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Chapter I


"The nature of modern warfare demands that we fight as a team.... Effectively integrated joint forces expose no weak points or seams to enemy action, while they rapidly and efficiently find and attack enemy weak points...."

Joint Pub 1, Joint Warfare of the Armed Forces of the United States

1. Background

Given the expanse of options available to joint planners in task-organizing Army and Marine Corps forces, this publication provides two "base cases" for a common framework discussion. These two cases focus on the command and control (C2) of a notional Army brigade by a Marine expeditionary force (MEF) and the C2 of a notional Marine expeditionary force (forward) (MEF [FWD]) by an Army corps.

a. Army Division Ready Brigade. The Army division ready brigade (DRB) serves as the centerpiece for the discussions that follow. The rationale for using the DRB is threefold: a DRB will likely be the initial mechanized force deployed in a contingency situation requiring a mechanized capability; DRBs are ideally suited to deploy and linkup with Army equipment prepositioned both afloat and in the Central Command area of responsibility (AOR); and DRBs feature unique capabilities that complement United States Marine Corps (USMC) capabilities, as evidenced by the attachment of an armored brigade to a MEF during Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm. The DRB can assume many different forms; throughout this text it refers to a tailored, early-deploying armor-heavy force that features a range of operational capabilities. See Appendix A, United States Army Corps, for an overview of other Army forces that may employ with USMC forces.

b. MEF (FWD). As the USMC focus of discussion, the MEF (FWD) affords a joint force commander (JFC) exceptional operational flexibility in planning and executing joint operations. See Appendix B, Marine Air-Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs), for an overview of USMC forces that may employ with Army forces.

2. United States Army (USA) Corps

The corps is the largest tactical unit in the USA. Designed to conduct operations at the tactical or operational levels of war, the corps normally fights as part of a larger joint or multinational force within the context of campaigns or major operations. See Appendix A and Field Manual (FM) 100-15, Corps Operations, for further information.

a. Composition. Corps differ in size and composition. Depending on the preponderance of armored, mechanized, or light infantry combat units, a corps can be characterized as heavy light, or mixed. Corps are tailored for the specific requirements of the mission. Generally, a corps consists of two to five divisions: a corps aviation brigade, corps artillery, a corps support command, and a number of combat, combat support (CS), and combat service support (CSS) units that range in size from companies to brigades.

b. Functions.

(1) The corps plans and conducts operations in concert with other elements of the joint force to achieve campaign or major operations' objective.

(2) The corps provides the C2 structure for the JFC when designated and properly augmented to perform that function.

(3) The corps performs the role of the Army service component commander. The corps may function as the Army forces (ARFOR) headquarters establishing linkages to joint, combined, and interagency organizations, conducting combat and support operations.

(4) The corps integrates available Air Force, Navy, and Marine combat, CS, and CSS into tactical operations, including joint efforts in intelligence, target acquisition, target attack, electronic warfare (EW), suppression of enemy air defenses (SEAD), and logistics.

(5) The corps plans and conducts close, deep, and rear operations.

c. Corps Role in Army-Marine Corps Integration (AMCI). When designated as the joint task force (JTF) or joint force land component commander (JFLCC), the corps commander and staff may exercise C2 of and provide appropriate augmentation to assigned MAGTFs. When directed, the corps provides major combat, CS, or CSS units or other augmentation to USMC control.

3. Army Divisions

The division is the Army's largest "fixed" organization that trains and fights as a tactical team. Army divisions are organized with varying numbers and types of combat, CS, and CSS units. They are classified as armored, mechanized, infantry, light infantry, airborne, or air assault. Normally divisions conduct operations as part of a corps or larger force but are capable of acting independently with appropriate augmentation. Divisional roles in AMCI parallel those of the corps during exceptional circumstances, when the division acts as the higher headquarters for a MAGTF. When subordinate to a MEF, divisional roles mirror those of the Army brigades discussed below. See FM 71-100, Division Operations, for further information.

4. Army Heavy DRB

Organized to fight successive battles on any part of the battlefield in conventional, nuclear, or chemical environments, the Army DRB features the mobility, firepower, and survivability needed to destroy enemy forces by fire and maneuver and to disrupt enemy operations by fire.

a. Organization. There is no standard organization for a division ready brigade. Specific composition depends on the strategic setting; nature of the contingency mission; forces available; and mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, time available (METT-T) analysis of the particular situation that required the deployment and employment of the brigade. Figure I-1 reflects a notional DRB. The model is not absolute for the units or types and quantities of weapons portrayed; its function is to serve as a common point of departure for subsequent discussions throughout the publication.

b. Capabilities/Limitations. The DRB accomplishes missions assigned by higher headquarters and conforms to that commander's intent and concept of operation. Although capable of acting independently, the brigade normally conducts operations as part of a larger force. Table I-1 reflects capabilities and limitations of the Army DRB.


Marine Corps forces are assigned to the Marine component of the US Atlantic and Pacific Commands. The Marine Corps provides deployable, tailored, and flexible combined arms MAGTFs to supported unified commands as directed by the National Command Authorities (NCA). Traditionally, the size ranges from the most capable MAGTF to a Marine expeditionary unit (MEU) or even to a special purpose (SP) MAGTF. The MAGTF is a MEF composed of one or more divisions, Marine air wings (MAWs), and force service support groups (FSSGs) capable of conducting extended combat operations. The MEU can be a reinforced infantry battalion and a reinforced aircraft squadron capable of executing operations of limited scope and duration. The SP Marine air ground task force (SPMAGTF) is usually a small, task-organized force configured to accomplish missions for which the MEF, MEF (FWD), or MEU are inappropriate. The specific composition of MAGTFs depends upon the requirements of a particular mission, but the basic organization is standard. Each MAGTF consists of a command element (CE), one or more ground combat elements (GCEs), an aviation combat element (ACE), and a combat service support element (CSSE).

