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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Part 1: Synopsis INTRODUCTION Changes in the international geopolitical scene and in U.S. defense orientation since the Cold War have impelled the Navy and Marine Corps to shift emphasis in their missions and their concepts of operation from the deep oceans and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) littoral to regional conflicts in coastal waters and adjacent land areas in other parts of the world. This report explores the significance of those strategic changes for many technological and operational aspects of these Services' ability to implement their revised mission. The study focused on amphibious operations along the ocean littoral, concentrating on the time from arrival of an amphibious force at a crisis area on the ocean littoral to the establishment of a secure lodgment ashore. The examination was oriented toward the 2005 to 2020 time period, looking beyond the generation of systems and equipment to which the armed forces are already committed. Barring sudden or unexpected changes in the international situation, the U.S. defense budget is expected to remain tight, with continuing severe pressures to reduce it even further. The anticipated stringent budget conditions suggest to the Committee on the Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century that while 50 years of progress will have brought the Navy and Marine Corps to a new level of military capability—e.g., in strategic deployment, amphibious assault speeds and distances, observation and communication, and many kinds of guided weapons—the coming period will see mainly consolidation of these gains rather than continued technological expansion. Still, the Services will face many problems of changing doctrine, acquiring new equipment, and budget allocation, simply to absorb the most important advances currently at hand. In addition, the Services will have to be on the alert for unforeseen technological advances (e.g., inexpensive automatic target recognition) that will clearly warrant exploitation. Such opportunities will place additional pressures on available resources and will impose a need for unexpected trade-offs within the expected tight budgets. The armed forces are all developing visions of their design and operations for this future environment. All Services recognize that they will have to operate jointly with each other, under joint command. While many inconsistencies remain in the Services' visions of the future —especially in the key areas of joint organization and operations and joint command, control,
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century communications, computing, and intelligence (C4I) applications—nevertheless, there are some common elements in the Services' concept: The U.S. advantage in any conflict is seen to lie in advanced technology, especially technology in areas related to the “war” for information, providing a near-real-time picture of the evolving conflict situation while denying such a picture to the opposition. Smaller forces must be allocated over broader areas of the world, using our information warfare advantage, our capability for rapid strategic deployment, and our high tactical tempo to focus our forces against key objectives rapidly while keeping the opposition confused until they are defeated. In keeping with the public's view of warfare that does not threaten the United States directly, we seek rapid success in military action with weapon systems that destroy only their intended targets. U.S. and friendly casualties and collateral civilian damage must be avoided to the greatest possible extent. Readiness for rapid and effective response to hostile military action anywhere is paramount. NAVY AND MARINE CORPS MISSIONS AND OPERATIONAL CONCEPTS The Navy and Marine Corps missions remain unchanged in substance, but their emphasis has changed. The Navy continues to be responsible for protection of the sea lines of communication (SLOC) and contributes to protection of the air lines of communication to overseas action locations. The missions of the Navy and Marine Corps together are oriented toward conflict along the oceans' littoral and some 200 miles inland, where approximately 70 percent of the world's population lives. The Navy and Marine Corps must be prepared to engage in a broad array of military activities in those areas, from operations other than war (OOTW), which may nevertheless involve combat, to major regional conflicts (MRCs). While experience since the Cold War shows that the OOTW will be the Services' most frequent operations, potential MRCs determine their overall force and budget requirements. The specific missions of the Navy and Marine Corps in dealing with regional conflict are as follows:
