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Old 02-19-2019, 12:23 PM
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Arrow The Marines are training to fight big wars again

The Marines are training to fight big wars again
By: Paul Szoldra February 19, 2019 at 12:04 PM
RE: https://taskandpurpose.com/corps-gre...er-competition

SAN DIEGO The Marine Corps is already training to fight a war against a "near peer" adversary such as China or Russia, notably shifting its focus from unsophisticated enemies in the Middle East to those possessing aircraft, communications jamming capability, and unmanned surveillance systems.

In response to a question from Task & Purpose on whether the Corps was training its grunts to deal with environments where GPS won't work, or one in which enemy aircraft is a major threat, Marine Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said, "the answer to your question is yes. The end of the [integrated training exercise] now is a five-day force on force," mentioning a training event held at 29 Palms, California that most Marines go through prior to deploying overseas.

Recently, Neller said, British Royal Marine Commandos were there to serve as the opposition force for two Marine battalions, and they didn't make it easy. Indeed, Neller mentioned that one battalion did much better than the other against the Royal Marines, but noted the unit that didn't perform as well was early in their training cycle.

Photo link: https://assets.rbl.ms/19206921/980x.jpg
A U.K. Royal Marine with 45 Commando keeps watch during Integrated Training Exercise (ITX) 2-19 at Range 220, Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, Calif. Feb. 9, 2019. Cpl. Conner Downey/US Marine Corps

"They had aircraft. They were able to jam [communications]. We had aircraft. And we fought force on force," Neller said Friday on the sidelines of the 2019 West Conference in San Diego. "Marine infantry now, they've gotta look up" since enemies in Syria and Iraq have increasingly used unmanned aerial vehicles, and near peers will have assets such as attack helicopters, and artillery.

The Corps has also been learning what to expect by seeing what potential future enemies are doing firsthand. Troops in Syria have shot down surveillance drones piloted by pro-Assad forces, while U.S. aircraft have encountered Russian jets in the skies above, according to Military.com. They've also dealt with disruptions to their communications and information operations meant to shape public opinion.

"We're going to continue to iterate this and you're gonna see more 'red air,'" Neller said, using a term to denote enemy aircraft. "We'll see the aviation [element] have to fight each other, and we've gotta get the electronic warfare in there. We can very easily pull the plug on comms, and we do that occasionally."

Besides bringing in the Brits, Neller told Marine Corps Times previously that he was trying to get Canadians to play an opposition force, as well as the U.S. Army.

Photo link: https://assets.rbl.ms/19206929/980x.jpg
Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert B. Neller speaks to media in front of the Amphibious Combat Vehicle (ACV) during a visit to San Diego, Calif., Feb. 15, 2019. Marines expect to begin to field the ACV in the fleet in 2020. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Olivia G. Ortiz)

"The Brits were very good at shutting off all their radios, because they went on wire," Neller said. "We used to have wire, we got rid of it. It's all gonna come back." As if on cue, after Neller spoke with Task & Purpose, a pair of reps from Harris Corporation pitched him on a prototype design of one of their radios that were physically linked together in the same way field telephones were, which they said would be useful for artillery and mortar positions.

"We have to be able to mask our signature, make [the enemy] elevate theirs, and find them, and then we can target them and maneuver against them to a position of advantage," Neller said. "We're at the beginning stages of this and it's going to get better and better."

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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

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Old 02-19-2019, 12:25 PM
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Arrow Marines are getting a taste of what war with Russia might look like

Marines are getting a taste of what war with Russia might look like
By: Gina Harkins, Military.Com February 09, 2019 at 09:57 AM
RE: https://taskandpurpose.com/marines-russia-war

Thousands of Marines carrying out crisis-response missions in the Middle East are getting a better look at what war with a potential adversary such as Russia might look like.

As the battlespace in the Middle East gets more complex -- with Russia backing Syrian forces and Turkey, a NATO ally, fighting on the opposite side of the conflict from the U.S. -- members of the Marine Corps' ground-based crisis response force are encountering new threats while operating in the region.

For a service that has spent nearly two decades fighting insurgent groups, it's providing a real-world look at what they can expect if they face off against more advanced enemies with sophisticated equipment.

Members of Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Force-Crisis Response-Central Command are operating across swaths of Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. And some of the tactics and equipment they're encountering could shape the way U.S. forces train for future fights.

"We always learn things through operating, but ... as we consider operating against near-peer and hybrid threats, there's a lot of commonality in the past," Col. George Schreffler III, who commanded the task force from April to December, told reporters at the Pentagon this week.

Schreffler said Marines and other troops must think about physical camouflage and hiding their electronic footprints "when any adversary [can look] at you with their own small unmanned aerial systems or their aircraft."

"We have to continue to train to minimize our signatures, both from an electromagnetic perspective and from a physical visual and audible observation perspective," he said.

Citing operational security, Schreffler declined to provide examples of the threats his Marines encountered during their deployment. But U.S. troops have shot down drones from pro-Assad groups that were flying near them, and American warplanes have encountered Russian jets above Syria.

Russia routinely disrupted U.S. communications in Syria,while also carrying out a sophisticated information campaign, Breaking Defense reported in the fall. Leaders called it multi-domain warfare, the website reported. Russia's efforts included discrediting U.S. and other coalition efforts while sharing feel-good videos meant to win over the hearts and minds of the locals showing Russian troops delivering food to civilians.

With so many actors operating in the U.S. Central Command space and inaccurate information being spread, Schreffler said commanders are aware that things can escalate quickly.

"Quite frankly, something could've happened in CENTCOM during the course of our deployment that would've required high-end skills against a peer or near-peer adversary," he said.

Now Schreffler and other Marines on that deployment are sharing what they saw with other U.S. and coalition leaders, so they know what to watch for. And the Marines, he added, are gaining valuable experience they can apply during future missions.

"There clearly are threats out there and, with our aircrews in particular, operating in Central Command is a significant opportunity to assess and deal with those threats and to fly in an environment ... where they're gaining significant operational experience," he said.

This article originally appeared on Military.com
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O Almighty Lord God, who neither slumberest nor sleepest; Protect and assist, we beseech thee, all those who at home or abroad, by land, by sea, or in the air, are serving this country, that they, being armed with thy defence, may be preserved evermore in all perils; and being filled with wisdom and girded with strength, may do their duty to thy honour and glory; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

"IN GOD WE TRUST"
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