a. CE. The CE consists of the MAGTF commander, a general and special staff, headquarters sections, communications, and other service support sections. The GE serves as the focal point for MAGTF operational execution in coordinating and directing the efforts of assigned aviation, ground, and CSSE.

b. GCE. The GCE is task organized around combat and CS units and can range in capability and size from a single reinforced rifle company to one or more reinforced Marine divisions (MARDIVs).

c. ACE. The ACE plans and executes air operations for the MAGTF. Marine aviation functions include air reconnaissance, antiair warfare, assault support, offensive air support, EW, and control of aircraft and missiles. The ACE varies in size from a reinforced helicopter squadron to one or more MAWs. Like the GCE, the ACE is also task organized with appropriate CS and CSS.

d. CSSE. The CSSE is task organized to provide the necessary CSS to accomplish the MAGTF mission. Based on situational requirements, CSSEs vary in size from an expansive force service support group that supports a MEF to the smaller combat service support detachment (CSSD) that would support a MEU.

6. MEF

The MEF, the largest MAGTF, is the Marine Corps' primary warfighting force. Its composition, functions, and roles in integrated operations are described below:

a. Composition. The MEF may consist of one or more MARDIVs, one or more MAWs, and can be more than one FSSG. A MEF (single division/wing/FSSG) features approximately 55,000 Marine Corps and Navy personnel, 300 fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft, 300 combat vehicles, and 72 artillery pieces.

b. Functions.

(1) The MEF commands, controls, directs, plans, and coordinates air and ground operations of joint forces assigned, attached, or under its operational authority to achieve campaign or major operations' objectives.

(2) The MEF provides the C2 structure for the JFC when designated and properly augmented to perform that function.

(3) The MEF functions as the Marine Corps forces (MARFOR) headquarters when so designated.

(4) The MEF integrates available Air Force, Navy, and Army combat, CS, and CSS into tactical operations, including joint efforts in intelligence, target acquisition, target attack, EW, SEAD, and logistics.

(5) The MEF plans and executes amphibious operations in concert with the United States Navy (USN).

c. AMCI Roles. When designated as the JTF commander or JFLCC, the MEF commander and staff may exercise C2 of and provide appropriate augmentation to assigned Army units. When directed, the MEF provides major combat, CS, CSS units or other augmentation to USA control.

7. MEU

Commanded by a colonel, the MEU includes approximately 2500 Marines and sailors. The MEU GCE is normally an infantry battalion landing team (BLT) reinforced with an artillery battery, amphibious assault vehicles, light armored reconnaissance vehicles, and combat engineers, The MEU ACE is a reinforced helicopter squadron, including a mix of attack helicopters; light, medium, and heavy transport helicopters; and vertical/short takeoff landing (V/STOL) attack aircraft. The MEU service support group (MSSG) can provide 15 days of sustainment. MEUs are normally seabased aboard an amphibious ready group (ARG) and are forward deployed to meet the operational requirements of the commanders of a combatant command (CINCs). MEUs are the most responsive of MAGTFs, MEUs are trained, equipped, and certified as special operations capable before deployment. Because of its size and sustainability, a MEU generally requires reinforcement for extensive and/or extended operations ashore, The MEU is capable of compositing with additional forces, transitioning to a larger MAGTF, or serving as the enabling force to facilitate the introduction of other forces.

8. MEF (FWD)

Given its inherent flexibility, the MEF (FWD) will likely be the force of choice as the initial element to deploy from a MEF. The standing elements of a MEF staff normally form the basis for the CE of a MEF (FWD). MEF CES are structured to command task-organized MAGTFs that provide the required JFC capabilities. As a result, the numbers and types of units, aircraft, weapons, and total assigned personnel varies. Because of the flexibility described above, the MEF (FWD) is ideally suited for conducting sustained combat operations as part of a larger joint force.

There is no standard organization for a MEF (FWD). Specific composition depends on organization of the DRB described earlier. Figure I-2 reflects a notional MEF (FWD). As with the DRB, the model is not absolute for the units or types and quantities of weapons portrayed but designed to serve as a common point of departure for ensuing discussions. The MEF (FWD) shown is formed around a reinforced infantry regiment, an aircraft group, and a supporting brigade service support element. Table I-2 describes the capabilities the same conditions that dictate the task and limitations of the MEF (FWD).

9. Fundamentals of AMCI Operations

The basic principle for effectively integrating and employing USA and USMC forces as a joint warfighting team is to maximize the capabilities of one force to counterbalance the vulnerabilities of the other. To achieve that end, requirements for additional external forces and assets must be identified and resourced; command relationships must be established; and the force must be task organized for operational planning and execution.

10. Augmentation Requirements

In some circumstances, the DRB and the MEF (FWD) may fight in the configurations depicted in Figures I-1 and I-2 respectively. In most cases, however, both forces require augmentation to conduct sustained combat operations. The augmentation matrix found in Table I-3 provides a summary of some of the augmentation the DRB may require to operate as part of a MEF. The table also identifies potential sources for the required augmentation assets. Table I-4 provides similar data for the MEF (FWD) when it operates as part of an Army corps. The tables illustrate rather than prescribe; specific requirements are situation dependent. Augmentation requirements are addressed in greater detail in succeeding functionally focused chapters.

11. Command Relationships

A JFC organizes forces based on the mission assigned; objectives and guidance from higher headquarters; and capabilities and strength of the component forces assigned. In the case of AMCI operations, the JFC determines the basis on which subordinate commanders exercise command. Also, the JFC assigns and clearly defines responsibilities and scopes of authority in the directives that establish subordinate commands.

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