Military

 


The Marine Component Headquarters and Wartime Functions

CSC 1995

SUBJECT AREA - Manpower

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Title: The Marine Component Headquarters and Wartime

Functions

Author: Major J.S. Mitchell, United States Marine Corps

Thesis: The Marine service component headquarters need to

be lean, but fully capable of performing a variety of

functions in support of the CINC and the Marine warfighter

during a wartime scenario.

Background: The Desert Shield/Desert Storm experience led

the Marine Corps to consider establishing separate Marine

service component headquarters for each unified CINC. In

February 1992 the Commandant released a message proposing a

review of the functions and capabilities required of a

component headquarters as well as proposing that Fleet

Marine Forces Atlantic and Pacific be designated as the

Marine service component headquarters. In a September 1992

the Commandant formally established these service component

commands. The Marine Corps Combat Development Command

requested that the Center for Naval Analyses conduct a study

on CINC service component concepts for the Marine Corps.

The study team made several recommendations on service

component structure and functions. The Marine Corps Force

Structure Planning Group developed an additional list of

functions and made structure recommendations. To these

lists were added unified command requirements for functions

required of a service component. Since then the Marine

component commands have wrestled with the issues of

structure and function. It has been an evolutionary

process and great strides have been made, but there are

milestones yet to be reached.The size and organization of

staffs has yet to be resolved. The division of labor within

the component headquarters and the prevention of bleed over

or duplication of functions with the warfighter require

continuous refinement.

Recommendations: The Marine component headquarters need to

be fully represented at each of the unified commands. The

staffs must be lean, but fully capable (with augmentation)

of performing their mission during wartime. A definite

division of labor needs to exist with the component

headquarters and with the warfighter during wartime.

The Marine Component Headquarters and Wartime Functions

In February 1992, the Commandant of the Marine Corps

(CMC) released a message proposing a "...thorough review of

the functions and capabilities required [of a service

component] headquarters.1 The message also proposed that

the Commanding General, Fleet Marine Force Pacific (CG,

FMFPAC) be the service component commander for USCINCPAC and

the designated service component commander for USCINCCENT.

The message further proposed that the Commanding General,

Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (CG, FMFLANT) be the service

component commander for USCINCLANT (now CINCUSACOM) and the

designated service component commander for USCINCEUR and

USCINCSOUTH. CMC formally established these service

component commands in September 1992.2 Since then the

Marine Corps has worked diligently at achieving full

componency. It has been an evolutionary process and there

are milestones yet to be reached. The Marine service

component headquarters need to be lean, but fully capable

of performing a variety of functions in support of the CINC

and the Marine warfighter from multiple locations during a

wartime scenario.

The Desert Shield/ Desert Storm experience led the

Marine Corps to consider establishing separate Marine

service component headquarters for each unified command.

In the Gulf, CG I MEF was dual-hatted as COMMARCENT, the

Marine component commander under USCINCCENT. CG, I MEF and

most of his staff were located at a forward headquarters.

Collocated with CINCCENT in Riyadh were a small staff and a

Marine two-star general officer. The fact that the other

services (except for the Navy) had larger staffs in Riyadh,

headed by three-star general officers, suggested that the

Marine Corps was not receiving equal representation and that

it should consider a similar structure.

Prior to this time separate service components did not

exist in the Marine Corps. Organizations that came close to

it, Fleet Marine Force Atlantic (FMFLANT), Fleet Marine

Force Europe (FMFEUR) (DESIGNATE) and Fleet Marine Force

Pacific (FMFPAC) were type commands under the Navy Service

Components.

Why did the Marine corps establish Marine component

commands? The answer is threefold. First, as already

stated, the Gulf War experience demonstrated the requirement

for a service component headquarters, collocated with the

unified command in theater separate from the MAGTF

warfighting commander. Secondly, a Marine component command

allowed for direct access to the unified commander and his

staff. This served to provide ever present Marine Corps

visibility and influence on the use of Marine Forces and

brought the Corps in line with the Goldwater-Nichols Act of

1986. Lastly, the establishment of Marine service component

commands brought the Corps more in line with the arrangement

at the service chief level. CMC had been a member of the

Joint Chiefs of Staff for sometime and this same arrangement

at the theater CINC level was desirable.