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century To maintain a forward presence and friendly engagement with local forces, to deter conflict, and to be ready for rapid response to crises requiring military action; To be a transition force when a crisis erupts, to engage rapidly and settle it, or otherwise to establish conditions and a lodgment for successful and effective entry of Army and Air Force reinforcements if they have had no prior basing; and To continue participation in joint and combined operations until the military action is successfully concluded. To carry out these missions, the Navy and Marine Corps are devising new concepts of Operational Maneuver from the Sea (OMFTS) to take full advantage of the new technical capabilities becoming available. The old operational concept consisted of making a landing, building up “on the beach” over a significant time, and then pushing out from there. This approach posed a number of serious problems, such as the time required for a buildup, the opportunity thus given the opponent to marshal resistance, and the vulnerability of the fixed supply base on land. The newly formulated concept calls for direct movement from the sea against the ultimate objectives—ports, airfields, communications—after defeating opposing forces by surprise and rapid maneuver over long distances alongshore and up to 100 miles or more inland. The following force and operational changes are being constructed to implement this evolving concept: Lighten the force. In their ultimate form the initial assault forces ashore would have organic mobility in the form of light vehicles and helicopters, and they would have sensors, communications, and close-in combat power including direct-fire heavy weapons and antitank and antiair weapons, but no tanks or artillery for indirect fire.1 Provide indirect fire support from the fleet. Such fire support is to be provided on call from over the horizon by attack aviation, surface-to-surface missiles, and extended-range ships' guns over the entire 1 The Marine Corps does not currently plan to eliminate artillery totally from the initial assault force in the new version of OMFTS. The extrapolation of the concept to other forms of long-range firepower is a limiting case that the committee used to explore the full implications of the concept. The implications for any version of the concept that involves less radical change are indicated.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century depth of the area of conflict, to respond to threats to the assault forces and the fleet. No major logistic base ashore. The logistic support base will remain at sea, in logistic support ships or on a mobile offshore base (MOB). Logistic support will be furnished from the sea as needed, until the objective area is firmly held. The committee accepted the Navy's and Marine Corps' new concept of OMFTS as a good one, well conceived to meet changing military needs. The new approach has the potential to remedy the problems posed by the old approach. However, the concept is as yet an evolutionary goal that implies a finely tuned set of systems and operations that could, if not implemented effectively, be fragile in actual warfare against a strong opponent. Weaknesses in the Navy and Marine Corps ability to implement the concept with current systems and modes of operation include the following: The responsiveness and effectiveness of long-range fire support from the fleet to forces far over the horizon are uncertain because Communications connectivity with those forces, the linchpin of battlefield awareness, is weak; Command and control, and targeting, are too slow, and combat identification (CID) is too uncertain; and Old and unsuitable patterns still dominate weapon system design and munitions acquisition. The current logistic system cannot support the new concept. The mine countermeasures arsenal is inadequate. Current planning scenarios neglect the need to deal with large populations in potential, usually urbanized, objective areas. The medical support system is oriented toward treating battle casualties, with insufficient attention to field medicine in the littoral environment. There are important gaps in current plans to protect the amphibious force.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Many opportunities to benefit from joint system elements are not yet recognized; coalition issues also remain to be addressed. The new OMFTS concept and associated systems will require resources beyond current plans. Each of these problem areas is treated in summary form below. The overall significance for the Navy and Marine Corps of integrating proposed solutions into a robust overall concept is then summarized. Full discussion of the rationale for the recommended actions is contained in Part 2, the main body of this report. COMMUNICATIONS CONNECTIVITY Extensive work is under way to build “wholesale-level” systems that will provide modern, responsive, flexible, and robust communications to convey raw and analyzed command and control (C 2), situational, and target data from National,2 theater, and forward forces' sensors to and among all major command centers ashore and afloat. Much more attention is needed to ensure connectivity between major headquarters afloat or ashore and fighting units down to platoon or squad level, especially during the highly mobile transition from ship to shore and beyond the horizon. The only available communications for the forward elements in OMFTS during that critical transition will be vulnerable, low-capacity, line-of-sight communications, which are not suited for calling in the essential fire support and logistic support that can ensure their success. The Navy and Marine Corps can take advantage of future commercial and Department of Defense (DOD) communications developments to design the needed “retail-level” systems. High-capacity links and terminals, using satellite and surrogate satellite transmission (e.g., via dedicated unmanned air vehicles [UAVs] with communication relays) to carry situational awareness, targeting, and logistic information at a high rate to and from forward forces that have small terminals, can be made highly mobile, robust, and jointly interoperable with other Services' and allies' systems. The following steps should be taken: 2 The term “National” in this report includes those systems, resources, and assets controlled by the U.S. government, but not limited to the Department of Defense (DOD).
