concept of training a Marine to do several jobs is supplying the Marines with the proper gear. A "rifleman's suite" of issued equipment is also specified and includes an M-16A4 rifle with a collapsing stock more suited for urban combat, day and night rifle scopes, a bipod for improved marksmanship, a flash suppressor for better location concealment, a better bayonet, a personal radio to allow squad members to communicate over short distances without shouting, and a compass and global position system device. 
 
A flaw noticed during the war was the communications problem seen by ground units. Marine commanders were as much as 50 miles apart from their platoons. As the area of operations became isolated, commanders needed more stable communication ability. 
 
1st Battalion, 3rd Marines, is the first unit to experiment the concept and Manley says after their training, the Warfighting Lab will train with a unit from the 5th Marine Regiment in order to perfect the operation. 
 
Although still in its infancy, this concept integrates a new doctrine. The force structure, training, equipment and small-unit leader development will provide commanders with a deadlier weapon-an empowered and confident Marine. 
 
"We will preserve our tradition of being most ready when the nation is least ready," said Hagee. "While this mission is our number one priority, we also have the responsibility to prepare for the future." 
 
-ends-
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Offline George Wallace

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2005, 11:04:43 »
Too heck with KevinB   ;D I like it!

Looks like something that we kind of do, but due to budgetary restraints have allowed to fall to the wayside.   What is new about a RRB?   LRP are not new to us either.   Most of our guys also learn how to call in a FM.  Mission, however, is more aggressive in this piece.   Looks interesting.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2005, 11:24:57 »
I happen to agree with you George.  Many of the bits and pieces are already there. It is a matter of changing focus.

Could the concept carry over to the Armoured (Cavalry) Corps?
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #3 on: August 29, 2005, 16:35:11 »
Very cool - this is stuff Kev's been harping on for a while.

More thoughts later.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline KevinB

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #4 on: August 29, 2005, 17:03:08 »


 Though I disagree keeping the 20" barrel of the M16A2 - they had the original 6 KAC Midlength 16" guns at the warflighting lab...

(sheesh, and some people think I pull this stuff out of my A**  ;))

 The American's are WAY beyong us in having NCOIC's etc and pushing out responsibility (mainly due to I think their .soc pers being mainly Staff NCO's) 

We, as a CF entity, have fallen off the board on some of the big GWOT lessons  learned - specifically the FOO/FAC/MFC qualities needed at the groundzero.  A 3VP Sniper Det NCO (Q for those who know him)  gave a clear input in the realities of needing this reinforced into training (Q was also a Mortar MFC so he had the basic building blocks).  Speaking as a former Artillery FO Tech, there is a BIG difference is calling in fire on the ground and playing Voice Procedure ex's etc in a classroom to practise it.  Unfortunately with Mortars out of the Bn's (the 60 is okay in the bipod role but not really suited to teaching Fire Control) it is impossible for a CO and below to conduct the training that needs to be done in house - and with LFWA's Artillery in Shilo it does not lead to easy informal demo's etc.



 
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #5 on: August 29, 2005, 17:21:05 »
Geez Kevin: are you never satisfied?  What's 4" between friends? ;)

As to fire support - more serious - couldn't the 60mm be used to train for calling in fire?  I know there are different flight paths, safety distances and probably a whole bunch of other things as well, but couldn't the basic Designation and Adjustment procedures be trained using the 60mm so that the same MFC/FO/FAC trained person could call in any support from 60mm through 155s through JDAMs and Laser Guided Munitions?
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Offline Blue Max

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #6 on: August 29, 2005, 17:41:20 »
Lots that DND can learn from down south:

"We will preserve our tradition of being most ready when the nation is least ready," said Hagee. "While this mission is our number one priority, we also have the responsibility to prepare for the future."

Great line. :salute:
"We will preserve our tradition of being most ready when the nation is least read. While this mission is our number one priority, we also have the responsibility to prepare for the future."
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Michael W. Hagee

Offline KevinB

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #7 on: August 29, 2005, 17:42:35 »
The 60's lack of range makes it a poor tool to teach fire control with.   
Additionally until it beds in and you need a crew that knows how to use it (harder and hard to find - I ended up doing pretty much everything on one as a Demo - little slower but you get rounds where you want them)

 Artillery and the 81 are much more precise too -- but now that you mention it it might be good to use the 60 (if we ever got rounds for it beyond courses and pre deployment)

 Secondly we need junior NCO's qualified FAC (both fast air and ATK Helo) - not just Sgt's and above - since last time I looked the Section Commander had a lot more to do on a contact that simply play FAC.


On the 4"   ;)   Seriously the USMC needs to look at some of their own AAR's a little better - they keep screaming for the M4's - well I'd sell them the 16" Midlength as the perfect compromise.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #8 on: August 29, 2005, 17:58:13 »
Kevin:

What's the word on "field-swappable" barrels for the M16/C7 series?  Do I remember you mentioning that in the past or was that just for the C9s?

