But regardless of the questions of terminology, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of these particular ships, the main problem is the lack of modern naval strategy, as well as the strategy and concept of conducting expedition operations in general and the use of the marines as a military branch in particular.
As a good illustration of modern views on the strategy of the Marine Corps and its influence on military construction programs, we should consider the evolution of the strategy of the United States Marine Corps (ILC) in the post-cold war period. It should immediately be said that due to quantitative and qualitative differences, as well as a specific weight in the national security strategy, the experience of developing the strategy of the ILC cannot and should not be blindly copied when developing strategic conceptual documents of the Russian marines. However, the analysis of the American experience is a prerequisite for understanding the essence of modern expeditionary operations and will allow to avoid the mistakes made by the ILC.
MARINE DEPTH IN THE STRUCTURE OF THE US ARMED FORCES
Unlike most countries where the Marines are a branch of the Navy, the ILC is one of the five types of the US Armed Forces and is part of the Department of the Navy. According to public opinion polls, which were conducted annually in 2001-2010. in the USA, the International Law Commission is the most prestigious type of the Armed Forces and is the most respected in American society.
A key doctrinal function of the ILC is to ensure unhindered access to coastal regions (littoral access) and participation in local armed conflicts and wars (small wars). In 1952 after the Korean War, for which the United States was not prepared, Congress declared that "the nation’s strike forces should be the most combat-ready when the nation is least prepared." Since then, the ILC is in constant combat readiness and serves as a rapid reaction force.
Chief of Staff of the United States Marine Corps, General James F. Amos.
Unlike the three "main" types of the US Armed Forces, each of which focuses on actions primarily in a particular space, the ILC is adapted to actions on land, in the air and on water. The specific character of the activity of the International Maritime Commission dictates their organizational structure, which is built around air-ground operational formations (MAGTF, Marine Air-Ground Task Force), which imply the inseparable integration of ground, air, logistic and command-staff elements.
The heart of any operational formation of the ILC is its ground element, which is expressed in the classical principle - “Every marine is a shooter” (Every Marine a Rifleman). This principle implies that any recruit KMP in any case passes the basic course of combat training of infantry units - even if his future military specialty is in no way connected with the conduct of a general arms battle. This helps all KMP officers to understand the characteristics and needs of the infantry element, as well as, if absolutely necessary, to perform its functions.
The main type of operational formation of the KMP is the Marine Expeditionary Battalion (MEU, Marine Expeditionary Unit with 2200 military personnel). The larger operational formations are the expedition team (MEB, Marine Expeditionary Brigade, 4-16 thousand people) and the Marine Corps Expeditionary Division (MEF, Marine Expeditionary Force, 46-90 thousand people). In total, the KMP includes three expeditionary divisions.
The MEU includes a reinforced infantry battalion (1200 men), mixed aviation squadron (500 people), battalion rear group (300 people) and staff element (200 people). Battalions maintain a permanent presence in the oceans aboard amphibious groups (ARG, Amphibious Ready Group) fleetconsisting of UDC, DVKD and landing ship-dock (DKD). There are seven permanent MEUs in the ILC - three each in the 1st and 2nd divisions on the west and east coast of the United States, respectively, as well as another in the 3rd division in Japan.
The ILC budget is about 6,5% of the total basic US military budget. KMP accounts for about 17% of the total number of US infantry units, 12% of tactical aircraft and 19% of combat helicopters.
KMP STRATEGY AFTER THE END OF THE “COLD WAR”
The foundations of the modern CMP species strategy were laid in the 1990s. The three key factors that influenced its formation were the change in the international situation, the emergence of new technologies, and the cooperation and rivalry of the ILC with the Navy and other types of US forces.
In the ILC, the principle “every marine is a gunner” operates, therefore all recruits undergo a basic course of infantry combat training.
During a major program to reduce military spending after the end of the Cold War, the ILC underwent only a slight reduction (especially compared to other types of armed forces). This, as well as the increasing role of local conflicts and ensuring regional security, were among the key reasons that determined the growing influence of the ILC as a type of Armed Forces.
