In A Downsizing Environment: Can All Three Marine Corps MEFs Function As A JTF Headquarters? AUTHOR Major William D. Hardy,USMC CSC 1993 SUBJECT AREA - Strategic Issues IN A DOWNSIZING ENVIRONMENT: CAN ALL THREE MARINE CORPS MEFS FUNCTION AS A JTF HEADQUARTERS? OUTLINE Thesis: As a result of the Marine Corps' new doctrine, the MEF has emerged as its primary warfighting command element. Through proper planning, staffing, and training the Marine Corps is enhancing its MEFs capabilities to function as a Joint Task Force Headquarters. The JTF headquarters role is a natural progression for the MEF: as a naval, expeditionary, combined arms force the MEF is tailor-made for that role. I. Background of the Marine Corps' command relationships A. History of Navy/Marine Corps relationship B. Marine Corps' evolving role 1. New security era 2. Goldwater-Nichols Act 3. Tasking MEF's as a JTF headquarter II. Requirements of a JTF headquarters A. Define JTF headquarters B. Joint Pub 0-2 provides general JTF guidance C. Responsibilities of a JTF commander D. JTF organization 1. JTF staffs 2. JTF Hg deployment and support requirements III. MEF's enhancements A. Assumptions B. Communications requirements C. JPME and the MEF D. MEF T/Os 1. Force Structure Planning Group 2. Battle Roster concept & manning levels 3. MEF's new mission 4. FMFPac & FMFLan as component headquarters IV. MEF as a JTF headquarters A. Deployment options B. Training as a JTF headquarters C. Operation "Sea Angle" D. MAGTF's possess unique capabilities IN A DOWNSIZING ENVIRONMENT: CAN ALL THREE MARINE CORPS MEFS FUNCTION AS A JTF HEADQUARTERS? by Major William D. Hardy, United States Marine Corps With the adaption of FMFM 1-The Marine Corps' new warfighting philosophy-the concept of "the primacy of the MEF" has emerged. This philosophy envisions the "single battle" where the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) is the only Marine Corps warfighting command element (CE) capable of integrating operations vertically into the Joint arena. This view coupled with the reality that MEF's will fight in a joint environment has caused the Marine Corps to articulate a new policy regarding its capabilities. USMC 2001-the Force Structure Planing Group (FSPG) report-specifies that all MEF CE's shall be capable of providing the nucleus of a Joint Task Force (JTF) headquarters for joint operations. (16:Encl 2) This requirement has instigated concern regarding whether the Marine Corps can preform that mission. I submit that not only can MEFs perform the JTF headquarters mission, but that the Marine Corps is systematically preparing them to do so. Since the founding of the Corps, Marines have customarily served under the Navy on naval bases and aboard ships. Indeed, the historic relationship between the Marine Corps and Navy can be concluded erroneously that the Marine Corps forms part of the Navy. The mission "to provide fleet marine forces for service with the fleet in the seizure or defense of advanced naval bases and for the conduct of such land operations as may be essential to the prosecution of a naval campaign" has secured this perception. When in fact, the Department of the Navy is composed of both the Marine Corps and the Navy; together as a team they provide U.S. naval forces. As a type commander, both FMFPac and FMFLant, the Marine Corps' major operating forces, are under the operational control of the Atlantic and Pacific Fleet Commanders. This relationship was developed to support the Commander Amphibious Task Force/Commander Landing Force naval team. Conducting amphibious landings as part of an Amphibious Task Force has been our basic mission; it is in this role that Marine forces have traditionally served for a navy commander. Business-as-usual is no longer the custom. The military's roles and missions are under review and the best Service for a task is assigned its mission. The Marine Corps anticipated mission modifications and added the capability for MEF CEs to operate as a JTF headquarters. Having customarily served for Navy or Army task forces, or directly for CINCs, this new command relationship offers a challenge to the Corps. The United States is leaving a security era that required a large number of combat forces to be stationed overseas. At the same time the U.S. is facing a fiscal crisis that mandates a massive reduction in defense. This coupled with the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, have drastically altered the military's deployment options. During 1991, the Marine Corps' "Force Structure Planning Group" convened to develop force structure and deployment options. On December 16, 1991, General Mundy approved the FSPG's recommendations. (16:1) USMC 2001 initiated two fundamental changes in the way in which MEF operations are carried out: the first is the restructuring of MEFs as warfighters, and the second is the requirement for the Marine Corps to provide a joint task force headquarters. "To this end action was initiated to establish Commanding Generals of FMFLant and FMFPac to assume the responsibilities of Service component commanders when, and if, directed by their respective CINCs." (5:29) This will free MEF commanders from component responsibilities and allow them to fight as a JTF efficiently. The Marine Corps Capabilities Plan states "The characteristics