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Plan the establishment and maintenance of robust communications connectivity as a joint endeavor with the other Services, National and civilian agencies, and coalition partners where appropriate. Establish programs to acquire Army extrahigh-frequency tactical terminals (single-channel antijam man-portable [SCAMP] terminal and secure mobile antijam reliable tactical terminal [SMART-T]) for assured mission-critical connectivity; Surrogate satellite communications for battlefield cellular and tactical communications relay, preferably using dedicated UAVs; The ability to connect with and use emerging commercial satellite communications; and The ability to use the emerging Global Broadcast Service for intelligence-related and situational data. Adapt the results of the telecommunications and information distribution parts of the Army's Battlefield Digitization Effort to Marine Corps use. The Navy and Air Force should also be involved to ensure joint interoperability. The Navy and Marine Corps should be involved in related Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) programs, such as the ongoing Battlefield Awareness and Data Dissemination (BADD) ACTD being conducted by the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA). C2, TARGETING, AND COMBAT IDENTIFICATION Situational Awareness and Targeting for Long-Range Fire Support Situational knowledge can never be perfect for either side in a conflict. For slimmed-down U.S. forces to gain a commanding advantage in situational awareness, their information must be mostly accurate, denied to the enemy, and usable at the right time. This can be achieved only by pooling and integrating all relevant Service and National resources. However, Service programs remain
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century narrowly focused, and resources to build joint situational awareness capability usable by all, including the Navy and Marine Corps, are meager. At present, the planned Navy and Marine Corps capacity to handle all-source imagery for targeting and situational awareness purposes is marginal. Data transmission from the Joint Surveillance and Target Attack Radar System (JSTARS) via the Joint Tactical Information Distribution System (JTIDS), and Advanced Synthetic Aperture Radar System (ASARS) data acquisition, will be limited. There are as yet no plans for the Navy and Marine Corps to obtain Defense Airborne Reconnaissance Office (DARO) high-altitude endurance (HAE) UAV imagery. Plans for use of shipboard Tactical Exploitation of National Capabilities (TENCAP) information by forward troops are not as far advanced as the Army 's TENCAP plans. Thus, under current plans, situational and targeting data are incomplete and take significant time—perhaps hours—to assemble, whereas forward combat forces need the information in minutes to attack and defend against maneuvering enemy forces. In addition, the joint C2 system to exploit the information is, in its current form, insufficiently responsive. The traditional Joint Forces Air Component Commander (JFACC) airspace control cycle time for planning air missions, including strike and close air support, is 72 hours. Ad hoc adaptations for close support that worked in previous conflicts will not be adequate for the future concept. Moreover, timely coordination of long-range surface-to-surface fires—at ranges of 60 to 200 miles—with fire support delivered by aviation is not currently provided for in the C2 system. Thus, forward forces cannot be assured that they will be able to rely on the long-range fire support that is intended to be an intrinsic part of their local combat capability. Finally, as the targeting system is currently constituted, accuracy in locating targets and in striking them with weapons that do not have terminal seekers may differ by tens of meters. Since overall system accuracy in striking targets depends on the combination of target location and weapon accuracy, the full capability of guided weapons that do not have either seekers or human-aided terminal guidance cannot be exploited without improving both target location and weapon accuracy. The following steps should be taken to remedy the problems sketched above: The Navy and Marine Corps should take the lead in building one joint capability for situation and battlefield awareness, based on all-source inputs and all-Service use of the products. (This assumes that land bases for the long-range aerial reconnaissance, surveillance, and targeting systems will be available for those systems to serve the fleet and amphibious ready groups [ARGs] in their likely operating areas.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century The assumption is reasonable, and the risk must be taken since the resources will not be available to build a parallel organic capability for the fleet.) The Navy and Marine Corps should exploit existing nonorganic sensors fully. This includes the following steps: Disseminating mobile tactical data receivers (Tactical Reporting and Processing/Tactical Information Broadcasting System [TRAP/TIBS]) more widely; Preparing to receive JSTARS moving target indicator (MTI) data early in a landing; and Supporting Marine Corps use of the Army Common Ground Station to exploit U-2 and JSTARS synthetic aperture radar (SAR) imaging data. The Navy and Marine Corps TENCAP program for littoral warfare should be aligned with the Army approach, including strengthened joint participation with the Army and Air Force TENCAP program offices. Navy and Marine Corps funding priority and acquisition authority for TENCAP activities should be increased. The Navy and Marine Corps should acquire the ground elements of the DARO UAV ACTD program and communication studies as their utility is demonstrated, and they should develop doctrine to use UAV-sensed data to plan maneuvers and to target fires over the horizon. The Navy and Marine Corps, in the joint arena, should Monitor the trend toward use of the Global Positioning System (GPS)-based World Grid System (WGS)-84 as a common grid by all the Services and National agencies, and use of universal time, for mapping, navigation, target location, and weapon delivery, and take all feasible steps to accelerate that trend; and Help establish priorities for the Defense Mapping Agency to prepare accurate WGS-84 maps and data banks for likely regional conflict areas of operation.