During the 1990-ies. The relationship between the Navy and the ILC was rather tense. The KMP was striving for greater autonomy and was afraid of competition from the fleet. From the point of view of the leadership of the International Maritime Commission, after the end of the Cold War, the fleet remained focused primarily on operations in the oceans, while the changed international situation required a real, rather than declarative, reorientation towards actions in coastal areas.
The leadership of the ILC noted that after the end of the Cold War, the United States faced the threat of local and regional instability in coastal regions caused by the actions of aggressive states, terrorists, organized crime, as well as socio-economic problems. The main instrument of Washington to counter these threats were to become, in the opinion of the leadership of the International Maritime Commission, the forces of the marines deployed on an ongoing basis in the oceans.
The desire of the ILC for autonomy was expressed in the desire to develop an independent conceptual and strategic base separate from the Navy. In 1997, the KMP leadership refused to sign a joint operational concept with the fleet and adopted its own concept of “Operational Maneuver from the Sea”. This concept remains relevant today. Its main idea was to use the World Ocean as a space for maneuver, which was to provide the US Armed Forces with a qualitative operational and tactical advantage over any potential adversary.
The KMP was to conduct effective amphibious assault operations of various sizes, relying on its superiority in mobility, reconnaissance, communications and control systems. The main burden for the implementation of fire support for the KMP during the amphibious operations was to lie not on the armored vehicles, but on the forces of the fleet and the aviation element of the ILC.
The concept of “operational maneuver from the sea” was supplemented with a number of conceptual documents, the key of which was the tactical concept of the ship-to-target maneuver (STOM, Ship-to-Objective Maneuver), which implied a post-horizon landing (at a distance of ) The forces of the Marine Corps from the amphibious ships of the fleet through the "mobile triad" - amphibious landing craft (FER), floating armored vehicles and aircraft (helicopters and prospective convertaplanes). The key idea of this concept was the rejection of the need to capture the bridgehead on the coast of the enemy as a necessary condition for achieving the goal of the operation. The CMP planned, whenever possible, to avoid collisions with enemy coastal defense forces and strike at the most vulnerable and critical enemy targets in the depths of its territory.
The concept of the "maneuver-target" ILC implies an over-the-horizon landing of an assault force through the "mobile triad", one of the elements of which is helicopters.
Conceptual and strategic installations KMP in 1990-ies. were focused almost exclusively on carrying out military operations of varying intensity in coastal areas in close connection with the Navy. Even operations in the depth of the enemy’s territory were supposed to be carried out with the support of the fleet, which was to provide the marines with supplies and fire support. This idea was enshrined in the concept of "sustainable operations ashore" (Sustained Operations Ashore).
In these installations, one of the key differences of the CMP from the US Army is clearly visible, which focuses on creating its own long-term logistics and support bases, massive use of armored vehicles and artillery, but does not have its own assault and fighter aircraft.
KMP in the new millennium
At the beginning of the new millennium, the Commission continued the development of conceptual and strategic attitudes laid down in the 1990-s. The 2000 21 (Marine Corps Strategy 21) Strategy was adopted in 2001, and the cornerstone concept of Expeditionary Maneuver Warfare (Marine Corps Capstone Concept) was adopted in XNUMX. These documents supplemented the concept of “operational maneuver from the sea” and its accompanying documents and summarized them at a higher operational and strategic level.
Following the adoption of the Global Concept of Operations by the Navy leadership in 2003, the formation of new fleet operational units began. Due to the reduction in the number of ships in the old-class combat carrier groups (CVBG, Carrier Battle Group) and the strengthening of amphibious groups by surface ships and submarines, aircraft-carrier and expeditionary strike groups were formed (AUG and EUG, respectively), and planning of expeditionary strike forces (Expeditionary Strike Forces), which were supposed to integrate AUG and EUG.
The second element of the “mobile triad” is floating armored vehicles.
