FORT BELVOIR, Va. – August 25, 2015 – Recently, the U.S. Army Rapid Equipping Force hosted General David G. Perkins, commanding general of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command. This was Perkins’ first visit to the REF since the organization began its transition from Headquarters, Department of the Army to TRADOC.
CARLISLE, Pa. (Army News Service, Aug. 27, 2015) — Army War College, or USAWC, students began research, Aug. 27, on the future size and force mix of all Army components – one of five research projects that faculty-student teams will produce with Army research funding.
FORT BLISS, Texas (August 27, 2015) — Several unit command posts and a full fleet of tactical vehicles are built and ready to be equipped with the most advanced technology the Army has to offer.
WASHINGTON (Aug. 26, 2015) — With a pressing need for an improved AN/MPQ-64 Sentinel radar vehicle platform and no time to procure a new platform or radar, the Program Executive Office for Missiles and Space, or PEO MS, teamed up with Letterkenny Army Depot, or LEAD, Pennsylvania, to modify an existing platform in what could be a model for partnership with the organic industrial base. This effort, which moves the Sentinel from a modified High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or HMMWV, to the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles, or FMTV, platform without requiring modification of the radar itself, overcame a number of challenges and led to several process improvements for project and product offices to partner with Army depots.
The Combat Studies Institute has enhanced the well-known work titled “Wanat: Combat Action in Afghanistan, 2008” with the iBook format. This updated version incorporates digital 3-D terrain views, video from both U.S. and insurgent perspectives, infographics and other interactive features.
The Army, Navy and Marine Corps took the first step in exploring how the joint force can leverage seabasing as a means to conduct expeditionary maneuver during an exercise in Suffolk, Virginia, Aug. 3-7.
The multiservice exercise, which took place at the Lockheed Martin Center for Innovation, allowed more than 75 participants to look at the potential for U.S. forces to project power from the sea.
Seabasing is defined as the deployment and employment of forces without reliance on land, which is not the typical Army process, said Lt. Col. Trent Lythgoe, the exercise lead for U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command’s Army Capabilities Integration Center.
“The typical Army process we’re used to is: we find a base – a sea port, airport or both, we fly our equipment in, download it, and from there, we project combat power and land forces,” he said.
The problem with land-based staging areas is that there are only so many sea ports and airports, Lythgoe explained, and they’re very easy to find – from an enemy perspective. Seabasing removes that component – and that weakness – from the Army paradigm.
“If we can project combat power through a sea base, that base can be here today, or it could be 50 miles away tomorrow,” he said. “It’s much more difficult to target than a fixed land base, oriented around a deep-water sea port or airport.”
Lythgoe said this exercise was the first step in assessing how the joint forces might work together – “a crawl-stage to explore,” where the maritime component served as the lead – because of their experience with amphibious operations – and the Army played a supporting role.
“We thought it would be beneficial to have the Navy and the Marine Corps in the lead, and have us follow their lead to learn,” Lythgoe said.
Throughout the week, exercise participants from the three services tackled several scenarios and discussed the possibilities as well as the challenges associated with each scenario.
“How does the Army work on the sea base – that’s what we’re trying to figure out,” said U.S. Marine Corps Lt. Col. James Cherry, Expeditionary Warfare Collaborative Team deputy director. “How can we get the Army operating from, or through, a sea base in much the same way we do? That’s not turning them into us, but how does the Army become relevant in this type of operation – that’s what we’re working on.”
Cherry said there was a lot of good discussion – and a lot of questions – from subject matter experts across the Department of Defense.
“Each one brings their own specific area of expertise,” he continued, noting that participants weren’t afraid to discuss the issues associated with the scenarios. “They were able to all come together and notice when we had faulty assumptions and … they weren’t afraid to stick their hand up and say ‘Hey – you’re going down a rabbit hole, that’s not the way to go – think of a new way to do it.’”
Amidst all the scenarios, discussions and questions, the ultimate goal of the exercise was to establish a foundation to use in creating a multiservice concept of operations in the near future.
“We are aiming to get together with Army, Navy and Marine Corps concept developers and develop a multiservice concept of operations that will describe how the services will employ seabasing. We hope that will happen in the spring of next year.” Lythgoe said.
Ultimately, seabasing will not change the Army’s mission, Lythgoe explained, but what may change is how the Army accomplishes its mission.
“We’ll never completely get away from port, but if we give Army forces and the joint force commander a way to project forces from and through a sea base, that’s powerful.”