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century The Navy and Marine Corps will benefit greatly from advanced sensor technology efforts currently under way and should encourage them to the extent feasible. Long-range fire support must be made immediately responsive to the forward ground commander, including a single coordinating mechanism to integrate air- and surface-launched fire into the objective area. Navy and Marine Corps C4I systems should be made interoperable with Army, Air Force, and National networks, and with allied systems. Combat Identification The fast tactical tempo planned for the future OMFTS concept increases the already high risk of fratricide. It is generally agreed that the key to solving this problem lies in accurate and timely situational awareness, augmented by query-response systems in some cases such as (but not limited to) air-to-air combat. Despite extensive activity in the area, or because it has not yet had time to achieve the ends desired, the current combat identification (CID) situation remains fragmented. Although the need to integrate all the programs is recognized, there is as yet no funded program aimed at such integration. Issues of air-ground combat have yet to be addressed; small-unit identification (at the platoon, squad, and section level) has apparently been omitted from the planning thus far; and funding for CID systems is uneven, with most funds still going into air-to-air systems, including expensive updates sought by NATO allies of the United States for the existing Mark-12 system used by the United States and NATO. The following steps should be taken, in addition to those already under way: Initiate a formal program to integrate all the separate Service CID projects into a coordinated system. Assign responsibility for air-to-ground CID. As part of this effort, add the Marine Corps Position Location and Reporting System (PLRS) and the Army Enhanced PLRS to the evolving architecture for small-unit identification and location through situational awareness. Review and revise as appropriate the design of the Navy Situational Awareness Beacon with Reply (SABER) currently in use to enhance its sturdiness in the face of information saturation and electronic
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century countermeasures, and to ensure that the update interval of the broadcast situational information is compatible with the expected fast operational tempo (situation changes measured in minutes). Shift some funding from the air-to-air functional area to other areas to achieve a more balanced effort across the board. (This may have to include setting a deadline and proceeding unilaterally on unresolved air-to-air Identification Friend or Foe [IFF] issues that have been under extended discussion in NATO.) The Services should perform continual joint simulation and training exercises to practice CID, including attention to interfaces and handoff problems where a large proportion of errors occur. WEAPON SYSTEMS FOR LONG-RANGE FIRE SUPPORT Guided Weapons: Capabilities and Needs Future long-range fire support systems will have to depend on the use of guided weapons to a much greater extent than do today's systems. High attack weapon accuracy is needed to minimize the necessity for repeat attacks, which increase the risk of collateral damage and loss of expensive aircraft. Advanced shoulder-fired, infrared (IR)-guided surface-to-air missiles (SAMs) that cannot be easily found or countermeasured, and low-altitude antiaircraft artillery (AAA) with lead computing and night sights are proliferating and will deny low-altitude tactics for accurate air attack (as happened in Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Bosnia). Requisite bombing accuracy of 3 to 13 meters cannot be achieved from the resulting 15,000- to 20,000-ft altitudes with free-fall weapons. Longer-range radar-directed SAMs can be countermeasured, but retain enough effectiveness to make weapon delivery from long horizontal standoff—up to 40 miles—desirable in some circumstances. Surface-to-surface fires will have to be delivered at ranges of 60 to 200 miles from launch. All these factors will require more extensive use of guided weapons to strike ground targets. The Services have many guided weapons for diverse uses, in inventory and in development (see Table 1 in Chapter 2 of this report). If all the plans under discussion are implemented, the DOD inventory will come to some 120,000 guided-attack weapons, still only about 7 to 10 percent of the total weapon inventory. Some important gaps in capability will remain, and larger inventories of the guided weapons will be needed for the expected greater usage.