Commandant: Marine Corps Seeks Solutions to Naval Surface Fires ‘Void’
In a recent article from “Inside the Navy.com”, the Marine Corps expressed continued concern for the lack of naval surface fires support that only the DDG-1000 offers. According to this published report, Marine Corps Commandant, Gen. James Conway, referred to the truncation of the DDG-1000 destroyer program to only three hulls as leaving “a serious void” in the Navy's ability to provide surface fires support. The Advanced Gun System (AGS) on the DDG-1000 would provide the protection needed for his Marines to safely and successfully maneuver.
NSFS analysis remains ongoing
Commandant: Marine Corps Seeks Solutions to Naval Surface Fires ‘Void’
The Marine Corps remains concerned about how it will mitigate the lack of a naval surface fires capability in light of the truncation of the DDG-1000 destroyer program to three hulls, which carry the Advanced Gun System designed to provide Marines fires to allow for maneuver ashore.
Below the Fold: Rest of Summary and Links to USMC 1989-1990 Study, Current Facts on Navy's Non-Responsive Showboat, and GAO Study. Known gap since 1989–and no one with the integrity to challenge Navy's decisions–decisions based on ideology, not solid decision-support. This is the primary reason we folded both the Inspector General (IG) and Operational Test & Evaluation (OT&E) into our 21st Century Full Spectrum Human Intelligence (HUMINT) –the Undersecetary of Defense for Intelligence and Warfighting Support needs to “get a grip” on all information across the spectrum (green, red, yellow, white) and on all of the tools and technologies that carry information–the systems is the message, and right now the message is not getting there.
“There’s a serious void in terms of what we think we would need ashore,” Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway said last week at the Surface Navy Association’s annual symposium in Arlington, VA. “The DDG-1000 with the long-range and — we think — very effective cannon system was reduced from [a build of] 24 to seven to three. So it is a serious void.”
Mitigation is being studied, the four-star general noted.
“We look for what we can do to mitigate,” Conway said. “There’s a concept out there called joint fires that would be intended to fill that gap. Its combination of naval air, Marine air, Air Force global reach and surface fires could be there, too.
“Frankly, my concern is not that we take out a high-value target,” he continued. “What we don’t have are those high-volume fires that a battalion commander or a company commander might need to move on his objective. We don’t use million-dollar missiles to do those kind of effect fires. That’s our concern, there is a void there right now.”
At this time, it is a “matter of priorities,” Conway said.
An October 2008 joint “memorandum for the record” agreed to by Lt. Gen. George Flynn, commander of Marine Corps Combat Development Command, and Vice Adm. Barry McCullough, then the deputy chief of naval operations for integration of resources and capabilities, states that the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed the two services to conduct a joint expeditionary fires analysis of alternatives in time for a Defense Acquisition Executive Review in June 2009. The study has since been extended and the meeting is postponed.
Inside the Navy reported in November that the study, once due last June, was still ongoing. A Navy spokeswoman said last week that this remains the case and could not provide a date when the study would be finished.
Surface fires make up the third side of the “triad of fire support” along with tactical air (close air support) and organic fires (artillery/mortars). The naval capability must fill three gaps: moving targets/adverse weather, precision and volume.
In March, ITN reported that the study was looking at 10 options to fill the surface fires gap. No solution is yet ready for serious consideration, briefing slides from the Feb. 25 Navy-Marine Corps warfighter talks note, but the Navy is aiming for an initial operational capability for naval surface fire support by 2019 or 2020.
The electromagnetic rail gun (EMRG), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HMARS) aboard an amphibious ship, the Non-Line of Sight (N-LOS) Launch System, the Advanced Gun Systems (AGS) aboard a DDG-51 class destroyer, the AGS on DDG-1000, the AGS on an LPD-17 class amphibious dock ship, a guided 5-inch munition, the Affordable Weapon System (AWS), the Standard Missile-2, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS) and the Army Tactical Missile System (ATMS) are being considered, according to briefing slides.
Overview of Planning and Programming Factors for Expeditionary Operations in the Third World (Marine Corps Combat Development Command, March 1990)
Future Surface Combatant Web Site
“The ideal future surface combatant for the Navy is a DDG-1000 destroyer modified with a higher-power radar and ballistic missile defense (BMD) capabilities….” — University of Tennessee Study, “The US Navy’s Future Destroyer Plan”, June 2009
Information on Options for Naval Surface Fire Support GAO Study November 19, 2004
2008 U.S. Naval Power in the 21st Century
- Amphibious Ready Groups without benefit of an accompanying Carrier Battle Group are very vulnerable to significant coastal defense missile capabilities as well as submarines, frigates and corvettes.
This was written in 1990. We knew then Navy could not reload its missile guns at sea, and that most Third World countries out-gunned the Navy 5″. Every Commandant since then has either accepted this, or not been given the flag-level intelligence nudge needed to confront Navy. Marines land in all weather–absent NGF–and generally absent air since Navy likes to park 200 nautical miles from the shore–they go in without covering fire. That's not right.
2009 Perhaps We Should Have Shouted: A Twenty-Year Restrospective
Fixing the White House and National Intelligence, forthcoming, International Journal of Intelligence and Counterintelligence, Spring 2010
Intelligence for the President–AND Everyone Else, as published in CounterPunch, Weedend Edition, Feburary 27 – 1 March 2009
2001 Threats, Strategy, and Force Structure: An Alternative Paradigm for National Security
1998 JFQ The Asymmetric Threat: Listening to the Debate
1991 MCG Intelligence Support for Expeditionary Planners
See Graphic: Family of Defense Intelligence Products for what we are still not doing.
Five specific examples of intelligence failure in support of threat acquisition (last page 1991)
01 Concept development that ignored threat and terrain generaizations (e.g anything weighing more than 30 tons, the normal “main route” for bridge loading in Third World)
02 Mission Needs Statements (MNS) or Required Operational Capabilities (ROC) that go “worst case” automatically (this is particularly characteristic of Army and Navy System Threat Assessment Reports (STAR) that are not validated by anyone
03 MNS or ROCs, including those designated as joint, that do not address Command, Control, Communications, and Intelligence (C3I) support (today the Air Force would be faulted for failing to plan for processing of drone output, or tactical real time sense-making)
04 Numerous programs oblivious to the need for ongoing threat support (this is especially important for those programs–virtually of them, that take twenty years from concept to Full Operational Capability (FOC).
05 Test and evaluation (usually fraudulent) without foreign materiel support, i.e. not really tested against the real thing