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The Navy and Marine Corps teams from U.S. Fleet Forces Command (USFFC) and Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic (FMFLANT) joined together to participate in a Naval Integration Tabletop Exercise (TTX) Aug. 5-6.
The TTX, part of a long-term integrated training continuum, challenged the Navy and Marine Corps team to develop integrated maritime fires and effects elements with a focus on increasing lethality for the future naval fight.
The USFFC maritime operational center (MOC), created scenarios to fully leverage the strengths of both naval services.
“The scenarios developed by the MOC Exercise Support Team really stimulated conversation across all of the relevant topics and allowed subject matter experts to better articulate what capabilities they would bring to the fight and how those capabilities would be integrated with other aspects of maritime fires and effects,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. Erick Clark, lead FMFLANT planner for the TTX.
For Cmdr. Jason Rogers, USFFC lead TTX planner, the scenarios were lessons in rethinking how we fight, and how we can become a more adaptive lethal force.
“Any adversary hopes for a complacent, stagnant and predictable U.S. military, but with events like this it fosters familiarity and camaraderie, which leads to collaboration and the development of innovative ideas sure to keep the enemy guessing,” said Rogers.
Even though the TTX was on a limited scale, it provided valuable learning opportunities for both services.
“While the exercise was relatively small, every event set the foundation for cooperative staff work, which is cumulative in its effect toward naval integration,” said U.S. Marine Corps Brig. Gen. William Souza, deputy commander (Mobilization), Marine Forces Command/Fleet Marine Forces Atlantic. “The more often the naval services operate together, the higher the level of efficacy there will be, as demonstrated by the participants of this exercise who represented organizations at the Echelon II and III levels from both the Navy and Marine Corps.”
Souza went on to say that the primary intent for the participants was to be able to “identify, process, and resource requirements in an integrated operating environment between the Navy and Marine Corps in regards to maritime fires and effects, both kinetic and non-kinetic, so that they are better prepared to support the naval services during potential conflict with an adversary.”
We fight and win as a naval team by building Navy-Marine Corps integration through training like the TTX where we practice aligning concepts, capabilities, planning, and operations to provide integrated American naval power.
“Going forward, we must meet the challenges of the maritime domain and leverage the expertise within our enterprise so we can be better prepared to integrate, support and lead the Navy and Marine Corps team of teams to victory,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, USFFCs director of maritime operations. “We are better together when we integrate more closely so we can continue to remain a lethal force capable of adapting to the increasingly complex global security environment.”
A key takeaway for Rogers was how important naval integration truly is to solving maritime problems.
“The team learned how we can better support and complement the capabilities of the other service” said Rogers. “Most importantly we identified areas where a naval approach can better support speed of decision and speed of action on the battlefield.”
Because the scenarios could one day be a reality, Clark felt an immense responsibility to the force by simply being part of the conversation.
“It is in rooms like these that subject matter experts will influence the force of the future,” said Clark.
Over the course of two days, the team came up with ideas that could change how the maritime forces approach naval integration.
“The team drafted up recommendations for a potential entity to exist within the MOC,” said U.S. Marine Corps Col. Thomas Campbell III, USFFC fleet marine officer. “What’s left is to build that and start employing it during exercises to see how it needs to be refined or adjusted. It would give us a capability that we don’t really have right now, so it was exciting in that regard,” he said.
While the Navy and Marine Corps are outwardly different, their naval integration goal remains the same.
“The lexicon may be different in the Navy and Marine Corps, but events like the recent TTX will help us develop a common terminology to better align and integrate our staffs to ensure we have unified actions in maritime combat and other major naval operations,” said Bill Meade, USFFC director, Navy MOC Training Team.