Previously, amphibious groups were dependent on the presence of an aircraft carrier group. With the formation of the EUG, amphibious operational formations of the fleet and the ILC were able to conduct independent strike and amphibious assault operations. It was originally planned to create 12 EUG by analogy with 12 AUG. The basis of each ECG was to become one of the amphibious groups. By the end of 2000's The EGG has become a larger operational formation, intended for the transfer not of a battalion, but of an expeditionary brigade.
All these concepts turned out to be of little demand in the conditions of the 2000s that began in the beginning. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. In them, the marines operated mainly in isolation from the fleet and in conjunction with the Army. Beginning with 2006, to intensify the operation in Afghanistan, an increase in the number of KMP personnel from 176 thousand to 202 thousand to 2011 began.
The interaction and integration of the Navy and the ILC at the operational-tactical level has not been given sufficient attention. Many high-ranking members of the corps and outside observers began to note that the generation of marines had actually grown, either not at all familiar with the conduct of amphibious operations, or they perceived amphibious ships only as a transport for the delivery of marines to the theater. The specifics of combat training and the use of KMP forces during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan led not only to the loss of skills for conducting operations “from the sea”, but also to “weighting” of the ILC, that is, increasing its dependence on heavier weapons and military equipment, and also, most importantly, long-term ground logistics bases located within or in close proximity to the theater of operations. All this had a negative impact on the ability of the ILC to react quickly to emerging crises. A number of experts began to accuse the corps of the fact that it turned into a "second land army."
The global economic crisis, the rapidly growing public debt and the rejection of unilateralism, which determined the foreign policy of Washington during the first half of the 2000-s, raised the question of the need to optimize and reduce military spending. The United States felt tired from many years of participation in two major regional military operations. The withdrawal of troops from Iraq and the phasing out of operations in Afghanistan made the Commission and the Army the main victims of measures to reduce military spending. In particular, it was again decided to change the number of the ILC - this time downward. The entire corps is planned to be reduced by 10% in the period from 2013 to 2017 fiscal year: from 202 thousand to 182 thousand military personnel.
At a US Navy exhibition in May 2010, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said that for many years, the Commission had duplicated the tasks of the Army. In August of the same year, in another speech, Gates questioned the feasibility of a large amphibious assault operation in modern conditions: high-precision anti-ship missiles (RCC), which are becoming cheaper and more accessible, threaten American amphibious assault ships, which may require the landing of marines at a distance " 25, 40, 60 miles from the coast or even further. " Gates instructed the leadership of the Ministry of the Navy and the ILC to conduct a thorough assessment of the structure of forces, as well as to determine what should be the look of the American marines in the XXI century.
The main amphibious machine of the KMP is the AAV-7 armored personnel carrier.
The KMP began work in this direction as early as the end of the 2000s. Before his leadership had two key tasks. First, it was necessary to rethink the existing strategic guidelines in the light of the changing international situation, the nature of the threats facing the United States and new technologies. Secondly, it was necessary to again substantiate the role and importance of the ILC as an independent type of armed forces in conditions of a deteriorating economic situation, reduction of military expenses and intense competition between various types of armed forces for the distribution of the military budget.
In contrast to the period 1990-x. this time, the development of the conceptual-strategic base of the ILC was in close cooperation with the Navy. The leadership of the International Maritime Commission realized that the new stage of reducing military spending would not be as painless for the International Law Commission as the previous one. Under these conditions, close cooperation can provide the maritime species of the Armed Forces with an advantage in defending their interests in Congress, the White House and in the eyes of the American public, and also somewhat weaken the positions of the Air Force and the Army.
Moreover, at the beginning of 2000's. relations between the fleet and the marines began to gradually improve, which was achieved largely due to the productive dialogue between the leadership of the Navy and the ILC. Within the framework of the Ministry of the Navy, the ILC achieved de facto equality with respect to the fleet and became less afraid of competition from its side. Representatives of the ILC were able to command the naval forces. In 2004, Brigadier General Joseph Medina presided over the Third EUG. In 2005 for the first time in stories KMP General Peter Pace became the Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CLS). Also in the 2000's. Representatives of the ILC for the first time held the position of deputy chairman of the CSC. In 2006, for the first time, a representative of KMP aviation commanded an aircraft carrier wing, and in 2007 a representative of naval aviation for the first time commanded the KMP air group.