of the MEF command element enable it to serve as the nucleus of a JTF headquarters with Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) augmentation. It is the wide spectrum of capabilities (aviation, ground, and combat service support) over which the MEF command element exercises control that gives it this capability." (5:19) Like any institutional change, designating all three MEF CEs with the capability to function as a JTF headquarters is easier said than done. The Marine Corps does not currently have the doctrine or structure to establish a Marine component headquarters while simultaneously and independently functioning as a JTF CE. With the requirement established, the Marine Corps must decide the best method of standing-up a JTF headquarters. Three basic elements must be addressed: (1) Each MEF's manpower requirements for establishing a JTF headquarters. (2) Command and control assets required for operating as a JTF. (3) Required staff training for JTF CEs. JTFs are normally formed for short-notice contingency operations and cover a wide spectrum of military or nonmilitary activities. A JTF is "A force composed of assigned or attached elements of the Army, the Navy or the Marine Corps, and the Air Force, or two or more of these Services, which is constituted and so designated by the Secretary of Defense or by the commander of a unified command, a specified command, or an existing joint task force." (8:119) The Joint Pub 0-2, Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF) provides general guidance relating to JTF's. The authority that establishes the JTF, designates the commander, assigns the mission and forces, and ensures that administrative and logistic support is provided to the JTF as required. The establishing authority has operational control (OPCON) or Combatant Command (COCOM) of the JTF. He assigns the JTF's area of responsibility and duration of the operation. He establishes or assists in the establishment of liaison with US embassies and foreign goverments involved in a crisis, contingency, or operation. In essence, the JTF's establishing authority provides the resources required for the JTF commander to accomplish his assigned mission. Once a crisis or potential crisis is perceived, contingency planning is initiated. Time is usually critical and the activation of a JTF follows the Crisis Action Procedures (CAP) in the Joint Operations Planning and Execution System (JOPES)-Joint Pub 5-03.1, Volume 1. There are many military options possible, and the formation of a JTF is only one. Usually the Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff, the National Command Authority and the Unified Commander discuss the options available, develop the mission and objectives, establish priorities and decide whether to activate a JTF. Once a decision is made to establish a JTF, the Unified Commander (CINC) will personally select the JTF commander. A dialog between the CINC and JTF commander will start. Jointly they will review the assigned mission, rules of engagement, forces and support required and concept of operations. Personal involvement in decision making is critical. Service component commanders, senior service General Officers, J-Staff Directors of both the Joint Chiefs of Staff (JCS) and the CINC staff get involved along with appropriate government agencies. Country Team coordination through the JCS and State Department is initiated. Additionally "functional and area experts" are directly involved. The system is designed to ensure that the JTF commander drives the requirements and is supported to the maximum extent possible. The JTF commander has OPCON over all assigned forces and is responsible for their utilization in accomplishing the mission. He is responsible for developing a detailed plan to accomplish his assigned mission and presents it to the establishing authority for approval. The JTF commander may be from any of the four Services. He may also be a Service component commander. Specific missions assigned to the JTF commander will determine the JTF organization. Figure 1. depicts a typical staff for a notional JTF. When a JTF commander has been designated and assigned forces, he organizes his headquarters as he sees fit. Normally a JTF headquarters is formed along traditional staff functioning. A command element, a special staff and a functional or general staff is formed. See figure 2. The command element consists of the JTF commander, his deputy, the Chief of Staff, and his personal staff. The personal staff is directly responsible to the commander. The special staff's responsibilities include providing technical, administrative, or tactical advice or recommendations to the JTF commander or other staff agencies. The Functional Staff conforms to the major functions of command: manpower, intelligence, operations, logistics, plans and policy, and communications/electronics. These are normal J-1 through J-6 functions. "When mission requirements exceed the JTF staff's capabilities (e.g., qualified personnel, facilities, or equipment), assistance must be requested through the superior commander. The authority establishing the JTF should make provision to furnish the necessary personnel, facilities, or equipment." (11: IV-1) A "force module" concept is recommended to deploy a JTF's headquarters in theater. This