Military

Fighting With Fires: The Future of Marine Corps Artillery

CSC 1997

Subject Area - Artillery

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Title: FIGHTING WITH FIRES: THE FUTURE OF MARINE CORPS ARTILLERY

Author: Major John E. Shook, USMC

Thesis: Should the Marine Corps consider a rocket system to provide the capabilities to shore up current fire support needs and meet the requirements evolving from Sea Dragon for future warfare?

Discussion: During the late 1980's and early 1990's, end strength reductions required a revised force structure. But the new organizational structure resulted in an imbalance in artillery support capability that was further challenged by the cancellation of the planned acquisition of a battalion of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). Indirect fire support levels are now below that originally planned for the much smaller 159,100 Marine sized force.

Marine Corps fire support should be based on a balanced force of air, sea, and ground systems. The current reactionary structuring process, using weak doctrine and shallow studies, fails to provide a unified and balanced approach to support procurement decisions. The current threat is both internal and external and its vagueness requires a capabilities approach for force development that ensures the flexibility to operate across the full spectrum of conflict. The division commander currently does not have the organic capability to rapidly weight the battle with all-weather, heavy fires.

The current MOA with the Army is not an acceptable long term fire support solution; but it can provide the Marine Corps the time necessary to implement the results of the QDR and design a balanced fire support structure that will blend with the future vision of warfare. Rockets provide an overwhelming increase in firepower with reduced manpower requirements in a cost efficient, rapidly deployable framework, and rocket technology can provide the bridge from current requirements to the futuristic battlefield.

Conclusions and Recommendations: Rockets and missiles are undoubtedly the future of fire support and should be an organic asset of the division. Additional support for the MEF should first come from Marine reserve units also equipped with rockets. To buy time for the combat development process, the Marine Corps must renew and strengthen the MOA with the Army. The agreement must cover a minimum of five years and solve the various weak points. To encourage Army support, the Marine Corps should join in the joint development of HIMARS. The Marine Corps must address its lack of doctrine for structuring fire support. Accepting Army doctrine will save time and resources and enhance joint interoperability in the future. However, that doctrine must be applicable with the Marine Corps force structure and unique missions. The issue of a MEF level artillery headquarters and fires capability should also be resolved as part of the doctrinal discussions. Most importantly, the Marine Corps must immediately finalize the draft Mission Need Statement for an Expeditionary Indirect General Support Weapons System (EIGSWS) that emphasizes a capabilities approach for general support fires. Once the QDR and NDP findings are released and approved by Congress the Marine Corps must craft a balanced fire support organization that will continue to protect America's freedom.


CONTENTS

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY ................................... iii

CONTENTS ............................... iv

LIST OF FIGURES ............................ vii

CHAPTER PAGE

1. DRAWING DOWN ....................................................................................... 1

2. CURRENT ARTILLERY STRUCTURE ...................................................... 3

Tempo Versus Continuous Support, 4

General Support Artillery, 5

3. MINIMUM ADEQUATE ARTILLERY SUPPORT .................................... 7

World War II: Division and Force Level Artillery, 8

Forty Years of Conflicts, 11

Korea, 11

Vietnam, 12

Desert Storm, 13

Future Conflicts, 15

Marine Doctrine, 15

Army Doctrine, 17

Structure Versus Doctrine Void, 22

Memorandum of Agreement, 24

Permanence, 24

Availability, 26

Command Relationship, 27

4. THE THREAT .............................................................................................. 29

Enemy Threat, 29

Domestic Threat, 30

Money, 30

Roles and Mission = Structure, 30

Duplication, Redundancy, or Necessary Capability, 32

Technology, 35

Time, 36

5. MARINE CORPS FIRE SUPPORT CHALLENGES ................................... 37

Maneuver Support, 37

Force Fires, 38

Combined and Coalition Warfare, 39

Maritime Prepositioned Force, 39

Balancing Fire Support: Air, Sea, Ground Based, 40

Aviation, 41

Naval Surface Fire Support, 43

Ground Based Systems, 43

Combined Arms, 47

Future Concepts, 47

Fire Support Studies, 49

Weaknesses, 50

Findings, 51

Conclusions, 52


6. ROCKET/MISSILE POTENTIAL ................................................................ 53

Capabilities, 54

Limitations, 54

Cost, 56

Technology, 58

Range, 58

Ammunition, 58

Precision, 59

Versatility, 59

Mobility, 59

7. POTENTIAL SOLUTION ............................................................................ 61

8. SUMMARY .................................................................................................. 63

9. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS ........................................ 64

Appendixes

A. Artillery Tactical Mission Inherent Responsibilities ................................... 67

B. The Memorandum of Agreement ................................................................. 68

Bibliography .................................................................................................................. 70


LIST OF FIGURES

Figure Page

1. Howitzer Tubes Available in the Active/Reserve Force Structure ...................... 2

2. WWII Marine Corps Artillery Structure (Okinawa) ............................................ 9

3. Marine Artillery Structure in Desert Storm ....................................................... 14

4. Army Organic Divisional Artillery for Heavy Division ..................................... 17

5. Army Separate Artillery Brigade ........................................................................ 18

6. Army Artillery Allocation for Heavy Division ................................................... 18

7. XVIII Airborne Corps Organic Artillery Support ............................................... 20

8. Cost Comparison (in FY 97 Dollars) .................................................................. 56

9. NOTIONAL Marine Division Active Duty Fire Support Structure .................... 61


FIGHTING WITH FIRES: THE FUTURE OF MARINE CORPS ARTILLERY

The tendency towards under-rating firepower.has marked every peace interval in modern military history.

B. H. Liddell Hart: Thoughts on War, 1944

CHAPTER 1

DRAWING DOWN

During the late 1980's and early 1990's, the Marine Corps began the difficult task of redesigning force structure in response to the collapse of the Soviet Union and the resulting change in focus for United States defensive policy. The replacement of aging fire support systems with equipment purchased during the Reagan/Bush years required new approaches to the organization of artillery support units. Plans to downsize the Corps by about twenty percent, from 197,000 to approximately 159,100, reduced the Corps' ability to successfully execute its wide ranging missions. Eventually the Department of Defense settled on an authorized end strength of 174,000 Marines. This represented an actual reduction of approximately 10 percent of the active forces of the Corps. In comparison, the cut of 152 of the artillery tubes available for support for the active forces, with an additional 18 more tubes cut from the reserve structure, amounted to approximately a forty-five percent reduction of the artillery force and leaves only 180 active and 90 reserve artillery tubes remaining as shown in Figure 1.[1] While initial plans


called for the reduction of up to eight infantry battalions from the active force of twenty-seven battalions, the finalized structure retained twenty-four battalions.[2] The resulting imbalance in artillery support for maneuver units was further challenged by the cancellation of the planned acquisition of a battalion of multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The end result places indirect fire support levels well below that originally planned for the much smaller 159,100 Marine sized force.[3] This paper examines the effects this reduced structure has on fire support for the Marine Division and the Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) in its warfighting role. Additionally, the changing nature of future war's fire support requirements will be analyzed to determine if the Marine Corps should invest in a rocket system at this time to balance today's deficiencies with tomorrow's emerging demands for combat effectiveness and cost efficiency.