In 2007, after a lengthy preparation, the first ever unified strategy for all three marine species of the sun was signed (A Cooperative Strategy for 21st Century Seapower). In 2010, the naval operational concept complementary to it (Naval Operations Concept) was adopted, also common to the Navy, ILC and the Coast Guard (Coast Guard). If for the Navy and marine species of the Armed Forces as a whole, these documents made fundamental changes in the naval strategy, then directly for the ILC they served rather as a somewhat modified repetition of the existing documents. The central place in the operational concept and the important place in the strategy was taken by the idea of using the sea space as a single springboard for maneuver.
After the adoption of the joint naval strategy in 2008, the Marine Corps Vision & Strategy 2025 and an updated version of the cornerstone operational concept were adopted, on the basis of which the third edition of the Marine Corps operational concepts was prepared in 2025 Operating Concepts).
ACCESS LIMITING SYSTEMS
In January, 2012. Barack Obama and Leon Panetta signed the Strategic Defense Guidelines. Among the key ideas of this document were the reorientation of the US military-political strategy towards the Asia-Pacific region (APR) and the refusal to conduct large-scale ground operations in the near future.
By the end of 2000's The United States realized that, despite continuing superiority in conventional weapons, the US Armed Forces have become more vulnerable. The reason for this is the rapid spread of effective and affordable weapon systems that have received the collective name “Access Restriction Systems” (A2 / AD, Anti-Access, Area Denial). The United States finally realized that the idea of “absolute domination in all spheres,” so popular at the end of 1990, the beginning of 2000, is utopian.
The concept of the development of the ILC at the turn of the XX-XXI centuries turned out to be unclaimed in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The idea of confronting access control systems (ODS) has taken one of the key places in the American military strategy. In 2011, the chairman of the JFS, General Martin Dempsey, signed the Joint Operation Access Concept. The official definition of ODS and the very concept of “operational access” was fixed in this document.
Under the “operational access” is understood the ability to ensure the projection of military power in the theater with a degree of freedom of action that would be sufficient to perform the tasks. The main strategic goal is to ensure unimpeded guaranteed access by the United States both to the global common property of mankind - international waters, international airspace, outer space and cyberspace, and to a separate sovereign territory of any state.
SOD are divided into "distant" and "near". The first are weapons systems that impede aircraft access to the theater. The second includes weapons systems that limit the freedom of action of the Armed Forces directly on the theater. SOD includes such weapon systems as submarines, air defense systems, ballistic and cruise anti-ship missiles, anti-satellite weaponmines SOD has also included such means of warfare as terrorist acts and computer viruses. It is worth noting that many SOD, for example, submarines, can be used both as "close ones" and as "distant", while others, for example, mines, are mainly used in only one role.
One of the main projects to counter SOD was a joint program of the US Navy and the Air Force, known as the “Air-Sea Battle”, the development of which began in 2009 on behalf of Robert Gates. The air-sea battle was a logical development of the air-land battle, the operational concept of the integration of the Air Force and the Army, which was developed in the 1980. to counteract the USSR in Europe and was successfully used in the course of Operation Desert Storm. For the first time, the idea of an airborne battle was voiced as early as 1992 by the current Commander of the European Command of the US Armed Forces, Admiral James Stavridis. At the core of the air-sea battle is the idea of deeply integrating the power projection potentials of the Navy and Air Force to combat the enemy's SOD and provide prompt access for the US military.
In 2011, the Department of Airborne Battle was created within the Ministry of Defense, in which representatives of the ILC and the Army were also involved, whose role nevertheless remained secondary.
In parallel with the fleet, the CMP led the development of its own operational concepts, which were also largely focused on countering ODS. In July, 2008, the Chief of Staff of the ILC, General James Conway, marked the beginning of a series of command and staff activities within the framework of the Bold Alligator program, aimed at restoring the potential for conducting amphibious landing operations. The culmination of this program was the Bold Alligator 12 (BA12) exercise, which was carried out by the Second EUG, the First AUG and the 2 Expeditionary Brigade in the Atlantic Ocean in January-February 2012, and became the largest US amphibious training exercises over the past decade.