Within this context, the Marine Corps Combat

Development Command (MCCDC) requested that the Center for

Naval Analyses (CNA) perform a study on CINC service

component concepts for the Marine Corps.3 These concepts

were to include roles, missions and functions as well as

organizational structures for the headquarters.

The CNA study team first delineated roles, missions and

function of component headquarters in peacetime, wartime

and during transition to war. Secondly, the team identified

capabilities and deficiencies of the Marine Corps to perform

these roles. Lastly, the team developed and analyzed

courses of action to increase the ability of the Marine

Corps to take on these responsibilities. The results of the

study were published in June 1994 in a series of classified

and unclassified reports. The results of the have received

mixed reviews. For the record, it is worth reviewing in

broad terms the approach that the team used in their

analysis, to include issues that were beyond their scope and

needed to be resolved by the Marine Corps and some final

cautions that they put forward.

The team began their research by reviewing JCS Pub. 2,

Unified Action Armed Forces (UNAAF). Joint doctrine defines

service component commands as consisting of the Service

component commander and all those individuals, units,

detachments, organizations and installations under his

command that have been assigned to the unified command.

Other individuals, units, detachments, organizations or

installations may operate directly under the service

component commander and should contribute to the mission of

the CINC.4 Additionally, UNAAF addresses service component

commanders having responsibilities that derive from their

positions in both the operational and Service chains of

command.5 These functions are listed at Appendix A.

It is appropriate to mention at this time that the

Marine Corps Force Structure Planning Group (FSPG) under

then, Brigadier General Krulak, also published a list of

functions for the service component headquarters. This list

briefly described the role of the service component

headquarters above and beyond those listed in UNAAF.6 It

stated that the component headquarters would be the primary

source for administrative and logistics support functions

combined with coordination and liaison functions. This

would serve to assist the warfighter by relieving him of

those functions not directly associated with warfighting.

Additionally, an even more expansive list emerged when joint

doctrine, coupled with the FSPG, was added to service

component functions and requirements derived from recent

exercises, contingencies and requirements from theater

CINCS. This last source is critical in that OPLANS,

CONPLANS, strategic plans and CINC policies hold the real

key to the requirements of service components.

Returning to the CNA study, there were several issues

that the team revealed requiring Marine Corps action. Among

them were: 1) the functions of the service component versus

other headquarters, 2) the size of the headquarters and 3)

the service component functions in support of a Joint Task

Force.7 The team also cautioned the Marine Corps that there

were certain steps that needed to be taken in order to

implement an effective headquarters. Along them were: 1)

the development of meaningful doctrine, 2) the pursuit of a

rigorous training program to teach this doctrine and 3) the

absolute requirement to overcome the warfighter bias on the

part of the component commander and staff.8

After conscientiously addressing the factors above, the

team used a requirements-based approach in the study to

develop concepts for a service component headquarters.

Functions were determined using a top-down approach, i.e.

that the theater CINC would establish the requirements for

their components. Consequently each theater CINC was

visited to collect data and, as stated earlier joint

doctrine, Marine Corps publications, exercise and

operational after-action reports were consulted.

Next, the team identified potential courses of action

for a service component headquarters. This was done using a

zero based approach meaning that all possible structures

were examined. Eight organizational structures were

identified for a headquarters. These structures covered the

spectrum of distance, both conceptual as well as physical

from the CINC. Each course of action contained a peacetime

and wartime component as well as a reference to a "cell" if

the service component had representation at the CINC. The

courses of action varied from those that were combined Navy

and Marine Corps in both peacetime and wartime to those that

were a full component staff (Marine only) that were

collocated with a CINC in peacetime and responsible to him

alone and also deployed with that CINC in time of crisis.

Once the courses of action were finalized each was assessed

with respect to their ability to perform the required

component functions. Then a theater by theater analysis was

performed and the results tallied.

As a final step, the study looked at the various costs

of implementing each of the courses of action by theater for

the Marine Corps overall. This yielded a list of options

with pros and cons for each. The study team also proposed a

method of selecting the best possible option for performing

the required service component functions.

In taking this approach the study traded depth for

scope. This was purposeful in that many different component

initiatives came up during the study and it was important to