Regiment

FY88

FY89

FY90

FY91

FY92

FY93

FY94

10th Mar

120

96

96

96

72

72

72

11th Mar

92

86

86

86

72

72

72

12th Mar

120

114

102

102

54

54

36

Total

14th Mar

332

108

296

108

284

108

284

108

198

108

198

108

180

90

Figure 1. Howitzer Tubes Available in the Active/Reserve Force Structure


CHAPTER 2

CURRENT ARTILLERY STRUCTURE

By 1994, Marine artillery had reconfigured to the current structure of 10 active duty battalions and five reserve battalions. Each of the active duty battalions are mirror-imaged as direct support battalions and all are equipped with the M198, 155 mm towed howitzer. The artillery battalion structure consists of 47 officers and 576 enlisted Marines organized into a Headquarters battery and three firing batteries. Each battalion contains a full complement of forward observer (FO) and liaison (LN) teams to integrate fires for the maneuver element they may be assigned to support. This new structure provides FO and LN support for up to four maneuver elements and remedies many problems encountered as the Marine Corps embraced maneuver warfare.

The addition of three light armored infantry battalions (LAI), now called light armored reconnaissance (LAR), and the more aggressive use of the organic tank battalion as a maneuver element, or as the base unit for task organized forces, severely strained the artillery regiment's ability to provide timely, well-coordinated, direct support fires for a more mobile and maneuverable force with even more maneuver units. Mirror imaging each artillery battalion provided the capability for a fourth direct support battalion, but the creation of this additional capability masked the costs associated with its development. The Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) study of 1989 recommended a 4x6 artillery battalion structure.[4] This indicates four firing batteries consisting of six guns each that would provide 24 howitzers per battalion for support. However, due to the limited force structure available, a battery was taken from each of the existing battalions to create the additional direct support battalion-resulting in a 3x6 structure for each of the 10 active artillery battalions. This organization has created two critical challenges: providing artillery support for mechanized forces and providing reinforcing and general support fires.

Tempo Versus Continuous Support

As the Marine Corps becomes more mechanized, fire support elements face a more difficult challenge to support rapidly moving maneuver forces. In order to provide responsive covering fires, an artillery battalion leapfrogs firing batteries from position to position to maintain range fans capable of ensuring fires are available when and where they may be needed for the advancing maneuver units. Normally, in today's faster paced operations, self-propelled artillery provides this capability. However, since self-propelled artillery is more difficult to deploy due to its size and weight, and is more costly, the Marine Corps has decided to use only towed artillery.

Although this simplifies logistics for the inventory and maintenance of parts, it places a greater challenge on the artillery battalion to guarantee continuous coverage. Better intelligence about the enemy and more detailed integration of artillery displacements with the supported unit's scheme of maneuver can partially compensate for the challenges of increased tempo; but the most significant factor affecting tempo was the reassignment of the fourth firing battery from each of the three direct support (DS) battalions to create a fourth 3x6 DS battalion.

The restructuring plan developed at the 1989 Artillery Conference called for 4x6 battalions that would provide the additional maneuverable battery to maintain the battalion's firepower with 24 howitzers as in the old 3x8 organization and have the flexibility to support mechanized units.[5] This point was reinforced in the lessons from Desert Storm that validated the capability of towed artillery battalions, 4x6, to support highly maneuverable forces in a theater characterized by poor roads and soft, sandy soil that hampered cross-country movement by vehicles.[6] Colonel R. A. Gangle provided a dissenting opinion in a Desert Shield/Storm after action report from Regimental Landing Team 5 (RLT)-there is still considerable debate about the suitability of towed artillery to support mechanized forces.[7]

General Support Artillery

By far the most critical aspect of the changes in force structure, is the significant reduction of reinforcing and general support artillery capability. The practice of referring to types of artillery pieces or units as general support (GS), general support-reinforcing (GS-R), reinforcing (R), or direct support (DS) artillery is a misnomer. Used correctly, these refer to the four standard tactical missions and their associated inherent responsibilities (see Appendix A) that may be assigned to artillery battalion and higher level units. However, this error is widely practiced due to the association of system and structure characteristics that make a howitzer or organization more suited to one type of mission over another. Units equipped with light artillery pieces with high rates of fire are better suited for DS; but the capabilities desired for GS missions are heavy caliber weapons with longer ranges. Artillery units that are not structured with organic FO and LN teams are usually assigned GS, GS-R, or R missions and not DS missions. While each of the Marine Corps' artillery battalions can be assigned and execute any one of the four standard tactical fire support missions, allocating the battalions that habitually provide DS to other missions could leave a committed maneuver unit without responsive artillery support. At times, in the complexity of battle, this may be necessary to weight the main attack; but this should not become the norm or doctrinal approach as a result of a force structure that severely limits the availability of artillery.

In addition to weighting the main attack, artillery should be available for the higher commander as established in Marine FMFM 2-7 Fire Support in Air-Ground Task Force Operations. "The force or division commander must retain immediately available artillery with which he can influence the action. GS and GS-R missions facilitate this fundamental."[8] Global sourcing has become the accepted procedure for commanders concerned about the lack of artillery to acquire the units necessary to weight the main effort and provide GS fires for the overall force or for the commander to shape the battlefield for future operations.

The concept of global sourcing attempts to fulfill requirements for forces by shifting organic structure from an uncommitted organization to provide needed capabilities. This is acceptable in very limited operations and can apply in larger conflicts that allow for the mobilization of the reserves. While this task organization approach may meet the critical needs of the supported force, the organizations providing the units become less combat ready. Essentially, global sourcing has the potential to recreate the "hollow" force of the 70's by accepting improperly balanced forces while deferring difficult structural decisions. The process to determine artillery structure begins with the concept of minimum adequate artillery support.


CHAPTER 3

MINIMUM ADEQUATE ARTILLERY SUPPORT

Organizing artillery for combat is one of the first steps in planning fire support. This process is a combination of allocating artillery forces to subordinate organizations and the assignment of tactical missions to artillery units retained at a given force level. The resulting plan should fulfill the artillery mission established in FMFM 6-9 Marine Artillery Support:

Furnish close and continuous fire support by neutralizing, destroying, or suppressing targets which threaten the success of the supported unit. To accomplish its mission, artillery conducts three tasks:

Provides timely, close, accurate, and continuous fire support.

Provides depth to combat by attacking hostile reserves, restricting movement, providing long-range support for reconnaissance forces, and disrupting enemy command and control systems and logistical installations.

