sustainment of forward-deployed Marine forces. That
will require “changes to general officer assignments and
organization/manning of the staffs,” with the resources
coming from other headquarters, he said.
In another change from current policies, Dunford
proposes a reduced status for the MEB, which had
been elevated as a warfighting element under
Expeditionary Force 21, reinstating the three MEFs as
the primary combat command element and giving specific priorities to each.
I and II MEF both will focus on sourcing the
requirements under the Global Force Management
process, while the West Coast-based I MEF will maintain “proficiency in major operations and campaigns”
and the East Coast-based II MEF will maintain proficiency at MEB-level crisis response.
III MEF, based primarily in Japan, “will remain
regionally oriented on the full range of military opera-
tions within its theater, to include designation as a
standing joint task force headquarters for U.S. Pacific
Command capable of combined operations.”
The guidance notes that “our current ability to con-
duct amphibious operations is complicated by the proli-
feration of weapons capable of targeting our forces from
increasingly greater range.” In response, the service-level
exercise priorities for 2015 and 2016 will focus on how
to fight in that A2AD environment.
The guidance deals only briefly with weapons pro-
grams, supporting the “transformational” capabilities of
the F-35B, and committing to fielding the first version of
the amphibious combat vehicle (ACV), a wheeled troop
transport with limited amphibious capabilities, while
continuing to seek a “self-deploying, high-speed” ACV
“that will meet our requirements for the future.”
And in partnership with the Navy, “we also will con-
tinue work to field high-speed, long-range, high-capacity
system of connectors and craft that are crucial for our
amphibious operations and Joint Forcible Entry Opera-
tions,” he says.
Because there are “insufficient” amphibious ships to
meet the combatant commanders’ requirements, which
he did not expect to change “for many years to come,”
Dunford calls for developing a concept of operations to
use alternative ships, such as the joint high-speed vessel and Military Sealift Command supply ships, to