Marines: Blind And Deaf In Future Wars CSC 1993 SUBJECT AREA - Intelligence Executive SUMMARY Title: Marines: Blind and Deaf in Future Wars Author: Major Cletis R. Davis, United States Marine Corps Thesis: The Marine Corps past and current restructuring of reconnaissance units threaten the Corps tactical intelligence collection capability. Background: Past and present restructuring have significantly reduced the Marine Corps reconnaissance capability. The amphibious reconnaissance capability has been reduced in the Force Reconnaissance Company as a result of acquiring the direct action mission. Available reconnaissance teams have been reduced by 60%. The division reconnaissance battalion is in the process of being converted to cavalry. The new force structure for a 159K Marine Corps will establish a reconnaissance company in each infantry regiment and a light armored reconnaissance company in each combined arms regiment. However, the Corps loses stealthy reconnaissance units and gains scouts and light cavalry. The reconnaissance units are being reorganized to fight Desert Storm rather than engage in amphibious operations and low intensity conflict, the most likely conflicts. Recommendation: The direct action mission should be dropped from the Force Reconnaissance mission, and the Reconnaissance Battalions should not be converted to Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions. OUTLINE THESIS: The United States Marine Corps is about to become deaf and blind in Amphibious and Low Intensity Conflict Operations due to the paucity of trained and available reconnaissance assets. I. Intelligence Requirements A. Strategic B. Combat C. Tactical D. USMC Intelligence Requirements E. USMC Reconnaissance Units 1. Force Reconnaissance Company 2. Reconnaissance Battalion 3. Surveillance and Target Acquisition Platoon II. Evolution of Amphibious Reconnaissance A. Doctrine B. Missions C. Unit Capabilities 1. FORECON 2. Battalion Reconnaissance 3. STA III. Requirements A. Terrorism B. Narcoterrorism C. High Intensity Conflicts D. Low Intensity Conflicts IV. Future War A. Technology B. The Transition of War? V. Future Capabilities A. Dragoons B. Force Reconnaissance Direct Action C. Light Armored Reconnaissance Company, Combined Arms Regiment VI. Capabilities vs Requirements A. Desert Storm B. Amphibious Operations C. Low Intensity Conflict D. Status Quo Maneuver warfare is the current Marine Corps warfighting philosophy. This philosophy permeates the ethos of the Corps. The concepts of surfaces, gaps, mission type orders, and intent, etc., are all pervasive. Rifle squad leaders and senior acquisition specialist are expected to maneuver in space and time to accomplish their missions. Key to the philosophy are bold, audacious, decisive commanders who understand their superior commander's intent. These commanders in turn provide their subordinates with a well articulated intent as a framework for future decisions. By executing the decision cycle more rapidly than the enemy, Marine commanders create a faster tempo. This tempo over time slows and ultimately deprives the enemy of the capability to react, hastening his defeat. (2:68-77) Central to valid and rapid decisions at the strategic, operational and tactical levels is intelligence and information. Strategic and operational decision makers require operational and combat intelligence, primarily obtained through national intelligence assets. (3:2-1,2-2) Tactical intelligence is required for the conduct and planning of the immediate battle or engagement. Tactical intelligence and information are obtained from national assets and the commander's own reconnaissance and surveillance units. The immediate requirement and application of tactical intelligence and information requires the commander to use organic reconnaissance and surveillance assets primarily. The tactical commander wants to know, what is on the other side of the hill," berm, river etc. The maneuver war concept of reconnaissance pull directly relates to the commanders use of tactical intelligence and information. The Marine Corps has both conventional and unique requirements for ground reconnaissance and surveillance. The tactical Marine Ground Air Ground Task Force (MAFTF) commander typically has three ground reconnaissance units to conduct ground and amphibious reconnaissance in addition to infantry units that conduct close combat reconnaissance. Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA) platoons in the infantry battalions conduct ground surveillance and close reconnaissance for the battalion. The Reconnaissance Battalion of the Marine Division conducts distant ground reconnaissance and limited amphibious reconnaissance in support of the division. The Force Reconnaissance Company (FORECON) of the Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Intelligence group conducts pre-amphibious assault and deep post assault reconnaissance. (7:10-1,10-2) The Force Reconnaissance Company is the forerunner of all other reconnaissance units in the Marine Corps. The genealogy for amphibious reconnaissance dates to 1906 when Major Dion Williams, USMC authored the, Naval Reconnaissance, Instructions for the Reconnaissance of Bays, Harbors and Adjacent Country. The doctrine was subsequently refined and exercised via the fleet landing exercises off Puerto Rico during the 1930's. By 1942 an Observer Group was established to evaluate the doctrine and specialized equipment. This Observer Group later became the Amphibious Reconnaissance Company, predecessor of all FORECONs today. The initial specific amphibious reconnaissance missions have changed very little to this day. Those missions were as follows: (1) To determine characteristics of beaches available for landing, and report same to commander at sea. (a) By hydrographic reconnaissance of water near the shore line. (b) By examining terrain in immediate vicinity of beach. (c) By noting beach defenses--wire, mines and, other obstacles; troops in immediate vicinity; other defenses. (2) To report landmarks for assisting in locating landing beaches. (3) To mark beaches and landing points during landing. (4) To determine location, strength, and composition of strength of troops in landing area. (5) To take and hold in concealment a prisoner or prisoners and be prepared to turn them over to Headquarters Landing Force. (6) To spot observers to report enemy activity by radio or panel. (7) To determine road net and be prepared to meet and guide elements of landing force. (8) To determine practicability of terrain for air landings. (9) After the beachhead has been established, to contour the sea floor beginning at the ten foot line and using a ten foot contour interval in order to expedite the unloading of supplies by locating most advantageous channels and beaches. (5:6-13) As previously stated these specific reconnaissance missions have changed minimally from 1942 until today. FORECON also conducts deep reconnaissance in support of sustained operations ashore. The current organization of the FORECON is 231 total Marines. 70 of those Marines are dedicated to the traditional mission of ground and amphibious reconnaissance. 100 or about 60% of the FORECON Marines available in each Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) are dedicated to the direct action mission. (4:7-7,7-8) The Reconnaissance Battalion of the Marine Division conducts distant ground reconnaissance for the division commander. The battalion has some amphibious reconnaissance capability. However, the battalion's primary mission is ground reconnaissance that exceeds the capabilities of the infantry battalions. Both the Reconnaissance Battalion and FORECON depend on stealth and rapid reporting for mission accomplishment. Currently, the reconnaissance battalions have 423 Marines assigned. The Reconnaissance Companies have 320 Marines assigned in total. About 76% of the battalion's Marines are directly involved in reconnaissance operations. (4:4-15,4-16) As a result of the downsizing of the Department of Defense and the concurrent restructuring of the Marines Corps, the Reconnaissance Battalions are scheduled to acquire the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) and be redesignated as Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalions. (6:17) The STA platoons organic to the infantry battalions possess reconnaissance capabilities commensurate with other infantry units. The platoon is organized and trained to conduct surveillance with ground radars. This units most significant capability is the organic sniper teams. These teams can also be employed for visual surveillance requiring stealth. There are currently no planned restructuring initiatives for the STA platoon. In addition to the restructuring of the Reconnaissance Battalion, other restructuring initiatives will affect the ground reconnaissance assets available in the Marine Corps in the near future. A Combined Arms Regiments (CAR) will be organized in two of the Marine divisions. Each CAR will contain a Light Armored Reconnaissance Company. The remaining two infantry regiments within the division will establish reconnaissance companies. (6:17-18) The MAGTF commander currently has or will have all the reconnaissance capabilities that have previously been addressed. However, the world of national defense is no longer capabilities driven. Capabilities may be significant, yet may not pertain to the threat. Requirements are threat driven. Threats are difficult to ascertain today. The world is now multi-polar. The Soviet Union may no longer be the primary threat. Russia may not even be in the top three or four possible opponents who may threaten the United States' vital or survival interests in the future. What is the threat, and what are the requirements? The Marine Corps Long Range Plan 2000-2020 (Draft) places terrorism at the top of the lists of threats. The Long Range Plan states that the United States and other nations will devote considerable political, economic, and military resources to maintaining a stable world order. International drug trafficking and narcoterroism also appear on the list. Both terrorism and narcoterrorism associated with drug trafficking are predicated to increase significantly during the remainder of this