Delivers counterfire within the range of the weapons systems to ensure the freedom of action of the ground forces.[9]

Since the battalion is the smallest artillery unit assigned a tactical mission, it has generally become accepted that an artillery battalion will be assigned the mission for direct support of a maneuver regiment. This is now specifically spelled out as doctrine in FMFM 6-9 as, "The minimum adequate fire support for a committed unit (e.g., infantry regiment or separate maneuver battalion) is normally considered to be one artillery battalion in DS. Some situations may require more artillery support; e.g., reinforcing or GS-R artillery. This may result in less support or no DS to one unit to increase the combat power of another."[10] To make such a critical decision, the commander must also rely on an analysis of the mission, enemy, terrain and weather, troops and support available, and time available (METT-T) to determine adequate artillery support in a given situation. A brief historical review of various applications of this principle of artillery support may help clarify this point and establish a baseline for further analysis.

World War II: Division and Force Level Artillery

During the battle for Okinawa in April 1945, III Marine Amphibious Corps (MAC) landed two divisions, each supported by an organic artillery regiment consisting of two 75 mm towed howitzer battalions and two 105 mm towed howitzer battalions.[11] Figure 2 depicts the divisional artillery and III MAC's corps artillery organized into two groups of three battalions each.[12] These groups gave the III MAC Commander, Major General Roy S. Geiger, the capability to rapidly weight the main effort, fight the deep battle, or shape the battlefield for future operations without stripping away the organic artillery of the division commanders. Thus, the divisions retained adequate artillery to provide direct support and reinforcing fires for the close battle.


Figure 2. WWII Marine Corps Artillery

Structure (Okinawa)

As the battlefield conditions changed (METT-T), Marine corps artillery was transferred to the Army forces fighting in the southern part of the island to provide additional combat power to the battle there. Still later, the divisional artillery of the 1st Marine Division, the 11th Marines, was also reassigned to support the beleaguered Army units facing the formidable Shuri Line in the south. After additional requests for the piecemeal reassignment of III MAC's units to the


southern front, General Geiger argued against breaking up an effective team. In response to his concerns, the 1st Marine Division was moved to the south and reformed with all of its elements. After the northern part of the island was secured, the entire III MAC was relocated to the line of battle in the south.[13]

Throughout the campaign for Okinawa massive fire support was also available from over 200 fire support ships, some 41 aircraft carriers, and land based planes that included an Army Air Force fighter wing and three Marine air groups. Despite the availability of this remarkable firepower, there was an obvious need for both divisional and corps artillery. In all, over 27 battalions of artillery supported four committed divisions.[14] Each infantry regiment generally had a battalion of DS artillery and could call for reinforcing and general support fires as needed. Artillery battalion missions were changed as necessary to support the scheme of maneuver and METT-T. The 6th Marine Division had 22 battalions of artillery supporting its attack on the town of Makabe.[15] This campaign provides a prime example of the complementary nature of various means of fire support: air, sea, ground. It also shows the value of a flexible artillery organization that meets the needs of the commander at every level. While the fog of war may dictate a nonstandard approach, such as the shifting of organic divisional artillery to another force, this is not the optimum or preferred approach over the long run.

Forty Years of Conflicts

After World War II the general organizational framework of Marine artillery continued to be based on separate divisional and force artillery structures. Despite the organizational structure, the force artillery was usually parceled out as attachments to the divisions' artillery regiment until 1978 when the Field Artillery Groups (FAG) that provided the general fire support for the Marine Amphibious Force (MAF) were disbanded.[16] This reorganization placed all artillery units under the artillery regiment organic to the division.

Korea. By 1950 the entire Fleet Marine Force totaled only 23, 952 Marines as a result of the massive downsizing of the Armed Forces after WWII, with only six infantry battalions remaining in the active forces. The 1st Provisional Marine Brigade was formed with 6,534 Marines for the initial Marine deployment to Korea. [17] Forming and embarking this force severely taxed every unit in the Marine Corps-some almost to the point of nonexistence.

This Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) fought in defense of the Pusan Perimeter for 67 days until disbanded, when it returned to the control of the division and wing for the Inchon landing. As the only Marine division committed to action in Korea, the 1st Marine Division fought as part of an Army Corps. Therefore, the Marines did not establish a MAC (MEF) higher headquarters, as at Okinawa, so forces were allocated to the division as the senior Marine warfighting headquarters. But lack of a higher Marine headquarters to integrate air and ground forces and defend MAGTF organization eventually led to the assignment of the 1st Marine Air Wing under Air Force control.[18] This began a trend to refocus the role of the MEF from warfighter to force provider that continued through the next two wars as well. The dismal personnel readiness of the remaining Marine Corps forces precluded the employment of Force Troop's field artillery groups. The four organic artillery battalions of the 11th Marines were occasionally augmented by fires from Army Corps artillery battalions, and for one operation an Army artillery battalion was attached to the 11th Marines.[19]

Vietnam. Although Marine Corps force structure during Vietnam provided force artillery, those assets were usually allocated to the divisions for control by the artillery regiments. The widely dispersed infantry units required a decentralized structural approach and direct support artillery units were often attached to infantry regiments or even battalions. The artillery regiments were task organized differently based on the mission and assetts available, but contained significant firepower that included 4.2 inch mortars; 105 mm, 155 mm towed howitzers; 155 mm self-propelled howitzers, 175 mm self-propelled guns, and 8 inch self-propelled howitzers.[20] By 1970, the 11th Marines commanded 156 tubes of artillery. This mix of weapons provided a diverse set of capabilities that included, "long-range, heavy artillery support throughout the division TAOR [tactical area of responsibility]."[21]


Desert Storm. The I Marine Expeditionary Force (MEF) also fought in Desert Storm by allocating all additional artillery assets to the divisions. The single exception was a battalion of 22 M198 towed howitzers attached to the 5th MEB. Although the MEB remained afloat in the Persian Gulf during Desert Shield; it landed as the MEF reserve as the ground war commenced.[22] Despite the emerging doctrine and reduced artillery structure, the 11th Marines, 1st Marine Division commanded five artillery battalions that totaled 120 howitzers.[23] The 10th Marines, 2d Marine Division also commanded five battalions (including the attached Army battalion) that totaled 120 howitzers and an Army battery of nine MLRS launchers. The artillery regiments' organizational structure, depicted in Figure 3, encompassed a variety of battalion options: 18 or 24 gun battalions with batteries of six or eight guns.[24] In order to fight as a highly mechanized force, the 2d Marine Division's artillery included 48 self-propelled howitzers.


Note

M198-155 mm towed howitzer.

M109-155 mm self-propelled howitzer.

M110-8 inch self-propelled howitzer.

Figure 3. Marine Artillery Structure in Desert Storm


Future Conflicts. The reemergence of the MEF as a warfighter, rather than force

provider, questions the role and necessary capabilities required by the MEF.[25] This shift in warfighting philosophy, combined with the greatly reduced artillery available as a result of the force drawdown, puts the MEF and division commander in a quandary over the use of the same limited assets. While an analysis of the specifics of METT-T may provide short term solutions, the design of force structure for the full spectrum of combat should be based on a more enduring doctrine for fire support.