concept is an adaptive planning concept that sequentially applies the building-block approach for flexibility. Joint Pub 5-00.2 recommends up to five major force modules: (1) Command and Joint Staff. Consists of the command section and functional and special staff elements. Augmentation may be required from Service components. (2) Augmentation Detachments. These detachments are added to enhance the JTF headquarter's capability in technical and specialized areas. Civil Affairs, psychological operations, mortuary affairs, and subarea petroleum offices are examples. (3) Communications Support. Typically CINCs do not have the theater command, control and communications (C3) resources available to satisfy JTF requirements. The Joint Communications Support Element (JCSE) and other CJCS controlled communications resources are tasked to provide ultra high frequency (UHF) and super high frequency (SHF) satellite communications (SATCOM), tropospheric scatter (TROPO), UHF/amplitude modulated (UHF/AM), very high frequency/frequency modulated (VHF/FM), high frequency/independent side band (HF/ISB), and teletypewriter (TTY) communications support. Additionally, the JCSE can provide an airborne Joint Communications Center/Command Post (JACC/CP) package installed in C-130E or C-140B aircraft to meet initial JTF rapid deployment requirements. The connectivity provided by the JCSE is an absolute necessity for an activated JTF. (4) Headquarters Support and Sustainment. This includes administrative and logistic support for the JTF headquarters and attached elements. (5) Security Support. Security forces are essential for all JTF headquarters. In assessing the Marine Corps' mission to stand-up a MEF CE as a JTF headquarters, the following assumptions are made: The mission must be limited in scope and duration; the JTF is dissolved when the mission has been achieved. The Marine Corps' end strength will not drop below 159,100 as projected in USMC 2001. Required equipment and personnel will be provided through augmentation. "Battle rosters" will be use to augment MEF headquarters to function on 24 hours a day basis. The requirements to obtain communications support and equipment to operate as a JTF headquarters is the MEFs "Achilles Heel." Currently the Marine Corps has Memorandums of Agreement (MOA) with the Army and Air Force (17:Interview), and is relying on JCSE augmentation to fulfill its deficiencies. Additionally, the Marine Corps will spend approximately $30.6 million procuring comm-elect equipment to reduce its shortcomings. (14:2) If the contingency is naval in character the JTF headquarters can rely on the Navy's Copernicus architecture. In reality, for a MEF to serve as a JTF headquarters, outside support is essential. A JTF is usually activated as a result of a fast breaking crisis where response time is critical. For a MEF, the JTF headquarters will be task-organize around its CE's staff. In order for a JTF to perform effectively and efficiently, its staff must have a common perspective of joint doctrine and command relationships. They must understand the "big picture" of the complex system of joint operation planning used by the military. In short, they must act as members of a "Joint Warfighting Team." The key for a MEF CE to form a JTF headquarters is to have a staff well-educated in joint matters. A staff that can provide the foundation from which a JTF headquarters can be built upon. Until 1989, the Marine Corps' Command and Staff College was an advanced Amphibious Warfare School. Joint matters were essentially ignored. (19:Marine Corps C&SC Section) Because of the Goldwater-Nichols Act of 1986, and the 1987 Ike Skelton Panel on Military Education, an extensive reorientation of the Marine Corps' Command and Staff College has been instituted. The school now emphasizes the planning and conduct of war, joint and combined operations, force employment and deployment concepts. Additionally, Marine field grade officers are attending the Joint Professional Military Education level II course. The Command and Staff College now provides the joint perspective required for Marines to stand-up a JTF headquarters and assimilate augmentees from other services. The current Department of Defense programmed manning level for the Marine Corps is 159,100; the Fleet Marine Force (FMF) will be reduced to approximately 89,000 Marines. To provide JTF capable MEFs and fully capable component headquarters at the theater level, 650 structure spaces will be added to those headquarters. (13:17) This command element enhancement demonstrates the Marine Corps' commitment to forming JTF headquarters. With the military "downsizing," 650 billets are the total structure the Marine Corps can afford to dedicate to command elements. All three MEFs and both FMFPac and FMFLant are currently developing their prospective table of organizations (T/O) under the Commanding General, Marine Corps Combat Development Command's (MCCDC) coordination. Their comparison baseline is MCCDC's proposed MEF T/O 4918D. It is a planning document and therefore malleable, however, any T/O modifications are under a "zero sum" game. The intention of T/O 4918D is to provide simultaneously deployable component and JTF headquarters. USMC 2001 initiates the "Battle Roster" concept to augment JTF headquarters; this concept