century and the beginning of the next. The middle east will continue to be the launching pad for terrorism. Targets are expected to change from individuals to the sabotage of infrastructure. This is a fairly prophetic assessment considering the recent bombing in New York. Drug trafficking and narcoterroism are expected to continue in South and Central America. Terrorism is anticipated to rise in Eastern and Central Europe as former Soviet and Warsaw Pact sponsored terrorist organizations seek employment elsewhere or go into business for themselves. The regional threat assessment begins with the Middle East and covers the current issues concerned with the energy supply, price, and dependence issues. The probability of interregional conflict is assessed as high. Intraregional conflicts are also assessed a high probability due the religious and political instabilities in the region. The intensity of potential conflict ranges is estimated from low to high intensity. The potential for U.S. involvement is appraised to be minimal. Southwest Asia and Asia are the only other regions which are assessed as having a high potential for conflict with resultant low to high intensity conflict. The specifics countries are Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, India, and the Koreas. (1:2-7-11) The rest of the world is a fairly safe place. The potential for the United States to become involved in a major high intensity conflict is minimal. The most dangerous threat to our national survival, the Soviet Union, is now Russia, the CIS, and a lot of small countries from the pre- World War I world map. The most likely threat, terrorism in all its various forms is all over the globe. What type of reconnaissance and surveillance assets does the Marine Corps require to address the most likely and most dangerous threats? According, to the Command and Control Concept for Maneuver Warfare and Over-the-Horizon Operations (1995-2010) Final Report the Marine Corps will need the following: 2.5.3. Combat Information and Intelligence. Future C2 systems will provide realtime, battlefield information and a responsive, secure communications system to receive information and direct the activities of units. C2 will be critical to the success of 0TH operations and the conduct of maneuver warfare. Imagery systems with wideband data links will provide realtime digital data for use within an all- source fusion/processing system assisted by artificial intelligence, photonics, and microelectronics. Dissemination of information will be expanded by graphic systems. UAVs will continue to provide battlefield information from extended ranges and for longer periods due to greater speeds and increased loiter time. Lethal UAVs will also be able to identify and attack targets. There will be an increased demand for and reliance on information gathered from space stations and satellites (weather, ground activity, etc.). It will result in decreased opportunities for battlefield surprise. Space technology will greatly contribute to operational success in the areas of communication, detection, surveillance, and position determination. Inexpensive, short-term, limited-capability satellites will be positioned anywhere above the earth for surveillance and communications purposes. (1:2-12,2-13) The requirements listed above pertain to a mid-to-high intensity conflict, war similar to Desert Storm perhaps. DR. Martin van Creveld offers another vision of future warfare: Judging by the experience of the last two decades, the visions of longe-range, computerized warfare so dear to the military-industrial complex will never come to pass. Armed conflict will be waged by men on earth, not robots in space. It will have more in common with the struggles of primitive tribes than with large scale conventional war of the kind that the world may have seen for the last time in 1973 (the Arab-Israeli War), 1982 (the Falklands), and 1980-88 (the Iran-Iraq War). In so far as the belligerents will be intermingled with each other and the civilian population, the normal concepts of Clausewitzian strategy will not apply. Weapons will become less, rather than more sophisticated. War will not be waged at one remove by neatly uniformed men in air conditioned rooms sitting behind screens, manipulating symbols and pushing buttons: indeed the "troops" may have more in common with policeman (or with pirates) than with defense analysts. War will not take place in the open field, if only because in many places around the world there no longer is an open field. Its normal mise en scene will be complex environments, either those provided by nature or else the even more complex ones created by man. It will be a war of listening devices and car-bombs, of men killing each at other at close quarters, and of women using their purses to carry explosive and the drugs to pay for them. It will be protracted bloody, and horrible. (8:212) DR. van Creveld essentially agrees with the Marine Corps' Long Range Plan that terrorism and low intensity conflict are the face of future war. If both the Long Range Plan and DR. van Creveld have hit upon something near the