Marine Doctrine

Marine Corps doctrinal publications focus on the tactics, techniques, and procedures for providing fire support and do not fully address the development of adequate support. As noted previously, the Marine Corps has only developed an understanding of this concept at the lowest levels of direct support. Historical precedent, gut feel, and reaction to change has been the predominant guide for artillery force structure development. This key requirement for designing a capable and balanced force structure was noted as a deficiency in the 1993 Mission Area Analysis (MAA) for Fire Support, "There is a lack of doctrine that identifies how many howitzers and aircraft are needed to support various size MAGTFs [Marine Air Ground Task Force]."[26] This statement, while highlighting the problem, leaves out the vital role of naval gunfire in balancing the fire support equation. By 1995, the next MAA study flatly stated the number one fire support deficiency as, "Marine Corps ground fire support assets do not adequately support Marine Corps operational concepts."[27] However, the study identifies an opportunity to, "Enhance MAGTF fire support capabilities through a top-down modeling analysis leading to the optimum mix of weapons systems." [28] Despite the revelations of fire support structure concerns noted in several after action reports from Desert Storm in 1991, five years have passed without a comprehensive study to balance the fire support capabilities necessary for MAGTFs to fight and win across the complete spectrum of war.[29] To accomplish this challenging task, the focus of effort should be to develop the structure for the MEF to fight and win in a major regional conflict (MRC) scenario. That requires sufficient assets to conduct the "single battle" throughout the close, deep, and rear battle areas and simultaneously provide for overall force protection. After that requirement is met, smaller organizations or lesser operations must use tailored forces from the existing structure to execute their responsibilities. As the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General John Shalikashvili stated, "Other operations . have proved to be possible using forces optimized for wartime effectiveness."[30] In an era of dwindling resources combined with an ongoing revolution in military affairs, the Marine Corps cannot afford to base structural decisions on gut feel or historical precedence to structure a force that can fight and win on the modern battlefield. While the Corps has procrastinated, the U.S. Army has forged ahead in developing doctrine for the 21st century.

Army Doctrine

Responding to concerns about fire support in Desert Storm and future war scenarios, the Army conducted a study to validate their fire support doctrine at the division and corps. The study, conducted by the Army Science Board, concluded in an October 1995 report that the organic divisional artillery lacked sufficient reinforcing and general support capability. The Science Board concurred with Desert Storm Army commanders that even when an artillery brigade was attached, organic fire support available to the division was inadequate. The final recommendations, approved by the Army Chief of Staff for implementation calls for a heavy division's divisional artillery to consist of three howitzer battalions (3x6) plus a MLRS battalion configured with two batteries of nine launchers each (2x9) as depicted in Figure 4.

Figure 4. Army Organic Divisional Artillery for Heavy Division

In addition to this potent force, two separate brigades of artillery will be attached to each committed division.[31] An artillery brigade for a heavy division contains a howitzer battalion (3x6) and two MLRS battalions (3x9) as depicted in Figure 5.

Figure 5. Army Separate Artillery Brigade

The resulting artillery force totals 90 howitzers and an incredible 126 MLRS launchers per division as shown in Figure 6.[32]

Figure 6. Army Artillery Allocation for Heavy Division

Compare this to the 72 artillery tubes available to a Marine division and the difference in doctrine becomes readily apparent; moreover, a Marine division must share this artillery with higher headquarters (MEF), whereas an Army heavy division's higher headquarters (corps) will possess a brigade or more of cannon and rocket artillery to influence the battle. But is this a useful comparison? While a Marine division is not intended to replicate an Army heavy division's capabilities, a Marine division is more mechanized than initial thoughts reveal. A direct comparison is difficult but, considering the mechanized capabilities provided by the assault amphibian vehicle battalion that can lift four infantry battalions, tank battalion, and LAR battalion, the Marine division possesses at least half and possibly two-thirds of the mechanized combat power of an Army heavy division. Extending these factors to artillery allocation provides a rough basis for comparison of artillery fire support assets that would indicate a Marine division equipped with 45 to 60 howitzers and 63 to 84 rocket launchers. Perhaps a look at Army light forces may provide a useful comparison as well.


Figure 7. XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS

ORGANIC ARTILLERY SUPPORT[33]

Artillery support for Army light forces is configured quite differently as shown in the XVIII Airborne Corps organic fire support organizational chart depicted by Figure 7. Each "light" division will also receive two separate brigades of artillery (from Army assets external from the XVIII Airborne Corps' organic units) to augment its fires. These separate artillery brigades are currently composed of three battalions of M198 towed howitzers (3x8): an additional 144 howitzers augmenting the organic division artillery. However, future revisions may create 3x6 battalions that would add a total 108 artillery tubes for support.[34]

After refining its heavy division fire support doctrine, the Army initiated the Legal Mix VIII Study to review the fire support requirements for light forces. Initial reports indicate that in order to keep the light forces light, the primary structural revision will be made in the Corps' Artillery Brigade. The current brigade configuration of three battalions of 155 mm towed M198s and one battalion of MLRS will be reversed. The recommended structure will include three battalions of rockets (MLRS or HIMARS) and one battalion of tube artillery.[35] This provides 81 rocket launchers for general support or about a battalion, 27 launchers, per light division in addition to organic support. Therefore, considering the overall force structure, a Marine division would reasonably require more fire support assets than an Army light division, but less fire support assets than an Army heavy division.

So why should Marines care what the Army is doing? First, the Army's approach to the twenty-first century serves as a potential model for action to revitalize the Corps' efforts to solve the long standing fire support dilemma.

Secondly, the Marine Corps has requested dual designation of all Army doctrinal artillery publications.[36] Whether the two services agree on common doctrine remains to be seen.


However, such a move would help fill the gap in formal Marine doctrine and provide a solid base for future joint operations. Two additional aspects of joint doctrine are relevant.

Doctrine evolves from experience and studies, someone willing to write it all down, and leaders who will follow it. Accepting Army doctrine would be tacitly accepting the studies that helped formulate it.

Force structure evolves from studies and doctrine. If the Marine artillery structure is greatly different from the Army's, the doctrine may be invalid. But, if accepted and modified only as necessary, the Corps could move on with designing a fire support system of overlapping capabilities that complement joint doctrine without conducting another round of costly studies that erode the time advantages that the U.S. currently enjoys over its adversaries.

Third and by far the most critical reason Marines should care what the Army does is that the Marine Corps currently relies on the Army for MLRS support to provide reinforcing and general support heavy fires for both division and MEF operations.

Structure versus Doctrine Void

Why does the Marine Corps have to depend on the Army for artillery support? If the Marines deploy two divisions, as they did in Desert Storm, there will be a requirement for several additional battalions of artillery. Reinforcing and general support battalions for just the two divisions would require virtually all of the reserve battalions in 14th Marines. These battalions are all equipped with the M198, 155 mm, towed howitzer that may not provide sufficient fires to dominate the modern battlefield. The capabilities that rockets provide cannot be easily matched by tube artillery. Rockets deliver significantly more firepower and add greater depth to the battlefield through greater range. These capabilities enhance the MEF's ability to shape and fight the single battle and make MEF level reinforcing and general support fires desirable again.