More than 14 thousand American troops, 25 ships and vessels, as well as soldiers and ships of eight other states took part in the exercise. The scenario of the BA12 exercises implied the development of joint actions of the EUG, AUG, KMP and the ships of the Maritime Transportation Command (Military Sealift Command) for conducting naval assault forces in the conditions of use by the enemy anti-ship missiles and mines.
In May, the 2011 of the CMP adopted an updated version of the tactical concept of the “target-ship” maneuver. Differences from the original version of 1997 were in a greater focus on SOD, irregular opponents (international terrorism, illegal armed gangs, etc.), as well as non-military operations and “soft power”. Even a decade and a half after the adoption of its original version, the implementation of the ship-to-target maneuver concept requires solving a wide range of problems in training private personnel and commanders of the ILC and the Navy, providing logistics and equipment with new weapons and military equipment.
UNITED NAVAL BATTLE
In September, 2011 Mr. KMP Chief of Staff General James Amos sent a memorandum to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta in which he argued the need to save the ILC as a necessary condition for ensuring US national security. He emphasized that the International Labor Commission "provides the US Armed Forces with a unique set of capabilities," does not duplicate the functions of other types of Armed Forces, and its maintenance costs are less than 8% of total US military spending.
To confirm this statement and carry out the assignment that the KMP had previously given by Robert Gates, a working group was created to analyze amphibious capabilities, which took up the analysis of previously adopted strategic and conceptual documents and the development of a new operational concept for the corps. According to the results of the group's work in 2012, the report “Naval amphibious capabilities in the XXI century” was published, in which the concept of “Single Naval Battle” (Single Naval Battle) was put forward, the idea of which was already raised, including the new version of the concept of ship-target maneuver.
Teaching Bold Alligator 12. Since 2008, the ILC has been intensively restoring the potential for amphibious operations.
A single naval battle involves the integration of all elements of American naval power (surface, submarine, ground, air, space and information forces and assets) into a single unit for conducting joint operations against a regular and irregular enemy, who actively uses SOD. Previously, the provision of supremacy at sea and the projection of power, including the conduct of an amphibious assault and the launching of rocket-bombing attacks on the territory of the enemy, were considered separate operations that were little dependent on each other. The united naval battle implies their unification and simultaneous conduct within the framework of a joint operation of the Navy, the ILC and other types of aircraft. A separate task is the integration of AUG and AUG, which was planned as early as the beginning of the 2000s. as part of the creation of expeditionary shock forces, as well as the training of senior and top commanders of the Navy and the International Maritime Commission to conduct large-scale joint amphibious assault and other operations under the leadership of joint headquarters.
The united naval battle is positioned as an addition to the air-naval battle and is an obvious request of the ILC to enhance its role in counteracting ODS. This causes some concern on the part of the Army. The transformation of a naval-Air Force tandem into a Naval-Air Force-KMP triangle could theoretically cause the Army to suffer the most from budget cuts.
The joint concept for providing access and counteraction to SOD (Gaining and Maintaining Access: An Army-Marine Corps Concept), which the Army and the ILC adopted in March 2012, notes that the Army can also act from the sea in certain situations. In December, 2012. The Army adopted an updated version of its own cornerstone concept (The US Army Capstone Concept), which focused on the development of rapid response capabilities and expeditionary operations. A number of American experts have noticed that this indicates the growing competition between the two types of Armed Forces and the Army’s desire to partially assume the functions of the ILC. High-ranking representatives of the Army tried to refute these assumptions, pointing out that the Army and the International Law Commission do not compete, but work together to develop these types of aircraft as complementary and not duplicating each other’s functions.