truth, then the Marine and the nation have a problem. The Marine Corps has historically fought the low intensity conflicts for the nation. With the potential for significant low intensity conflict on the horizon, the corps is in the process of recreating a third world army. The planned and current structure of reconnaissance units within the Marine Corps insures the Corps will enter any future low intensity conflict partially deaf and blind. The conversion of the division Reconnaissance Battalion to a Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion provides the division with a good screening and scouting outfit. The unit is not quite heavy enough to be cavalry but a little heavier than a scout unit-dragoons. Stealthy reconnaissance will not be the forte of this outfit. Even though the Battalion will have an organic Deep Reconnaissance Company, stealthy reconnaissance capability will suffer. The company commander will be competing for available training time in a maintenance intensive motorized unit. The current Reconnaissance Battalion has 76% of its 423 Marine directly involved in reconnaissance operations. Conversely, the current Light Armored Infantry Battalion has approximately 46% of its people assigned to the lettered companies. The Force Reconnaissance Company is a superb asset. Its capabilities are on par with army Rangers, SEALS and Special Forces in most cases. However, there currently are too few Marines in the company trained primarily to conduct reconnaissance. Only about 40% of the Marines in the unit are dedicated to the reconnaissance mission. The direct action mission, which could be construed as infringing on Special Operations Command's turf, occupies the remainder of the company. The Light Armored Reconnaissance Company which will be organic to the Combined Arms Regiment is definitely more dragoons. The Reconnaissance Company that is planned for establishment within each infantry regiment will have to compete for training priorities with three infantry battalions and a TOW platoon. The reconnaissance training base is too narrow and the infantry regiment has acquired a company of scouts. Should the Marine Corps fight Desert Storm again soon, the current reconnaissance restructuring initiatives will stand it in good stead. However, if the next conflict is in some off the beaten track natural or man-made jungle where satellites and the sun don't shine, then more reconnaissance Marines will be required. There will be optimistically 70 force reconnaissance Marines in I and II MEF and a Deep Reconnaissance Company in the First and Second Divisions, not enough. The solutions to this potential problem are fairly straight-forward. Return to the status quo, give-up the force reconnaissance direct action mission before it becomes a roles and functions issue there-by returning more Marines to reconnaissance duties. The Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion problem may solve itself during the forthcoming austerity binge. The Corps may have to choose between a Light Armored Infantry Battalion and Light Armored Reconnaissance battalion if money becomes tight for LAV acquisitions. If congress doesn't put the LAR back into HMMVW's and on the ground to conduct stealthy reconnaissance, then the Corps should. The third option to retain a significant stealthy reconnaissance capability within the division, at least, is to consolidate the STA platoons and the regimental Reconnaissance Company to broaden the training base. And then assign an Infantry Major, preferably with former reconnaissance experience as Commanding Officer to compete for scarce training resources. The Marine Corps currently has zero air reconnaissance capability since the R-F4B has been phased out. The Advance Tactical Air Reconnaissance Systems (ATARS) is an on and off again program, presently on, but three years out. Satellites and sophisticated electronics are great if one's unit is the main effort and you're not competing with the supported unified commander or national command authority for scarce assets. And only Human Intelligence, Signals Intelligence and a well trained reconnaissance Marine can relate intent which is the key to intelligence for the commander. Marines will have to be capable of conducting reconnaissance operations in future conflicts to remain relevant and ready. BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. Command and Control Concept for Maneuver Warfare and Over-the-Horizon Operations (1995-2010). Quantico, VA; MCCDC, 1992. 2. FMFM-1 CAMPAIGNING. Washington, DC; HQMC, 1989. 3. FMFM 3-21 MAGTF Intelligence Operations. Washington, DC; HQMC, 1991. 4. FMFRP 11-1 Fleet Marine Force Organization 1992. Washington, DC; HQMC, 1992. 5. FMFRP 12-21 AARUGHA! Washington, DC; HQMC, 1989. 6. Krulak, MajGen. Charles C. "A Corps of Marines for theFuture: Relevant, Ready, Capable." Marine Corps Gazette June 92:14. 7. O-H 6-1 Ground Combat Operations. Quantico, VA: MCCDC, 1988. 8. van CREVELD, Martin. The Transformation of War. New York: Free Press, 1991. in the company trained primarily to conduct.
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