The Marine Corps recognized the benefits of rocket artillery as early as 1980 and recommended the acquisition of MLRS.[37] Rockets would provide the punch to offset the loss of heavy artillery due to the retirement of the 8 inch howitzer. The Marines aging self-propelled 8 inch and 155 mm howitzers were becoming too expensive to maintain so the three battalions of tracked artillery were reduced beginning in 1989 in anticipation of the planned upgrade to MLRS.

This was funded in the 94 Program Objective Memorandum (POM) with an additional plus-up of funds authorized by Congress. The 1993 Mission Area Analysis-24 failed to specifically mention general support artillery as a deficiency since the acquisition of MLRS was proceeding well at the time of the conference. But with the drawdown overshadowing military spending, the Secretary of Defense questioned the validity of the purchase and opted for a long term study instead of providing MLRS for the Marines. Politics, poor cost comparisons, and a virtual war on service redundancies robbed the Corps of a much needed capability. The launchers purchased with the congressional plus-up were transferred to the U.S. Army.[38]

With the loss of MLRS, the lack of reinforcing and general support capabilities for the division and MEF created an immediate gap between doctrine and the force structure that had been modified too early in anticipation of MLRS. The most obvious recognition of the growing void


between doctrinal support requirements and the capabilities of the diminished artillery force

structure surfaced with the Commandant's request for Army support.

Memorandum of Agreement

After the decision to forgo the Marine Corps' long planned acquisition of MLRS, Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Mundy, formally requested by letter, on 8 December 1993, "Accordingly, request the Army augment Marine Corps general support artillery with MLRS support when required."[39] The Memorandum of Agreement (MOA), finally approved by the Army on 27 April 1995 and accepted by the Marine Corps on 26 May 1995 (enclosed as Appendix B), represents service cooperation and willingness to work together in a joint environment.

However, despite numerous joint field exercises and working groups' efforts to transform the document's intent into a functional reality, several weaknesses remain in the concept of support and the validity of the agreement.[40]

Permanence. The most obvious concern with the agreement relates to the signatories of the document. The initial momentum for the agreement stemmed from the service chiefs' personal correspondence, yet the document's approval is at the deputy level. Whether or not this reflects uncertainty about the concept is mere speculation, but it does leave room for doubt. Perhaps the approval level is more closely related to the enduring term of the agreement.

In April 1993, as part of the armed services roles, missions, and functions review, Secretary of Defense Les Aspin directed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) and the Secretary of the Navy (SecNav) to conduct a study on the long-term Marine Corps requirement for general support artillery with a focus on rocket launched artillery. Additionally, Army rocket support for the Marine Corps was to be considered.[41] This led to the Commandant's decision not to purchase MLRS but to request support from the Army. The Commandant's letter implies a permanent support relationship in the statement, "I concur that MLRS support for the Marine Corps is more appropriately provided by the Army."[42] If this was considered a temporary measure, a phrase such as, at this time, would most likely have been added. A question also arises from the Commandant's phrase, "augment Marine Corps general support artillery," implying Marine intentions to field an organic general support capability. While the MOA helps fill the Marines' immediate requirements for general support artillery, the document requires renewal every two years. Such a short term agreement indicates the real intent of the services was to provide a temporary measure to allow more detailed study. How permanent the agreement is may be answered when it comes due for renewal in May 1997. Basing Marine fire support acquisition and structure decisions on such a short term agreement fails to recognize the complexity of the modern procurement process and is very risky for the forces that may be counting on that support. Prior to executing an updated agreement, the Marine Corps must clearly establish what their long-term position really is and craft a document that provides either permanent support or one that will adequately cover the time necessary to acquire the desired capability.

Availability. The agreement provides either a MLRS battery (nine launchers) or a MLRS battalion (27 launchers) from an active or reserve component echelon above division. In either case, the "general support" firepower available to a Marine division or MEF falls far short of the Army's doctrinal allocation of 126 rocket launchers per heavy division. Nor does the Marine division's fire support compare with the adjusted representative division with 63 to 84 rocket launchers, a light division's slice of 27 rocket launchers of the corps' artillery brigade, or the historical Marine employment of artillery from WW II to Desert Storm. While one would hope the size of the unit assigned is based on a detailed study of METT-T, it will more likely be based on the availability of those vital units. The Army continues to restructure internally and stress their reliance on Reserve and Guard units to provide up to 66 percent of their fire support units.[43] Combined with their recent decision to double the artillery allocated to a heavy division, MLRS assets may simply not be available to honor the MOA without jeopardizing Army units. Currently the Army has seven separate Field Artillery (FA) Brigades in the active forces. That allows support of two FA brigades each for three divisions and one FA brigade for each corps. The remaining FA brigades are resident in the National Guard. Those 17 FA brigades give the Army a total of 24 FA brigades to support 10 divisions and four corps.[44] The Army is a strong advocate of affiliating reserve units with a specific active duty unit for training and future mobilization.[45] But with just enough artillery structure to support their doctrinal allocation, the Army has resisted designating a specific unit for habitual assignment to the Marines.[46] This policy can negate unit cohesion and potentially slow responsiveness and effectiveness in employing critical fire support. After a joint exercise at Twentynine Palms, the attached Army MLRS battalion commander noted, "Because 6-27 FA had trained and rehearsed for the connections at home station, the learning curve was significantly shorter."[47] If the assigned unit comes from the Guard, the mobilization and deployment timeliness may severely limit the speed and tempo of the operation. Once the unit size and availability are determined the command relationship must be determined.

Command Relationship. The MOA does not address whether the MLRS unit will be assigned or attached as operational control (OPCON) or tactical control (TACON). Instead, the MOA leaves this important decision up to the Joint Force Commander (JFC). The difference between the levels of authority is significant. For example, the 2d Marine Division exercised OPCON over the attached Tiger Brigade and could therefore reorganize the Brigade's DS artillery battalion and MLRS battery.[48] This allowed the division commander to place the MLRS battery under the artillery regiment in GS instead of supporting only Tiger Brigade. In addition, the artillery regiment assigned a MLRS platoon (three launchers) to the 5th Battalion, 10th Marines (GS) to conduct artillery raids against Iraqi positions in late January.[49] TACON would not allow such organizational authority. Without flexible command and control, opportunities


for creative exploitation of weapon systems and unit capabilities may be lost. While the MOA provides a short term fix, it leaves too many important issues unanswered to serve as a viable long term plan. The MOA affects the way the Marine Corps organizes, trains, and equips for combat. Waiting for a crisis to develop before determining the availability and command relationship for fire support is courting disaster. But if the MOA is not a viable answer for providing Marine Corps fire support-what is?


