Cyberwarfare is a primary concern for the U.S. Marine Corps as it continues its rebalance toward the Asia-Pacific region. With the growing involvement of cyber in every operation along with specific concerns of virtual attacks from large nations in the region, emphasis on the new domain is becoming increasingly important.
Marine Corps Technologies
U.S. Navy and Marine Corps officials describe the K-MAX unmanned cargo helicopter as having met or exceeded requirements in Afghanistan, but they also report that the Marines have not yet developed requirements for the system to become a program of record and say they are unsure what effect sequestration will have on the system.
Declining defense funds and the rise of China may hinder strategic rebalancing efforts.
Whatever the threat; wherever the conflict; whatever the mission; the future U.S. military largely will be defined by forced budget constraints. The ongoing fiscal crisis, haunted by the twin specters of sequestration and continuing resolution, will have a greater say in shaping the future force than either adversaries or advances in weapon technologies.
As they put the necessary pieces in place, Marines are mindful of tight resources and are seeking help from industry.
For the past year, U.S. Marine Corps technical personnel have been implementing a strategy to develop a private cloud. The initiative supports the vision of the commandant while seeking to offer better services to troops in disadvantaged areas of the battlefield.
Looking past the alligators close to the boat, scientists prepare for the wars of tomorrow.
After a special operations deployment, handling state-of-the-art communications technology tops the list.
Back from a nearly year-long deployment to Afghanistan, the 1st Marine Special Operations Battalion already is working to apply lessons learned to training for the next deployment. As the battalion prepares for its next mission, it is reflecting on what its Marines learned about how they train, how their equipment worked and how they will prepare themselves for the future.
The upgraded RQ-7 could play a significant role in the Asia-Pacific region.
West 2013 Online Show Daily, Day 1
Quote of the Day:“’Flat’ is the new ‘up’ in this defense budget environment.”— Robert O. Work, undersecretary of the Navy
The military services are facing potentially crippling constraints if sequestration takes place in March. Defense officials foresee the likelihood of draconian budget cuts being imposed that will cripple the force just as it is being counted on to assume new strategic missions. In most cases, the services will have to choose to sacrifice some capabilities so that others will remain part of the force. In worse-case scenarios, the U.S. military may be unable to meet its obligations when a crisis emerges.
These and other points were hammered home by speakers and panels on the first day of West 2013, the annual conference and exposition hosted by AFCEA and the U.S. Naval Institute in San Diego. While the event has the theme of “Pivot to the Pacific: What Are the Global Implications,” the first day’s discussions largely focused on the dire consequences of the fiscal cliff as well as potential solutions to avoid completely gutting the military force. Audiences generally were aware of the looming budget crisis, but many were surprised by the bluntness of the assessments offered by high-ranking Defense Department civilian and military leaders.
The shift of U.S. power to the Asia-Pacific will not be successful without an infusion of new technology and a dedicated effort to defeat a wide range of adversaries. The new strategic emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region poses a new set of challenges, mandating solutions that run the gamut from technological capabilities to cultural outreach and diplomacy.
The program may be revolutionary, but its product is evolutionary.
Despite its sea-change approach to acquisition, the U.S. Navy’s Next Generation Enterprise Network program is being designed to evolve from its predecessor, the Navy Marine Corps Intranet, in bids submitted by the two teams vying for the multibillion-dollar contract. The two bidders are focusing their efforts on the transition between the two networks, which is a process that will take several years.
The nature of forward deployment is changing as the United States adjusts to its Pacific rebalancing.
The U.S. Marine Corps is testing a set of systems that would enhance communications between air assets and boots on the ground. Troops in Okinawa used the technology initially during U.S.-only evaluations before moving on to experiments in various multinational events. And though the personnel who have experienced the systems in action say work still remains to perfect the offering, they would like to see it fielded if it reaches its potential.
U.S. Marines are tasked with battling enemies in any environment or domain and increasingly that location is cyberspace. Information assurance officials around the Corps are striving to ensure the reliability and trustworthiness of the service’s systems, and though they are aware of the potential for attack from the outside, misuse from the inside is a more prevalent concern.
U.S. Marine commanders soon will have a new mobile command and control capability that will be readily transferable from vehicle to vehicle without mounting or installation modifications. This new system is being created primarily from cost-effective, off-the-shelf digital communications equipment.
A modernized aviation command and control system for the U.S. Marine Corps likely will be deployed to Afghanistan before the year is out. The new system provides a common aviation command and control platform and is expected to improve situational awareness and information assurance while making the Marine Corps fighting forces more mobile.
The U.S. Marine Corps hopes a forward operating base that obtains its power from renewable energy sources will benefit the force in many ways—especially by saving lives. Eliminating the need for fuel deliveries lowers the number of convoys and exposed troops on treacherous roads in perilous places. The experimental base also could reduce the amount of equipment Marines take into theater, ensuring the Corps remains an expeditionary force. With the tools in the battlespace now, program officials are waiting to hear how the concept performs in combat.
The U.S. Marine Corps is shifting its immersive training to reflect the massive relocation of its troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. Although the Corps continues preparing Marines for an urban battlefield, now it also is coaching them in additional tasks critical to fighting and preserving the peace in a country that is as different from Iraq as Idaho is from southern Arizona. Actors and avatars bring so much realism to the training that troops returning from operations say it is enough to make them believe they are back in Afghanistan.
The head information technology officer for the Marine Corps, Brig. Gen. Kevin Nally, USMC, is grappling with several projects necessary to keep critical information flowing smoothly and securely. Gen. Nally’s efforts include dramatically streamlining a sprawling information technology infrastructure, overseeing the Defense Department’s information assurance range, protecting information in the era of social networks and WikiLeaks and transitioning from the Navy-Marine Corps Intranet to the Next Generation Enterprise Network.