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century The Navy is working on extended-range (60 to 70 miles) guided shells with unitary warheads for naval surface fire support, to be fired from existing 5-inch or new, advanced guns. If budgets allow only one major new surface fire support system, a tactical ballistic missile with a range of up to 200 miles would be preferred to meet the demands of timeliness and weight of fire. A naval adaptation of the Army Tactical Missile System's (ATACMS) missile (already tested from a ship) or a strike version of the Navy's standard missile, extended-range (SM-2 Block IV ER) missile, both with submunition warheads and launchable from a ship's vertical launch system (VLS) bay, could be early candidates for a new surface fire support system. The much larger and more flexible warheads of these new missiles would facilitate early destruction of opposing forces, in preference to the classic artillery usage —impractical for the small forward OMFTS elements—of simply suppressing them prior to attack on the ground. The Navy might consider having some dedicated surface and submarine fire support ships capable of launching many such missiles, in addition to the available and planned surface combatants with their thousands of VLS launch tubes. Additional needs for the long-range fire support systems include targeting pods for guided weapon delivery by all Navy and Marine Corps strike aircraft; a weapon to carry out the missions planned for the canceled Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile (TSSAM) (such a weapon is under consideration); and a naval version of the U.S. Air Force Wind-Corrected Munition Dispenser. Reducing Guided Weapon Costs The high unit cost of guided weapons has militated against their acquisition and use in large numbers. Feasible changes in guided-weapon design, utilization, and acquisition can significantly reduce average unit costs of such weapons, making larger inventories and broader use more feasible. Weapon Design Elaborate seekers and data links are the most important cost drivers in guided weapons. In many cases these weapon components can be simplified. Elaborate seekers are needed only for special targets where extremely high accuracy (e.g., 3 meters or less circular error probable [CEP]) is needed and there is no line of sight to the target. In other situations, autonomous GPS/inertial guidance can be used. Laser guidance can be used when a point target is in view of an observer or of a launching aircraft and weather permits. For distant targets, fiber-optic lines can provide the analog of television guidance with an unjammable radio link.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Lift The initial assault echelon in OMFTS will be widely dispersed in hostile territory without land lines of communication. Initial resupply of the forward combat elements will have to be by air, using mainly the vertical lift aircraft (CH-53E and V-22) organic to a Marine expeditionary force (MEF). Augmentation of this lift for resupply by precision airdrop will be feasible in some circumstances. Resupply requirements have been estimated in this study using a battalion (minus) of 700 people as the initial forward maneuver element. Organic artillery would constitute the greatest part of the heavy lift load. About 20 CH-53E sorties would be needed to transport a six-gun battery with all its vehicles and initial ammunition load. Artillery ammunition would constitute about 80 percent of the battalion's daily resupply tonnage (aside from bulk fuel and water). Calculations of lift sorties required show that the available vertical lift force in an MEF could support two battalion (minus) landing teams with artillery, at the distances being considered, or possibly three landing teams if the lift is stretched to its probable limit. Without the artillery, the same lift could support four landing teams comfortably, and possibly five. Thus, a substantially larger and more capable force could be landed forward in the first assault echelon if the force were to rely wholly on long-range fire support from the fleet to deliver heavy firepower on the enemy. A much greater weight of fire could be delivered that way. Building the commanders' confidence that the long-range fire support will be there when needed and called for, with the same reliability and responsiveness as organic artillery, will require all the force and system changes described previously, and much experience in exercises and operations. The same low-altitude air defenses described above will have to be overcome to make the airlift to forward units feasible. This will require some combinations of appropriate choice of tactics (e.g., low-altitude penetration at night); sanitizing transit areas by fire (e.g., using the tactical missiles described above); and development and use of passive and active countermeasures. Responsive logistic support from supply bases at sea will require supporting communications that have high precedence, capacity, and timeliness and that are treated as “tactical” in nature rather than “administrative,” as logistic communications are usually treated. Follow-on Support to the Initial Assault Echelon Depending on the opposition they meet, the forward combat teams will be able to operate autonomously for a time measured in days before linking up with follow-on assault echelons that can integrate the entire operation into a
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century single maneuver force having secure resupply links to the forward elements. This force will need a few days' resupply “on the beach” (compared with ~60 days previously), in addition to the main offshore support “warehouse, ” to smooth the flow of supplies and to ensure against interruptions. All these needs will require redesign of the follow-on assault and support echelons of the total landing force. If there is not a secure port, unloading to shore will have to take place through logistics-over-the-shore (LOTS) systems. These systems are currently limited to operation in conditions less than sea-state 3 (3½- to 5-ft waves). Ongoing efforts and proposals to extend LOTS capability to, and possibly beyond, the upper limit of the sea-state 3 barrier include modular causeways, stabilized cranes, and a proposed (proprietary) landing ship quay/causeway (LSQ/C). These efforts, which would extend operating time to an average of 90 percent of the total time available, from 