allows the headquarters to function indefinitely on twenty-four hours a day basis. "Battle Rostering" draws personnel from the non-FMF and reserve forces. It worked well for both operations "Desert Storm" and "Restore Hope." (6:1) However, during recent training exercises-the period when a headquarters develops unit cohesion and team spirit-augmentation suffered from the usual reluctance to provide personnel for training. (12:1) In reviewing the notional MEF T/O, the following departures from past T/Os must be noted: (1) The G-2 Division has been increased with a more robust "All Source Fusion Center." (2) The Intelligence Liaison Section has increased. (3) The Fire Support Coordination Center is now functional, and not an Information Center as in the past. (4) The G-5 Division, JTF Branch has been established. (5) The JFACC Marine Liaison Branch has grown. Overall, more attention has been paid to liaison officer billets in the proposed T/O. Establishing liaison between JTF headquarters and higher commands, adjacent units, and supporting or assigned forces is critical. In time the personnel increases in the MEF staff will provide a solid foundation for the MEF to function as a JTF headquarters. Although a MEF has successfully performed as a JTF CE in operation "Sea Angle," the Marine Corps did not officially list this capability until June 26, 1992 in its Capabilities Plan. (5:9) Currently MEF T/O mission statements do not list this tasking and Marine Corps JTF doctrine and concepts are being developed. The Commanding General of MCCDC is taking the lead in developing/coordinating the T/Os, concepts and doctrine. All three MEFs and both Commander, U.S. Marine Forces, Atlantic and Pacific are providing recommendations. The following MEF mission statement is in the process of validation: MISSION. Command, control, direct, plan, and coordinate corps-level air, ground, and logistical operations of assigned forces, normally consisting of one or more Marine Division (s), Marine Aircraft Wing (s), Force Service Support Group (s), and Surveillance, Reconnaissance and Intelligence Group (s); function as a warfighting CE under Fleet, Marine Component, or Joint Task Force control; and function as a Joint Task Force (JTF) Headquarters, when provided with appropriate augmentation from the supported unified commander and the other service components. To free MEF commanders from component responsibilities the Commanding Generals, FMFLant and FMFPac were assigned the responsibilities of Service component commanders. The Commanding General, FMFLant is functioning as the Marine component commander for USEUCOM and USSOUTHCOM while the Commanding General, FMFPac is USCENTCOM's component command. They are also forming deployable component headquarters capable of providing USEUCOM, USSOUTHCOM, and USCENTCOM with a fully capable component headquarters when needed. (2:1) The Marine Corps considered three deployment options in tasking the JTF capability: assign one MEF as a "Super MEF" and increase its manpower, and designate it as the Corps' standing JTF headquarters capable; rely on the Marine Corps' "ad hoc" capability to task-organize and perform as a JTF: ie. operation "Sea Angle"; or expand existing MEF command elements and have each MEF staff form a strong JTF nucleus capable, with augmentation, to perform the function. The Marine Corps chose the last option and tasked all three MEF's to perform the functions of, with augmentation, a JTF headquarters. The concept envisions a forward-deployed MEU acting as the lead element of a MEF (forward). The MEU CE would be absorbed by elements of the MEF. This command sequencing lends itself to raid execution capability by adding additional units and elements. By drawing on its reservoir of forces, the MEF can provide the unified commander with flexible, rapidly deployable JTF headquarters able to meet a variety of contingency operations. Training to exercise this capacity is essential. Joint field exercises, command post exercise, etc. cannot be practiced enough, and should be given priority in funding. Training should be demanding, incremental, and include realistic objectives as mobilization, crisis action procedures and forming the JTF staff. Training with supported CINC staffs, supporting agencies and Service component headquarters will help establish current capabilities and anticipate future requirements. Concepts, doctrine, techniques and SOPs should be developed and evaluated. The result would be a ready JTF headquarters capable of completing any contingency effectively and efficiently. The Marine Corps is conducting exercises to improve its senior headquarters role and practice as a JTF. MEFEX 92-1, MEFEX 92-2, Tandem Thrust 92, Ulchi Focus Lens 92, all focused on either Marine componency, the MEF as a warfighter, or the MEF as a JTF headquarters. Exercises like these are providing lessons-learned, and are planned for the future. Additionally, the Marine Corps has tasked the Center of Naval Analysis (CNA) to review its training exercises and current capabilities. It has requested CNA to provide a more realistic analysis of a MEF's command element. The project "CNA Analytic Support to the Marine Component/JTF Headquarters Study" was established on 22 June 1992. Its objectives are to (1) delineate roles, missions, and functions