Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Dry Marines

We now have a reinforced Marine battalion in the CENTCOM area pretty much permanently stationed there. And it is ashore.

Good work. Is getting an Amphibious Ready Group to move a Marine air-ground task force too expensive? No problem if the potential areas of operation are within range of land bases:

I can also announce that as part of the Defense Department's continuing effort to improve our crisis response capability around the world, the U.S. Marine Corps has established today a special purpose Marine air-ground task force as part of the new normal and the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility.

This task force, comprised of approximately 2,300 marines and several aircraft, based throughout the region, will improve CENTCOM's ability to support theater security cooperation events such as exercises, as well as response to contingencies.

Planning for this deployment began in the summer of 2013, and therefore is not in response to the ongoing operations in Iraq. There is no timetable on the duration of this deployment, but ground and aviation units are expected to rotate on a regular schedule.

A Terrestrial Ready Group? Good idea. I suppose this is similar to the unit we are building up in northwest Australia.

I'll note that this also puts American boots on the ground in the region in case of an emergency in Iraq without putting boots on the ground in Iraq.

Now maybe we can forward deploy a carrier air wing forward without the carrier task force?

Sure, aircraft basing on land is poaching on Air Force territory. But even more than the Army's suspicion of Air Force commitment to ground support, the Navy simply doesn't expect the Air Force to commit to naval strike missions.

So this isn't poaching on Air Force territory as much as it is using air assets that we otherwise can't deploy forward on carriers by using land bases near the potential targets.

UPDATE: Since this new force was being compared to the one in Spain, I wondered if I was wrong to assume it is a battalion-sized ground element.

This article isn't explicit but in the comparison to the Spain-based unit which is smaller, I think I'm right. This is a land-based MEU.