Magazine article National Defense

Marine Corps Aims to Ease the Burden for Amphibious Warships

Magazine article National Defense

Marine Corps Aims to Ease the Burden for Amphibious Warships

Article excerpt

* QUANTICO, Va. - As the Navy prepares for a potential change in its composition, the Marine Corps is looking for alternative platforms that will relieve some responsibilities from amphibious assault ships.

The initiative comes at a time when the Navy is reexamining its force structure through an assessment slated to be completed later this year, which may lead to changes in the mix of its current fleet. The most recent shipbuilding plan aims to have 355 battle force ships in the inventory by 2034.

Although the Navy will have "primacy" in the force structure assessment, the Marine Corps will do its part by examining the best ways to use its vessels and landing platforms, said Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, commanding general of the Marine Corps combat development command and the deputy commandant for combat development and integration.

"We're looking for ways to use more numerous, more autonomous ... ships," he noted Sept. 17 during a keynote speech at the Modern Day Marine exposition in Quantico, Virginia.

Some tasks can only be performed by an amphibious assault ship, he said, but there must be a "smarter way" to conduct operations, such as logistics resupply, without using those types of vessels.

"We're still the amphibious extension of the fleet," he said. "We're just looking for alternative platforms to take a load off of those L-class ships."

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. David Berger's Planning Guidance document - which was released in August - calls for greater integration with the Navy to counter adversaries' advances in long-range precision fires. …

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