of the Marine component headquarters; the subordinate MEF commander; and the Marines as a JTF; and (2) identify capabilities and deficiencies of the Marine Corps in performing these roles, missions, and functions. (15:4) In reality, the Marine Corps with its can-do attitude has already functioned as a JTF headquarters. On April 29, 1991, a typhoon battered the littoral regions of Bangladesh. The area was completely devastated. Humanitarian assistance from external sources could only save the day. Admiral Larson, Commander in Chief of U.S. Forces, Pacific called Lieutenant General H.C. Stackpole III, Commanding General III MEF and asked: "How soon can you have a JTF team in Bangladesh? The answer-24 hours! He said, Go! Your orders: Report to the United States Ambassador as a member of the country team and carry out humanitarian operations in support of the Government of Bangladesh. There was no direction on how it should be done." (18:41-42) While the 5th MEB was returning home from Desert Storm, General Stackpole echeloned his JTF headquarters over the MEB's command element. His headquarters was augmented by a deployable JTF element from CINCPAC. The preponderance of the force was Navy/Marine Corps. However, an Air Force component provided the strategic airlift, an Army component provided the first elements in theater, and a Joint Special Operations Task Fore provided a disaster relief package. Eventually the JTF became an "ad hoc" coalition of other nations. Although operation "Sea Angel" was a small JTF, it provides an excellent example of a MEF's capability to assume the mission as a JTF headquarters. By definition, a JTF commander and his staff must integrate the different Services unique capabilities-aerospace, ground, maritime, and special operation-in any combination and execute unilaterally or in combined operation with friendly nations. The requirement is for forming, staffing, deploying, employing, and redeploying the JTF on short-notice contingency operations covering a broad spectrum of military or non-military activities. Generally, the mission assigned is specific with a limited objective and does not require centralized control of logistics. As a naval expeditionary, combined arms force the MEF is tailor-made for the JTF role. The Marine Corps is unique with its MAGTF organization. Its four component parts-Command, Ground Combat, Aviation Combat, and Combat Service Support-provide a natural foundation in which a JTF can be built upon. A MAGTF comes-to-the-table with an inherent understanding of "three dimensional warfare." It can operate across the spectrum of conflict on land, sea, and air. With the ability to forward deploy an MEU, overlay an MEF (Forward), then echelon an MEF into theater, the MAGTF provides a continuous and unbroken flow of command and control in a crisis. The expeditionary nature of the MAGTF requires Marine Corps C4I to be interoperable with other Services. With augmentation/MOAs, the MEF command element possesses the connectivity necessary to exchange information with senior headquarters, national agencies and U.S. allies. By enhancing MEF T/Os the Marine Corps has made a commitment to strengthen the MEF's capability to serve as a nucleus of a JTF. As more Marine officers are educated in joint matters, this capability will only improve. The systematic preparation of MEF CEs to serve as a JTF headquarters will improve an existing capability. Currently I MEF is the JTF headquarters in Somalia for operation "Restore Hope"; this operation will provide lessons- learned for improving a vital national capability. Click here to view image BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. AFSC Pub 1, The Joint Staff Officer's Guide 1991. Norfolk, Virginia: National Defense University. 2. ALMAR 230/92, U.S. Naval Message, Sub: "Marine Corps Service Component Commands," CMC Washington, D.C. 101100Z Aug 92. 3. Brown, BGen. Gary E. Deputy Commander, FMFPac, Camp H.M. Smith, H.I. Letter to MajGen Krulak, Charles C. Director, Personnel Management Division, HQMC. Concerning the Force Structure Planning Group and "Battle Rostering," April 29, 1992. 4. Defense Information Systems Agency, Joint Interoperability and Engineering Organization, "C3 Architecture for JTF Headquarters." Washington, D.C: July 13, 1992. 5. Department of the Navy, Headquarters United States Marine Corps. Marine Corps Capabilities Plan, Volume One, June 26, 1992. 6. Driest, LtCol. C.W. Head, Ground Combat Team, MAGTF Instruction Team, Quantico, Virginia, Letter Subj: "Trip Report From 4 Dec 1992 to 7 Jan 1993 in Support of 1st MarDiv and Operation Restore Hope" 5000 over C48 dated January 27, 1993. 7. Fleet Marine Force Manual 1, Warfighting. Washington, D.C: Department of the Navy, March 6, 1989. 8. JCS Pub 1-02, Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms. Washington, D.C: Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, December 1, 1989. 9. 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Committee Print No. 1, 101th Congress, 1st Session, April 21, 1989. 20. U.S. Naval Message, Subj: "MEF Battle Rostering," CG MCCDC Quantico, Va. 241305Z Apr 92 21. U.S. Naval Message, Sub: "Organization and functions of Marine Component command Headquarters," CMC Washington, D.C. 041950Z Feb 92.
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