70 percent or less, must be pursued vigorously. Means should be devised to load the landing craft air cushion (LCAC) amphibious landing support craft at sea from logistic support ships; these support aircraft could serve as lighters for offloading up to 85 tons of supplies per trip (depending on distance traveled) after their amphibious assault mission is completed. Improved Distribution Efficiency The logistic packaging system will, according to emerging DOD plans, be revised to package unit-specific loads in standard 8 ft × 8 ft × 20 ft containers that can be offloaded and delivered in appropriate sequence as troops need their contents. Electronic tagging and other means of tracking supplies from the continental United States (CONUS) to point of use—part of the DOD's “Total Asset Visibility” program—can prevent lengthy unloading, sorting, and searching for needed supplies (as happened in the Gulf War), and can reduce much excess supply in the logistic pipeline. The Marine Corps is pursuing such efforts vigorously; the Marines Corps, the other Services, and the U.S. Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) must join forces to standardize the entire system. The logistic support ships and maritime prepositioned ships (MPSs) will eventually have to be adapted to the new distribution system. They will have to be configured for easy access to any container on board, repackaging of loads, maintenance and repairs of equipment, and operation of the MEF vertical lift aircraft.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century At-Sea Basing The Joint Staff is reviewing the concept of a mobile offshore base (MOB), which would use an extension of oil platform technology, and that could be moved from one part of the globe to another, would incorporate the entire supply system offshore (outside sovereignty constraints), and could operate aircraft as large as the C-130 or even the C-17. There are many unknown factors in comparing the relative pros and cons of the MOB with those of a logistic fleet offshore. Studies and simulations leading to a Cost and Operational Effectiveness Analysis (COEA) of the MOB, and also of the LSQ/C, should be undertaken. COUNTERMINE WARFARE All potential opponents to Navy and Marine Corps amphibious operations, whatever their level of sophistication, can be expected to use mines and obstacles in the approaches to beaches, on the beaches, and in inland landing zones and transit routes. If not appropriately countered, the mines can stop operations from the sea because they can attack all Navy and Marine Corps means of movement: ships, amphibious landing craft, and landing aircraft. Building a countermine capability for OMFTS is a matter of devoting enough management attention and resources to obtaining the needed capabilities. The objective must be to transform mine warfare from “show-stopper” to “speed-bump” status. Many countermine capabilities are available, in development, or conceived. Mine clearance in deep water (over 40 ft) is well understood; it is a matter of having enough resources. The critical zones for amphibious operations are the shallow-water and surf zones and the beach. Mines can also threaten inland landing zones, land vehicles, and ground vehicles. Among the capabilities that should be deployed or brought to fruition are the following: Pre-hostilities intelligence on land and sea mine capability, assets, plans, and mineable areas, with subsequent surveillance of movement to possible deployment areas and denial of emplacement in international waters. Pre-assault reconnaissance, covert where possible, of assault lanes and landing sites, accompanied by mine neutralization in critical areas.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Rapidly deployable line charges and explosive nets for neutralizing mines in the very shallow water, surf zone, and craft landing zone. Means for rapid clearance of beach and beach approach obstacles. Precision emplacement of large explosive charges (PELEC). (This capability, which has been recommended4 but not yet developed, involves heavy bombers dropping strings of appropriately timed, guided 10,000-lb bombs along the line the Marines need cleared to create a 50-yd-wide channel to and onto the beach. This is the only approach that can, within the time required for surprise and tactical flexibility, clear all kinds of mines and obstacles in the surf zone and craft landing zone while creating a deep enough channel through the surf zone. For this reason, it must be developed, tested, and, if successful, deployed as rapidly as possible.) Means for finding and clearing wide area and buried mines from aircraft landing zones. (Three Army Advanced Technology Demonstrations [ATDs] may provide partial capability that the Marines could use, but more work in the area is needed; the Marine Corps should continue to work with the Army to seek solutions to the shared problems of finding, evading, or neutralizing land mines.) The Navy and Marine Corps must assign staff and operational responsibility for mine and countermine warfare and build the requisite expertise at all levels. They must build enough kinds of mine clearance or neutralization capability, and have large enough amounts of it, to ensure that mines do not stop or defeat amphibious operations at critical times. This is an urgent problem, as the Gulf War demonstrated. ADDITIONAL MAJOR PROBLEM AREAS Military Operations in Populated Areas Military operations in populated areas will be common, even in MRCs. The Marine Corps needs to enhance its capability to deal with either friendly or hostile populations in areas, usually urbanized, that are the objectives of 4 Mine Countermeasures Technology, Volume I: Overview (U) (classified), National Research Council, Naval Studies Board (National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., 1993).