According to the ACWG report, in the medium term, there is a high probability of numerous local crises, conflicts and wars. At the same time, most of them, despite their rather limited scope, are capable of significantly affecting US national interests. This is due to the need to ensure the protection of American citizens, allied US states, the high dependence of the US and developed countries on freedom of navigation, access to resources and markets. Even a small conflict in the Persian Gulf or Southeast Asia can threaten the lines of maritime communications, which account for 90% of maritime trade.
The ACWG expanded the concept of ODS to include a number of non-military tools to restrict American operational access, including the use of diplomatic pressure, civil protests, blocking various significant elements of infrastructure, economic sanctions, etc. The threat of “mutually guaranteed economic easing” as a tool for deterring the United States and a peculiar kind of “long-range” SOD, by analogy with “mutually guaranteed destruction” in the nuclear strategy, was particularly noted.
This situation requires the US to maintain the ILC as a constant readiness force to quickly respond to emerging crises. At the same time, the ILC is able both to quickly create a land grouping in the region, and to bring it out quickly, thus avoiding undesirable political and financial costs. Using the International Maritime Commission within the framework of a single naval battle allows the United States not to get bogged down in the conflict, as was the case in Iraq and Afghanistan, and to maintain strategic flexibility.
The ACWG report also noted that the existing system of external presence and training, which relies almost exclusively on amphibious groups with expeditionary battalions on board, does not respond to the changed international situation.
To perform many of the tasks of the KMP and Naval Forces, the use of smaller units of marines is needed, which would be deployed not only on the landing ships, but also on other ships of the fleet and coast guard. Small units of marines can be effectively used to provide humanitarian assistance, ensure maritime security, combat piracy, drug trafficking and other irregular threats, as well as to more reliably protect naval and coast guard ships from terrorist acts.
Since the beginning of the 2000's. KMP conducts experimentation on the use of the company-level operational formations as the main tactical unit (ECO, Enhanced Company Operations) within the framework of the concept of “distributed operations” (distributed operations). There were voiced proposals for the formation of independent "mini-amphibious groups", which may include as one of the options one DKVD and three littoral warships. It is assumed that adapted to the independent actions of the formation of the KMP of the company and even lower levels will be more effective in the fight against an irregular adversary, as well as in high-intensity hostilities (for example, in cities). This requires the redistribution of command, control, communications, reconnaissance, and fire support systems from the battalion to the company level.
An entire generation of marines grew up in Iraq and Afghanistan who were not familiar with the conduct of amphibious operations.
At the same time, the battalion is insufficient for conducting more or less large-scale amphibious assault operations and requires preparation of the ILC and the Navy for brigade-level operations. Many high-ranking representatives of the International Maritime Commission and the Navy noted that conducting an amphibious assault at a brigade level was qualitatively different from the actions of standard expeditionary battalions and required special training for military personnel.
One of the important elements of the training of the Navy and the International Maritime Commission for conducting brigade-level amphibious operations was the regular exercises of Dawn Blitz (DB), which are carried out by the 3-AUG and the 1-th expeditionary brigade. These exercises differ from the Bold Alligator program on a smaller scale, which is explained by their orientation towards working out actions at the tactical level.
Using the combination of the Unified Operational Access, Airborne Combat concept and the findings of the ACWG report at the operational and strategic level was tested during the Expeditionary Warrior 12 (EW12) large command and headquarters exercise in March 2012. The EW12 scenario implied a forced imagination the state that invaded the territory of its neighbor and supports the rebel movement in its territory. The aggressor state enjoys the support of a regional power, and the operation of peace enforcement is conducted by the coalition in accordance with the mandate of the UN Security Council in the conditions of active use by the enemy of the ODS and the absence of US or its allies bases in the region. The results of EW12 confirmed most of the findings of the ACWG report, and also focused on a number of specific problems, such as the need to involve special operations forces in the integration process, the provision of anti-mine warfare, theater missile defense, and the creation of a system of coordinated control of aircraft and states within the coalition.
The combination of such exercises, as well as experiments under the ECO program, allows us to work out various aspects of expedition operations at the tactical, operational and strategic levels. These activities complement and influence each other, which ensures effective combat training and dynamic development of the strategic conceptual base of the ILC.