CHAPTER 4

THE THREAT

Throughout most of the Cold War the structure of the American military was based on the threat posed by the Soviet Union. With its demise as a superpower, the public demand for the long awaited peace dividend drove a massive restructuring of American military power. To focus the restructuring dilemma, a new concept evolved that based structure on the capabilities necessary for specific tasks vice specific enemies.

Enemy Threat

In the absence of a single peer competitor, the force structuring strategy settled on building the capability to fight, and of course win, two nearly simultaneous major regional conflicts (MRC). The current national security strategy seeks to stabilize the global political scene through selective engagement while using the advantage of the existing power vacuum to spread democracy (enlargement).[50] Actual historical results in the early 90's indicate a significant increase in military involvement at the lower end of the conflict spectrum. However, the proliferation of terrorism and the availability of modern weapons calls for a modern, well-equipped Marine Corps to project American power to provide that stabilizing influence in an increasingly complex world. By the turn of the century, over 40 countries will field artillery systems that outrange the Marine Corps M198.[51] Many of these countries are potential adversaries. Failure to modernize the current fire support system could seriously jeopardize the Marines' ability to accomplish their mission, and fail the CINCs who are depending on that capability. For the Marine Corps, the capability must exist to fight at the top end of the spectrum of conflict and, as the nation's forward deployed forces, rapidly apply such overwhelming combat power to stifle any overzealous foe.

Domestic Threat

Several aspects of the domestic environment play critical roles in the shaping of future Marine Corps capabilities and structure. Most notable among them are widely varying political philosophies that impact upon funding priorities.

Money. The threat at home takes many forms that, for the most part, all revolve around money. After years of deficit spending to create and maintain a military force capable of deterring the Soviet threat of global domination, the American public's demand for reduced spending pits the services' procurement programs against one another for a shrinking pool of funds. Procurement programs are heavily scrutinized and require detailed studies to justify and validate their requirement. Often as part of this process, the roles and missions of the services provide a fertile battlefield for discussion.

Roles and Mission = Structure. The roles and missions of the services drive the requirements for certain enabling capabilities that in turn focus the development of force structure, doctrine, and equipment procurement. Maintaining a balanced force in this complicated process is further challenged by the current evolution/revolution in military affairs. Minor changes in one area can send ripples cascading throughout the force. This asymmetrical reaction demands caution and near precision timing in implementing changes. The Marine Corps appeared somewhat buffered from the wide variances in force structure experienced by the other services during the Bottom-Up Review of 1993 since its structure is guaranteed by law. However, funding is not guaranteed so structure and manning levels become vulnerable to cuts to provide funding for readiness and modernization. Elliot Cohen, Professor of Strategic Studies, Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies, Johns Hopkins University, predicted in 1995 that, "Further force structure and end-strength reductions (perhaps as great as 30 percent below the Bottom-Up Review), will be necessary if the United States is to maintain the edge in fielded military technology that will enable it to dominate potential opponents."[52]

The Quadrennial Defense Review is currently in session and Cohen's dire predictions will be tested. Overreliance on capabilities provided by another service may greatly increase the risk that those assets may not be available as each service tries to maintain that critical balance between forces, equipment, and the money available. As the services become more fiscally constrained, any excesses not specifically mandated by the roles and missions assigned will certainly be reduced to balance other shortfalls. From the Army's perspective the mission is what matters-not the MOA. To be assured of Army MLRS support for the Marine Corps, a tasking should come from the Secretary of Defense in the Joint Strategic Capabilities Plan (JSCP) that directs the service chief as the commander responsible per Chapter 6, title 10, United States Code and DOD Directive 5100.1 to train and equip his force for specific tasks. While CINCs have the authority to organize assigned forces, limited assets may preclude additional support for Marines. Based on the tasking the Army would fund, organize, and equip a specific unit identified for service with the Marines and many of the questions concerning the MOA would be answered. This approach closely parallels the British Army provision of a dedicated artillery regiment (consists of three batteries, each with six, 105 mm towed howitzers that equates to a U.S. battalion) to provide primarily direct support for the Royal Marines. However, these Army artillerymen must qualify as Commandos by completing the Royal Marines training program.[53] This type of interservice support may have been what Senator Sam Nunn had in mind when he raised the issue of service redundancies.[54]

Duplication, Redundancy, or Necessary Capability. The Goldwater-Nichols Defense Reorganization Act of 1986 required periodic reviews of the services' roles and missions and was to specifically focus on unnecessary duplication of effort. What was deemed unnecessary was largely ignored until Senator Nunn brought attention to it in a 1992 floor speech to the U.S. Senate. The Senator focused his concerns in 10 areas of duplication that were so broad as to encompass virtually the entire military establishment.[55] As the Senator's proposal gained momentum, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Powell, supported the status quo and asserted that:

Marine Corps expeditionary forces are organized and equipped for a full range of crises that require operations from the sea..The capabilities of the contingency and expeditionary forces in the Army and Marine Corps provide decision makers with valuable alternatives and should be retained.[56]


The Chairman also stated that the way the Marine Corps integrates artillery into its maneuver forces inextricably links it with the Marine infantryman. However, his position changed somewhat concerning MLRS. He conceded possible advantages if MLRS was provided by the Army, but that decision warranted an in-depth cost and effectiveness study of the Corps requirement for general support artillery and the impact it would have on the Army.[57] Although in other fire support areas he found that the unique capabilities of the four separate air forces served the nation well.[58] Possibly as a concession to the political tides of change, the Marines' MLRS purchase was offered as the sacrificial lamb instead of waiting for the various studies to be completed. Overall little else changed. But to resolve this issue and many others, the Roles and Mission Commission was created by Congress in May 1994. The White Commission, as it is also known, was absolutely adamant in its view of service roles and missions and the relationship with service redundancies:

Perhaps our most surprising conclusion is this: fundamentally, it is a mistake to take traditional "who gets to do what" view of roles and missions that concentrates on the Military Services. Rather, the emphasis should be "who needs what" in terms of joint military capabilities..Each Service is fully engaged in trying to deliver to the CINCs the best possible set of its specific air, land, and sea capabilities. A conventional criticism of the Services-unrestrained parochialism and duplication of programs-is overstated.[59]

This represents a paradigm shift from the views of the Nunn attack on redundancy. The report further stated that the perceived roles and mission problem between the Army and Marine Corps, "are not problems at all." To implement this change in ideology, the study focused on core competencies that lead to warfighting capabilities. The commission identified some core


competencies with specific services and made recommendations to eliminate Marine Corps ground-based medium-altitude air defense and non-expeditionary engineering capabilities.[60] But there was no mention of artillery or fire support capabilities as core capabilities of any one service other than the need to improve interoperability and operational flexibility of munitions. In a continuing evaluation of close air support (CAS) the Commission found, "Today, CAS is performed by all Services. In our view, this is appropriate. CAS is a vital capability that complements other fire support options." [61] CAS, like artillery and rockets, provides the same capability to attack close targets. The study drives the point home again, "In areas of apparent overlap, such as forced entry, the two Services [Army and Marine Corps] provide complementary rather than duplicative capability."[62]

The current Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS), General John Shalikashvili, also makes it clear in his concept paper, Joint Vision 2010: Force of the Future, that, "Any efficiencies garnered by our offensive systems must be underwritten by appropriate redundancies [emphasis mine] to safeguard against unanticipated technological, strategic or operational surprise." [63] So some types of redundancy are complementary and actually sought. It appears the intent of reducing costs by eliminating redundancy has lost much of its momentum since, taken to the extreme, eliminating redundancy could lead to a single purple force. This may be the approach America chooses in the future, but such a change should be deliberate and not done piecemeal or as a function of mission creep. When essentially like equipment is utilized by two services there are cost savings, and with common training in one school the services gain


joint understanding-not increased costs. The bottom line is MLRS is only cheaper when provided by the Army if there are fewer systems and servicemen overall, and this jeopardizes the balance and availability of fire support for both services-which is a pretty high price to pay.