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century amphibious operations, and to integrate and use such capabilities that the Army can bring to the field. The following capabilities are needed: Regional area and language expertise, ability to establish local intelligence networks, ability to preempt and exploit or deny local communications media and psychological operations. Combat capability in areas with buildings, including technology from periscopes to robots to scout around corners, very lightweight non-line-of-sight communications, sensors to see through walls, and minimally destructive weaponry to isolate and overcome armed resistance (all of which are feasible). The ability to deal with displaced and often hostile populations, including the means to house and feed them quickly, to channel movement non-destructively, and to manage hostile mobs by non-lethal means. Many non-lethal weapons and techniques may raise ethical and policy issues that should be reviewed in advance, to enable rapid policy decisions about their use when needed. The ability to extend the focused intelligence and combat techniques to operations against sub- and transnational groups (drug lords, terrorists, and bandits). Field-Oriented Medical Support Navy and Marine Corps medical support is tailored mainly to hospital treatment of the wounded (ashore and afloat). However, future locations and conditions of military operations will likely mean many more casualties from disease and climate conditions than from combat for the Marine Corps. Also, local populations with whom the Marines interact will have many medical problems that the Marines may have to treat or deal with in other ways. Therefore, Navy and Marine Corps medicine must be expanded to deal with expected field conditions along the littoral as well as combat casualties. Protecting the Force The combination of the carrier battle group (CVBG), ARG, and MPS ships, with follow-on logistic support, will present prime targets to capable opponents in a conflict. Many programs are under way to meet this threat, including, inter alia, cooperative engagement capability for air defense, antitactical missile defense, and air superiority systems. Treatment of these capabilities per se is
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century beyond the scope of this study. However, the following needs for defending the force are particularly worrisome in the present context and warrant special, additional emphasis: Defense of the logistic ships against proliferating, stealthy, or supersonic sea-skimming cruise missiles; ASW to defeat proliferating, modern quiet submarines in the relatively noisy and shallow waters off the littoral; Warning of tactical ballistic missile launch and probable target zones, with standard operating procedures (SOPs) to enable activation of passive protection measures; and Capabilities to operate in the presence of hostile weapon-of-mass-destruction capability, including, beyond offensive deterrent and retaliatory capabilities, special attention to Doctrine and training for continued operations in case weapons of mass destruction are used; Developing (where needed) and deploying early warning systems against chemical and especially biological weapons; and Developing and having available protective gear, treatments, antidotes, and vaccinations, as appropriate, against chemical and biological agents. JOINT AND COMBINED OPERATIONS All that precedes in this synopsis is based on the assumption that all operations will be joint and most often combined. Many of the recommended capabilities incorporate other Services' systems and integrate Navy and Marine Corps operations with theirs. Key areas of emphasis to refine joint operations include: Joint interoperability for tactical command, control, communications, computing, and intelligence (C4I) and weapon systems; Common WGS-84 grid and universal time, with all maps in the grid;
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century A multi-Service (and allied) coordinated approach to CID; The ability to receive, process, and use all-source surveillance and targeting data in a timely fashion; Robust communications connectivity to forward units using multi-Service, National, and commercial communications assets; and Joint command and control of theater logistics operations, with equal priority given to logistic and operational activities. In addition, the Services must train together frequently, using gaming, simulation, and exercises. A personnel exchange program would also help joint Service integration in planning, training, and actual operations. Finally, SOPs, command, control, and communications (C3) doctrines, and equipment interoperability agreements for combined operations should be worked out with potential coalition partners (as has been done in NATO). Combined training and personnel exchanges, as in the joint arena, NATO, and Korea, should be extended to operations with other possible coalition partners. RESOURCES Operational preparation of the new approaches to warfare along the littoral will likely fall within currently foreseen operating budgets. However, full implementation of these approaches will reduce additional resources to secure the recommended capital equipment and munitions. As a reminder, the new approaches include changing the C4I system to improve situational awareness, communications, targeting, CID, and weapon delivery; re-engineering the logistic system; equipping attack aircraft with targeting pods and connections to transmit GPS P(Y) code location data to weapons before and during launch; improving countermine warfare capability; improving ability to operate in populated areas; and adding resources for force protection. Guided-weapon inventories are assumed to be increased by about 50 percent over current plans, with the entire increase going to the Navy and Marine Corps. A rough estimate of the cost of these changes comes to about $20 billion, distributed over a 20-year period when acquisition schedules are accounted for (the assumptions leading to this estimate are discussed in Part 2 of the report). There could be offsets from guided-weapon cost reduction, reduction of excess supply in the logistic system, more reliance on joint systems and task sharing, and fewer tanks and artillery in the initial assault echelon, amounting to an estimated $5 billion in savings.