Troop gets issued rifle with CQB and Long Range barrels?  Wasn't that the thought behind the XM-8 and the SCAR concepts?
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2005, 19:45:00 »
I'm guessing you mean swapping the upper receivers?  As Kevin said, the 16'' gives you the best of both worlds; something I'm inclined to believe after looking over his research.  Leave the shorties for your mounted guys and the 20'' for your DMs.
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Offline Chris Pook

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2005, 19:58:50 »
Thanks for the clarification Infanteer. 

Though hang on a second.  Do you need to swap the receiver if you are maintaining the same caliber?  That was one of the tricks of the other weapons as I recall, that they could fire multiple calibres as well (5.56/7.62/6.8??).
« Last Edit: August 29, 2005, 20:02:11 by Kirkhill »
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Offline KevinB

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2005, 21:15:44 »
Swap uppers. C8FTHB to C7A2

 Some setups - like MGI's QCB setup and LMT's MRP and Leitner-Wise's MRS are barrel swap's.

Calibre changes require barrel, bolt and magasine changes - something that I personally dont see as practical outside the Tier1 network (even then I wonder why...)  

 Nothing really fires 7.62x39 well - the steel laquered cases gum up guns up that use direct impingment.   - Plus why use a 7.62x39 setup that cant use AK mags?   -Better off using battlefield pickup AK's...


Personally while SOF units swapping roles can justify the headaches of gearing their kit to the mission at hand conventioanl forces need to make a general purpose firearm - the tailoring of an optic to the mission is all that should be done.  To quote noted trainer Pat Roger's "we live in a 300m world"

 Ideally I'd like a 10" HK416 upper for CQB and mounted vehicle operations - and a 16" for all others - plus a 20" 7.62x51 rifle for DM work.  But I can live with a 16" from 0-500  ;).


Back to the topic at hand.

 We DO NOT have the current capability to act as the USMC intends.
We are lacking a real patrol radio (the 25/77 set had more rnage that the 522 does...)  We don't have the digital upload ability that the 522 can do (we just dont have the mod)

We lack STANO equiptment at the levels required.


 
 
« Last Edit: August 29, 2005, 21:28:50 by KevinB »
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Offline Matt_Fisher

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #12 on: August 30, 2005, 09:44:13 »
IRT the Marine Corps keeping the 20" barrel for the M-16A4, alot of this has to due with the control that the Weapons Training Battalion 'mafia' in Quantico has over small arms development within the Marine Corps.   These guys are focused primarily on long-range precision marksmanship and Known-Distance range courses of fire as well as competition service rifle shooting.   Thus you get a weapon that has a fixed buttstock and a 20" barrel.   Great for engaging targets out at 500m, but is this such a practical solution for a Marine in body armor, engaging in the close, urban fight?  

Alot of this 'dispersed' infantry concept was actually developed in the 90's through the Marine Corps' 'Hunter Warrior' experiments that had squads operating very independently.  At the time, communications and logistics were a real hindrance to the implementation of this.  Hopefully now that the technology has advanced, this concept will again be applied.
« Last Edit: August 30, 2005, 09:48:13 by Matt_Fisher »

Offline Thucydides

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #13 on: August 30, 2005, 15:55:44 »
And LCol Bank's article in CAJ 8.1 also shows the need to be able to operate in dispersed environments: http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_08/iss_1/CAJ_vol8.1_05_e.pdf

In this case the Army is operating squads anywhere from 5-20 km from the platoon HQ; somewhat different from mutually supporting squads which seems to be the Marine ideal, (how do you support someojne 20 km away?), but the emphasis on independent action seems to be the same.
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Offline Matt_Fisher

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #14 on: August 30, 2005, 16:52:23 »
The issue of logistical sustainment is very problematic when you look at the command centred/formation centred logistical model.

What may need to happen is more emphasis on the squad/section element to self-sustain.  Things such as lightweight water purification devices (ie. MSR Miox) can help reduce logistical burdens in that regard and more emphasis on squad's returning to 'foraging for food' whilst on independent duty in terms of using a military equivalent of a 'petty cash fund' to purchase foodstuffs from local markets.

Ammo and batteries for comm. gear still remain problematic though.

Offline ArmyRick

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2005, 19:51:10 »
Good article. It looks like the marines daring to think outside the box. Good on them.
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Offline plattypuss

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Re: USMC Readjusting - Dispersed Small Unit Operations
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2005, 15:11:26 »
I suppose I might have concern over the reduction in plattoon size.  Is the plattoon now risking losing the ability to "win the firefight"?  I understand that the ability to call for fire will help but I vaguely remember reading another article somewhere in this forum where the plattoon needs to have the ability to suppress the enemy and maintain enough combat power within itself to possible manuever an element to destroy the enemy (ie flanking etc).  The possible danger in the smaller plattoon is that it will itself become suppressed and while attempting to call for fire becomes outmanuevered by a wiley enemy.

I also wonder if this will impact on satellite patrolling reducing the plattoon comd element and making it more vulnerable as well? Just some thoughts from an Armoured guy who admittedly is not up with the latest infantry TTPs.
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