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New Marine weapons tactics sharpen prepare for great war on the open sea

FILE – This Feb. 6, 2016, file photo provided by the U. S. Navy, shows the Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser USS Antietam (CG 54) sails in the South china Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Marcus L. Stanley/U. S. Navy via AP, File)

The Navy is making an aggressive push to discover and refine the new battle tactics, offensive weapons and network technologies that are needed for modern warfare on the open sea – as part of a service-wide strategic initiative to the preparation of the fleet for the pacific fight against the increasingly high-tech enemies.

The San Diego-based Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center is quickly on new ocean warfare training to help the U.S. Navy “sea control in the great strength of the competition,” the Lt. Cmdr. Seth Powell, program manager, War Tactics Instructor Program, told Warrior Maven in an interview.

The 15-and 17-week course takes place sailors on surface ships in combat-like scenarios designed to mirror the most advanced current and future enemy threats they will encounter. Course leaders say that the training is a concentrated, in depth focus on the weapons systems likely to be used by potential enemies.

“One of the big things that we focus on is exactly what tactics we should take into consideration, given the capabilities of the enemy,” Powell said.

Adapting to a rapidly changing threat environment, where the technologically advanced opponents, asks participants to experiment with new Tactics, Techniques and Procedures that are necessary to meet the-yet unknown types of attacks.

“How do we take finished ships and turn them into more deadly ships? We are putting everything they have learned on the ships and at sea,” Powell said.

The current courses in part composed by Warfighter Tactics Instructor training, preparation, aimed at breaking the training down into specific warfare areas including integrated air and missile defense, surface warfare and amphibious warfare; the Navy plans to stand up a mine warfare program next year.

The lessons and findings of the Naval Surface and Mine Warfare Development Center training are expected to inform the development of Navy doctrine as well as the acquisition priorities needed for future war scenarios, Powell added.

“As we advanced systems online, we are thinking about how to make use of them with advanced tactical training,” he said.

A number of the special kinds of enemy weapons these courses expect for the future include a range of new systems including lasers, rail-guns and long-range missiles, among other technologies.

Not surprisingly, these courses appear as something of a linear outgrowth or a tactical manifestation of the Navy’s 2016 Surface Force Strategy document. Tilted “Back to the Sea, the strategy paper contains a number of specific enemy threat areas of concern, aimed at by the trainers course.

Examples of threats cited by the strategy paper are “anti-ship ballistic and cruise missiles, integrated and layered sensor systems, focusing on networks, long-range bombers, advanced fighter aircraft, submarines, mines, advanced integrated air defenses, electronic warfare, and cyber and space technologies.”

Just like the training sessions and the Area of Strength, Strategy, the Marine, Distributed Maritime Operations Concept also builds on the Navy’s much-discussed “distributed lethality” strategy, in place now for a number of years. This strategic approach emphasizes the need to more fully arm the fleet with offensive and defensive weapons and distribute forces if necessary.

With cyber, space and missile weapons, along with over-the-horizon, ship, and air-launched weapons – relevant for offensive attack as well as the “distributed” part of the strategy. Having an ability to defend against a large number of attacks and the strike of the long distances to the fleet to spread out and conduct dis compound operations, the making of the AMERICAN Naval forces less vulnerable to enemy firepower.

Interestingly, the urgent need to emphasize offensive attack on the fleet appears to have roots in previous Naval strategic thinking.

of the overall strategic reason is to get the strength back in the direction of open or “blue water” combat capability against near peer competitors, as it was emphasized during the Cold War. While the importance of this form of strategic and tactical thinking never disappeared, these things were stressed less during the last 15 years of the earth wars that the Marine in the fight against terrorism, securing the international waterways, the fight against piracy and things such as Visit Board Search and Seizure.

These missions are of course still important, but the Navy wants to increase significantly its offensive “lethality” in view of the fact that rivals such as Russia and China have a precision-guided anti-ship missiles able to hit targets at distances of more than 900 km in some cases. The advent of new digital and electronic warfare attacks technologies, enemy drones, and the rapid global proliferation of sea mines, all present unique modern nuances in comparison with the previous Cold War strategic paradigm.

Nevertheless, the most up to date Naval Surface Warfare Strategy is, by design, seem to be something of a higher-tech, modern adaptation of a number of fundamental elements of the Marine Cold-War-era approach – a time when great naval battles against the Soviet union force was set up as a realistic contingency.

A 1987 essay with the title “Strategy Concept of the US Navy,” published by the naval History and Heritage Command, cites the importance of long-range offensive firepower and targeting sensors in a geographically dispersed or extensive open ocean warfare environment. The paper goes so far that the survival of the US Naval Forces and the execution of their tasks depending on offensive firepower.

“Integrated forces can be geographically, but their movements, sensors, and weapons are geared on a maximum mutual support and offensive capabilities,” writes the newspaper.

The Cold War-era Strategic Concepts document also indicates that “Naval defensive capability should include long-range detection systems such as the airborne early warning, rapid-response command and control systems, and effective defensive weapon systems.”

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