Friday, September 13, 2019

From ... More of the Sea

The Marine Corps proposes ending the ability to land 2 brigades in one operation as the standard for Navy building and Marine Corps planning.


In short, the threat from ASCMs has evolved faster than the organic self-defense capabilities amphibious assault ships are equipped with. ...

[Marine Corps Commandant] General Berger explicitly acknowledged the high cost and vulnerability of amphibious assault ships when he wrote that the Navy and Marine Corps could not continue on the current path of "heavily investing in expensive and exquisite capabilities that regional aggressors have optimized their forces to target…"

So the Marine air-ground task forces that start at the battalion level are no longer the only way the Marines will think of deploying their forces, according to Berger:

It would be illogical to continue to concentrate our forces on a few large ships... We need to change this calculus with a new fleet design of smaller, more lethal, and more risk-worthy platforms.... Naval forces will persist forward with many smaller, low signature, affordable platforms that can economically host a dense array of lethal and non-lethal payloads.

So will this be the result?

If General Berger’s intent and guidance gets traction and results in significant and fundamental changes that will show up in future NDAAs, the Navy will buy fewer large amphibious assault ships and more numerous, cheaper, smaller, more agile vessels, as well as sea bases.

If so, perhaps we can experiment with armed amphibious warfare ships (based on World War II APDs made from old destroyers and destroyer escorts) that can carry up to a reinforced company of Marines--whether infantry, anti-aircraft, or coastal defense force designed to sink ships--that I proposed in Proceedings.

Such forces could operate independently or simply dispersed to come together to bring more power against a single objective from many directions.

In this post on the new Marine Corps concept, I address the need for large-scale amphibious operations once the seas are controlled. At that point the A2/AD threats no longer require dispersal.

The big legacy amphibs, I thought, could serve as sources of command and control, air power, and heavier reinforcements.

UPDATE: I really hate the term "agile" to describe ships or ground vehicles because I don't think that anything is agile enough to avoid a missile hit.

When I see "agile" I read "expendable." But it is not polite to say that out loud.