Technology. In the hands of enemies, technology is certainly a threat to mission success and has already been discussed. But our own technological advances can present a threat to our capabilities because the rapid pace of innovations and advancements in weapons technology has the potential to create gridlock in our procurement process. What is cutting edge technology today may be completely outdated and irrelevant with tomorrow's invention. Or, the weapon may be obsolete by the time it emerges from the long procurement process and is finally fielded. Combine these concerns with the diminishing budget problems and rapid advancements may actually create a reluctance to modernize.

Not only are leaders subject to this phenomenon, but industry may become cautious investors in the research and development (R&D) process for weapons unless there is a potential civilian application or the profit potential is irresistible. As profits rise to encourage industry, the weapons' costs climb even higher and fuel the buyers' concerns about investing.

As a starting point to break this cycle several processes must be improved. The development-to-fielding time must be shorter. Simplifying the procurement process could take years off the cycle. Smaller buys can lessen the risk for the buyer, but R&D costs will increase for the developer and must be funded. But most importantly, engineers must design modular systems that can more easily be upgraded to maintain ready, relevant, and capable weapons. The unique nature of rocket systems imbeds most of the technology in the rocket vice the launcher.


The launcher is a relatively simple device (tracked or wheeled) )with a modular fire direction/control system attached. Therefore, rockets, like the versatile F4 Phantom, can provide cutting edge technology throughout the life cycle of the system.

Time. The element of time has many facets that impact upon the application of fire support and the systems development process. Responsiveness is absolutely critical for effective fire support in the tactical sense and must receive greater emphasis in the strategic realm of deployment. Forward deployed and expeditionary forces fulfill the national security strategy's goals of engagement and enlargement by utilizing combat power to deter, prevent, or overwhelm any adversary. Presence, speed, and firepower are essential ingredients to accomplish any or all of these objectives of national power. Anything that deters or lessens tempo may threaten the mission; therefore, fire support systems must be available when and where needed and not degrade momentum due to unresponsive force structure.


CHAPTER 5

MARINE CORPS FIRE SUPPORT CHALLENGES

The Marine Corps Master Plan (MCMP) 1994-2004 establishes the requirement for the "capability to provide and sustain air and surface fire support with sufficient responsiveness, accuracy, mobility, and range to support troops in close contact, to counter enemy fire support, and add depth to the battlefield." Also, the top priority equipment issue for mission area 24, Fire Support is to, "Field a multiple launch rocket system."[64] This capability should receive the same high priority focus in the draft MCMP for 1997 and rank as one of the overall top priorities for combat development. Concurrently meeting the operational mission, fire support providers must adapt to the near-term and long-term changes ushered in by the ongoing RMA in the fiscally austere years ahead.

Maneuver Support

The changing tactics at division level that emphasize maneuver and a nonlinear battlefield create more requirements for direct support fires. The older tactics of two-up and one-back, or maintaining a large tactical reserve, are giving way to newer approaches that maximize committed forces to rapidly overwhelm the enemy. As maneuver forces grow smaller in size this approach may be a necessity instead of an option. Doctrine states that artillery is never in reserve; therefore, the artillery battalion that would provide the habitual direct support for a maneuver regiment held in reserve could be assigned other missions: GS, GS-R, or R.[65] That


artillery battalion would normally have an on-order mission to return to DS when the maneuver regiment in reserve is committed. This flexibility allowed maximum fire support at all times, but with no maneuver units in reserve, and fewer artillery battalions, all artillery may be committed to DS missions and none allocated for the other three tactical missions. The lack of adequate fire support for the defined missions assigned to LAR is examined in detail in a monograph by Major John Priddy who states neither procedural nor structural changes have occurred to provide the necessary fire support critical for LAR battalions' mission success.[66]

As the concept of single battle with the MEF as the warfighter matures, the role of deep attack artillery must be resolved to properly structure the force. Although the Roles and Missions Commission grappled with the deep fires controversy, it was not resolved and additional studies continue.[67]

Force Fires. The Commanding General I MEF, Lieutenant General C. W. Fulford, stated in a letter to the Combat Development Command his desire for the capability to establish a force artillery headquarters with both deep and close attack indirect fire systems to enhance shaping operations in a wider range of operational and weather conditions.[68] This scenario calls for employment of the Marine reserve artillery regiment as the MEF Force Artillery Headquarters with the battalions of the 14th Marines and Army augmentation units from implementation of the MOA as the firing elements. This may prove the most viable method to provide force artillery and employ Marine reserves in a complementary instead of duplicative role. The concept of employment was fully developed in a point paper by Colonel L. A. Stuart, Commanding Officer, 14th Marines.[69] While the Marine units are in the Time-Phased Force and Deployment Data (TPFDD) for I MEF's major contingencies, the additional Army MLRS unit is not identified or listed in the TPFDD. This continues to be a major flaw of the current MOA with the Army.

Combined and Coalition Warfare. Another area that should be considered involves the provision of fire support in combined and coalition warfare. Many of our nations' friends around the world maintain armed forces that are infantry heavy, but they are very limited in combat support forces or possess outdated equipment. As forward deployed forces composite with these forces, a serious critical vulnerability could develop. Whether as a military necessity or as political support, the senior level U.S. commander should have sufficient fire support assets to provide an umbrella of protection for the overall force. As a responsible military partner, the U.S. should not allow a friendly force to "falter in its assigned mission" for lack of adequate fire support while under U.S. command.

Maritime Prepositioned Force (MPF). The growing focus on maritime prepositioned force (MPF) operations offer a viable complementary capability to forcible entry. The speed of deployment and firepower available can play a vital role in buying the time and space necessary for the buildup of follow-on forces. The current MPF configuration will provide five artillery batteries of M198, towed howitzers for a total of 30 tubes per MPF squadron.[70] The overriding factor affecting MPF is not just the size and quantity of equipment as is the case in most deployments. For MPF operations, the number of personnel required to provide a needed capability becomes a major factor as forces are flown into the theater. In this respect the massive firepower available from rocket systems combined with significantly fewer personnel requirements yields a significant force multiplier. To enhance the Marine expeditionary capability for force projection, the artillery complement of the MPF load should be increased to include rocket artillery to significantly increase firepower and reduce the personnel footprint that is critical in the early stages of combat power buildup. Answers or decisions on these important aspects of fire support will allow the development of a more balanced capability to support and enable maneuver forces in the joint, combined, and coalition warfare of the future.

Balancing Fire Support: Air, Sea, Ground Based

The 1993 Mission Area Analysis (MAA) 24 - Fire Support claimed that the process of reducing fire support units would be in the correct proportion to the maneuver units supported. As discussed, the subsequent loss of MLRS precludes this. The review further stated that the reduction of fire support units would be "generally proportional." This implied that the reductions would be distributed to maintain a proper balance of capabilities. However, some areas were identified for special consideration and study. These areas included general support artillery, naval surface fire support, air reconnaissance, automated assistance for fire support coordination, fire support coordination training and doctrine, and an overall review of the Marine


Corps concept of fire support. The last entry from a prioritized list of 84 deficiencies identifies a lack of doctrine that determines how many howitzers and aircraft are required to support the different MAGTFs.[71] By the time the 1995 MAA-24 met, this shortcoming was reflected in the number one deficiency, "Marine Corps ground fire support assets do not adequately support Marine Corps operational concepts."[72] Finally, the problem of making major structure changes without a solid base of supporting doctrine was realized-although too late. The 1995 review closed with a stated opportunity to, "Enhance MAGTF fire support capabilities through a top-down modeling analysis leading to the optimum mix of weapons systems."[73] This would certainly be a complicated study to produce and have an immense impact on the future force structure. It probably could not provide all of the answers needed, but it could create a foundation to evaluate a proper balance of forces and capabilities. Some specific areas of concern relating to the provision of fire support follow.

Aviation. Several situations may significantly affect the historical support the Marine Corps has enjoyed from its organic aviation assets. First, and perhaps the most significant, was the 1986 Omnibus Air Agreement that has now been incorporated into joint doctrine. The policy is often interpreted as assuring the Marines first call on organic air, but that is not what it states. The policy merely cautions that Marine air is vital to the landing force, but it gives the Joint Task Force Commander the full authority to not only task excess sorties, he can take all air and place it under a Joint Force Air Component Commander. To Marines, this may seem unfair and irresponsible. However, as maneuver warfare teaches, the preponderance of support must be


focused on the main effort and not part of a piecemeal approach. The current lack of a general support artillery capability exacerbates the impact of any loss of tactical air assets. Whether Marines, like it or not, that is the joint doctrine.

Secondly, the significant reductions in the overall numbers of aircraft in every service limit the availability for all functions of aviation. The move to a single, multirole fighter will further strain the apportionment process even as it increases the flexibility of the force overall. Instead of a dedicated attack platform, aircraft can be siphoned off for a multitude of other missions. The fielding of the Advanced Tactical Air Reconnaissance System (ATARS) for the F/A-18 will provide a much needed reconnaissance capability, but that can mean fewer close air support (CAS) sorties. An artillery capability for deep interdiction would help to maintain flexibility and balance.

The third issue involves the ongoing debates and studies concerning the deep versus close battle. There are a growing number of theorists who view the focus on CAS as reactionary and an outdated concept in future war. The Marines FMFM 5-42 Deep Air Support, states, "The MAGTF commander uses DAS [deep air support] to attack enemy forces before they become a threat to MAGTF units. Attacking enemy forces with DAS can prevent them from becoming CAS or CIFS [close in fire support] targets..Ideally, all targets attacked by the aviation combat element (ACE) would be DAS targets."[74] It is difficult to evaluate the validity of the arguments without the context of METT-T, and ultimately the commander's concept of shaping and protection will be transmitted in the apportionment decision. But whoever that commander is, JTF, JFACC, MAGTF, or ACE, his personal concerns and biases will shape his vision of the preeminence and priority of the close or deep battle, making balanced capabilities even more important for flexibility without sacrificing protection.

Naval Surface Fire Support (NSFS). In his 1993 study on naval surface fire support (NSFS), LCDR Morgan, USN, determined that the surface Navy could not effectively provide fires in support of forces ashore.[75] With the explosion of technology and a major shift to refocus on naval warfare in the littorals, the Navy has started to develop an impressive array of ships and systems to address the shortfall in support. The impact of technology, such as missiles and rockets, is notable in the name revision to naval surface fire support from what was called naval gunfire. Naval programs such as, the arsenal ship, extended range guided munitions (ERGMs) for the 5 inch gun, a 155 mm projectile for interoperability of ammunition, and a naval land attack missile (basically the Army tactical missile system, ATACMS) indicate a strong commitment by the Navy to the Operational Maneuver from the Sea concept. The primary concern remains in integrating these systems into the overall force based on the projected timeline of initial operations capability by 2010 and full capability by 2014.[76]

Ground Based Systems. Certainly ground systems include more than artillery. Infantry mortars play a vital role for close fire support. Since the 4.2 inch mortar was phased out of service by the Marine Corps during 1970-1971, there have been proponents of a heavier caliber infantry weapon.[77] A viable option would be a battalion of 120 mm mortars organic to the infantry regiment.[78] The Army is fielding a towed and carrier-mounted 120 mm mortar to replace the 4.2 inch system. The current range is 7,240 meters for a 30 pound round, but range will increase with a new family of ammunition that includes DPICM and a precision guided round that can kill armor.[79] Organized as a mortar battalion organic to the infantry regiment would provide the capability to mass fires in support of the regiment's main effort. A towed mortar variant, with a HMMWV (or vehicle that can fit internally in the MV22) as prime mover, could best serve Marine infantry. Mechanized versions of the 120 mm mortar (internally mounted or towed by the AAV or LAV) would significantly improve the organic fire support capability of the LAR and tank battalions. The towed system has great expeditionary applications and is easily air mobile. A battery of 120 mortars could be attached to the BLT/MEU for smaller operations and deployments. But mortars cannot compare with the capabilities of medium artillery and should not be considered a substitute for the direct support artillery battalions. As an organic infantry weapon, the structure to staff it would most likely require a tradeoff of either the 60 mm or 81mm mortars from the company or battalion mortar assets.

As the primary focus of this paper is artillery, the issues of balance have largely been explored. Technology continues to provide enhancements for tube artillery. Lighter guns enhance mobility, and the Lightweight 155 mm Howitzer Program has completed the firing


competition and named Textron/Vickers as the winning contractor. But despite its improved mobility, this new gun is not a panacea for air-mobile artillery operations.

Air-mobile artillery was first used in Vietnam to expand fire support coverage by overcoming obstacles to maneuver and positioning presented by the terrain, jungle vegetation, weather, and poor or nonexistent roads. This tactic worked well in support of a