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Operational Reach 2015 war game tests future Corps' operations

US Marine Corps News

By Pfc. David Staten | June 2, 2015

Fifty subject matter experts from the four services of the U.S. Armed Forces, as well as representatives from the United Kingdom and Australia, are scheduled to conduct the Operational Reach 2015 war game at Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, from June 1-5.

During the war game, the Marine Corps and Navy will identify critical energy-based capability gaps and risk mitigation options during Marine Expeditionary Brigade forcible entry and lodgment operations in a 2030 operating environment. The game will also enable the services to explore new operational concepts.

"Operational Reach 2015 is important due primarily to the fact of the logistical challenges that the operational force has run into," said Col. James McGrath, Deputy Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group 2, and the cell lead for the game.

The war game will identify issues concerning new naval concepts and weapons systems such as: fuel storage, load measurement, vehicle travel, equipment distribution, follow-on operations and energy implications.

"We've continued to develop great new capabilities that have greater fuel requirements," said Arthur Corbett, Naval concepts analyst, Concepts Branch, USMC Futures Directorate and facilitator of the game.

While exploring the concepts and scenarios, participants in the war game will evaluate a wide variety of operational energy risks.

"I think a large part of the risk is going to push over to logistics when you talk about forces being distributed over such a wide area," McGrath said.

Risk consideration is a high priority when examining any operation. Risk is considered in forces used and in mission decisions.

The operation focuses on three different moves. The first move, shaping, involves figuring out the best way to gain advantage over the enemy and learn what activities are happening in the area, while also paying attention to energy challenges.

Move two is forcible entry, which considers the energy-based risk associated with forcible entry operations and littoral warfare in an anti-access area denial threat environment using a 2024 Naval equipment set. Although more lethal, future combat systems will demand far more energy than yesterday's systems. The implications of this increased energy demand in the Naval Force will be studied in detail.

"We are preparing for a wide variety of situations," McGrath said. "The sheer movement of the amount of equipment and supplies, once you get that bulk of supplies to shore is crazy.

"Once ashore, the supplies have to get to the individual Marine, to the individual vehicle, to the individual unit and so forth."

The last move is force extension. This move examines the risks, decision space, and capabilities related to MEB lodgment operations ashore as it extends its operational reach from the seabase.

"Operational Reach 2015 is a great way for us to explore new concepts and make sure they are sustainable," said Capt. Byron K. Johnson, an OPNAV N95 Future Amphibious Integration Officer. By integrating operational energy challenges within the context of operational impact, Operational Reach 2015 is focused on increasing the effectiveness of Navy and Marine Corps team during combat operations.

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