USA — Navy, Marine Corps Prepare for Amphibious Training

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9, 2010 — For the past 10 years, the word “Marine” in the Marine Corps has seemed a mis­nomer: com­bat in Iraq and Afghanistan have left the major­i­ty of Marines land locked, with lit­tle or no expe­ri­ence in amphibi­ous oper­a­tions.
Naval lead­er­ship has tak­en note. The Navy and Marine Corps will begin exer­cis­es in the com­ing days that focus on amphibi­ous com­bat train­ing for sailors and Marines.

“Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 will be the first brigade-lev­el joint amphibi­ous exer­cise in the last 10 years. The exer­cise this week will strength­en and refine our fun­da­men­tal expe­di­tionary capa­bil­i­ties to project a sus­tained com­bat pow­er ashore,” said Rear Adm. Kevin Scott, com­man­der of the Navy’s Expe­di­tionary Strike Group Two and embarked com­man­der of the Amphibi­ous Task Force for the exer­cise. Scott dis­cussed the planned Dec. 11–17 train­ing yes­ter­day dur­ing a “DoDLive” Blogger’s Round­table.

Bold Alli­ga­tor exer­cis­es will con­tin­ue into the future, Scott said. Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 is sim­u­lat­ed, he said, but still involves all of the crit­i­cal Navy and Marine Corps lead­er­ship and com­po­nents. The first live exer­cise is sched­uled for Feb­ru­ary 2012.

The ben­e­fit of start­ing with a sim­u­lat­ed exer­cise is the ver­sa­til­i­ty sim­u­la­tion pro­vides, Scott said. Sim­u­lat­ed exer­cis­es also allow a frame­work to be built for future live exer­cis­es, he added.

“We can tai­lor the sit­u­a­tion to test the many dif­fer­ent aspects of an oper­a­tion such as weath­er, oppos­ing forces, actions by oppos­ing forces, ter­rain, et cetera, and we can do this at sub­stan­tial­ly less cost,” Scott said. “So we antic­i­pate that we’ll use this embed­ded exer­cise to build upon the live [exer­cise] that’s going to take place approx­i­mate­ly 13 months from now.

“And then, you know, my vision is we’ll prob­a­bly have sev­er­al syn­thet­ic exer­cis­es between each live exer­cise,” he con­tin­ued, “to make sure that we cap­i­tal­ize on the assets when they become avail­able.”

In recent years, the mil­i­tary has deployed its amphibi­ous forces to assist oth­er nations in need, Scott said.

“With­in the last 10 years, we’ve seen the need for a ready and capa­ble amphibi­ous force for such events as the Indi­an Ocean tsuna­mi, the earth­quake in Haiti and the flood­ing in Pak­istan,” he said. “As long as the major­i­ty of the world’s pop­u­la­tions and com­merce reside along the coast­lines and water­ways of the world, there will always be a need for amphibi­ous forces.”

The Bold Alli­ga­tor series will help the Navy and Marine Corps incor­po­rate new tech­nol­o­gy, weapons sys­tems and vehi­cles into their arse­nal, Scott said. The idea, he added, is to have pro­ce­dures and plans in place for any kind of mis­sion — com­bat, human­i­tar­i­an aid, search and res­cue or dis­as­ter response.

“You know, the nature of amphibi­ous force is that we’re extreme­ly flex­i­ble and can be specif­i­cal­ly tai­lored to any mis­sion at any time. No one can bring more capa­bil­i­ty ashore rapid­ly and sus­tain it as our Navy-Marine Corps team can,” Scott said. “Bold Alli­ga­tor 2011 is a first step in revi­tal­iz­ing the fun­da­men­tals of amphibi­ous oper­a­tions and assur­ing the Navy-Marine Corps team is ready, respon­sive and res­olute.”

U.S. Depart­ment of Defense
Office of the Assis­tant Sec­re­tary of Defense (Pub­lic Affairs)

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