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century The net budget requirement would amount to an average cost of $¾ billion to $1 billion per year, with year-to-year fluctuations caused by individual system acquisition schedules. Given the anticipated tight budgets and commitments to major systems in acquisition, it appears that trade-offs among major areas of development, procurement, and force operation will have to be made to achieve the necessary force changes. As examples of the implications of such trades, if personnel-related costs from the Operations and Maintenance (O& M) and Personnel accounts were the main source of funds needed for the changes, an average 3 to 4 percent shift in those funds to capitalization and munitions acquisition would be implied. If all procurement accounts except weapons were the source of the funds, then a funding shift of 6 to 8 percent would be implied to achieve the advanced force capabilities. Although they would be difficult, such funding shifts are judged to be within the feasible range. Indeed, great caution would have to be exercised in making the exchanges. For example, only after making the modernization investments would it be prudent to make compensating personnel and O&M reductions. SIGNIFICANCE OF THE OPERATIONAL AND FORCE CHANGES Force Design and Support The Navy and Marine Corps will have to equip themselves differently and train differently for littoral warfare at the theater level to implement the new concepts of operation. These new concepts will involve integrating sensors, exploitation of the sensor data, communications, weapons, mobility, and support in a total systems approach. The changes needed affect the sizes and operational characteristics of the echelonment in an amphibious assault, and the logistic system as a whole. These force and equipment changes will require systematic revision of doctrines, concepts of operation, tactics, and training. The advanced concepts will need gaming, simulation, and “red-teaming” to make them sturdy and resilient to the unexpected. Great Expansion of the Lodgment Area Successful implementation of the new concepts will expand the area of the secure initial lodgment from the typical 30 to 50 square miles under the old concept to 2,500 to 3,000 square miles. An area as large as 5,000 to 10,000 square miles would be dominated by the fleet-based surface and air fire support of the landing force, up to 75 to 100 miles inland. The time required to establish a lodgment of this size will be greatly reduced.
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Shorter Campaigns, Fewer Casualties, Less Damage History is littered with failed predictions of expected lengths of wars. They depend on many unforeseeable factors that unexpectedly dominate a situation. However, some assessment of the potential impact of the much expanded use of guided weapons is possible. The opening phases of a major campaign typically include 10,000 to 30,000 fixed, difficult-to-move, or menacing force targets—air defense installations, C4I sites, airfields, major weapon storage and fixed-launch sites, ground forces in bivouac or defensive sites, and so on—that must be neutralized or destroyed prior to or early in ground force engagement. Many analyses through the years have shown, and Gulf War experience confirms, that this can be accomplished with up to an order-of-magnitude fewer weapons and aircraft sorties if mainly guided weapons are used. Time to complete this phase of the campaign would be reduced correspondingly, as would friendly losses and collateral civilian damage. It is not unreasonable to expect that, to the extent that major enemy ground force operations can be inhibited by loss of these supporting targets, the effectiveness and duration of their efforts in the war can also be reduced. These gains from using guided weapons extensively can yield a very high return on investment. Major regional conflicts cost billions of dollars per week. Even if guided weapons constitute 50 percent of weapon usage, their direct cost would be 10 percent or less of this, and the investment could be recouped by saving a week or two of war. CVBG+ARG+MPS combinations could accomplish missions beyond their current capacity. The exigencies of budgeting in a tight economy make it difficult to spend known sums today in the expectation of savings in wars whose time, place, and duration cannot be predicted. However, the expenditures would enable the nation to bank known, and large, capability advances to meet an uncertain future. PRIORITIES The new concepts of operation under consideration by the Navy and Marine Corps cannot be implemented successfully without equipping and operating jointly with other U.S. forces and agencies and accomplishing the efforts described in this report for Situational awareness, communications connectivity, targeting, C 2, and CID for long-range fire support; Use of guided weapons, their cost reduction, and application to OMFTS;
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The Navy and Marine Corps in Regional Conflict in the 21st Century Re-engineering the logistic system; and Countermine warfare. The additional efforts described toward operating in populated and urbanized areas, protecting the force (especially against weapons of mass destruction [WMD] use), providing field-oriented medical support for forward forces, and preparation for combined operations, are also in the “must-do” category.
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Representative terms from entire chapter: