Statement of Lt. Gen Rhodes
and Mr. Michael Decker
ON 11 FEBRUARY 1999
CONCERNING UNCONVENTIONAL THREATS
Mr. Chairman and members of the committee, Mr. Decker and I are pleased to have this opportunity to discuss the unconventional threats which Marines face in the near-term and our ongoing efforts to protect them.
Charged under Title 10 USC to organize, train, equip, and sustain forces, the United States Marine Corps employs both formal and informal procedures to ensure that an evaluation of the threat--current or potential--is included in every decision. Formal procedures include System Threat Assessment Reports (STARs), developed for every Category I acquisition program as required under Department of Defense regulations, and the employment of the Marine Corps Concept Based Requirements Process for many applications in the planning, doctrine, requirements, and acquisition process. Informal procedures range from the curiosity of the commander--the infamous, "The General's got a question" scenario--to the initiative of the individual intelligence analyst who notes the development of a potential threat to Marine forces. In all cases, the Marine Corps aggressively includes a threat assessment at all levels to ensure that our Marines are prepared to win battles.
The United States Marine Corps periodically reexamines its warfighting structure in light of the likely developments of threat capabilities, technologies, and environmental concerns. In 1991, a Force Structure Planning Group was headed by then-Brigadier General Charles Krulak; his first request was that the Marine Corps intelligence community forecast to him what the world would look like in five to ten years. What types of conflict would be fought? Where? Using what sorts of weapons? The answers to his questions were turned into a formal and recurring threat assessment, published as the Marine Corps Midrange Threat Estimate. This document describes trends which shape the nature of combat, the anticipated methods of combat potential adversaries may adopt, the technologies that may be applied against Marine forces, and the likelihood of conflict in, among, and within sovereign states, world-wide. We draw extensively from open sources, professional literature, and formal intelligence community production to balance all sides of threat awareness. From the derived list of countries of concern--those most likely to experience instability--a representative physical expeditionary environment is deduced to best support the equipping and sustainment of Marine forces. Through these means, we ensure that environmental, demographic, and cultural parameters are considered in the development of all aspects of Marine warfighting capabilities.
The Marine Corps Intelligence Activity (MCIA) actively supports the inclusion of threat assessments within the formal and informal training and education systems throughout the Marine Corps. Collocated at Quantico, Virginia with the Marine Corps University, Marine Corps intelligence analysts frequently provide presentations at The Basic School, Amphibious Warfare School, the Marine Corps Command and Staff College, and the School of Advanced Warfighting. MCIA works closely with the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, the Marine Corps Modeling and Simulation Office, and other activities to ensure that the most current and accurate threat assessments are included in relevant training and simulation efforts. Let me add at this time that we are most appreciative of Congress’s support for our Modeling and Simulation efforts through the FY99 addition of $4M. MCIA analysts contribute to many doctrinal and conceptual working groups to ensure that potential threat capabilities are considered as we prepare for future battles.
The Department of Defense has strict requirements for the inclusion of threat assessments within all significant (Category I) acquisition programs. The Marine Corps exceeds this requirement by developing formal systems threat assessment reports for nearly all of its programs. While it may seem a bit risky to attempt to forecast a future threat of twenty to thirty years out, such a forecast is required in order to develop capabilities to meet that threat.
The United States Marine Corps has a well-earned appreciation for the difficulties imposed by the physical environment: we operate in it every day, literally "in every clime and place." As the Nation's premier expeditionary force in readiness, we recognize that we must be prepared to deploy to distant areas and operate in rugged conditions. That expeditionary environment justifies our emphasis on some of the essential but unglamorous aspects of warfighting capabilities. "In-stream offload," mine countermeasures, ports, bridges, airfields, and "logistics over the shore" are all areas that may fall outside of the tradition concept of "threat" but would stop any operation as surely as enemy action if not considered.
Finally, there are some specific areas of concern that the Marine Corps is focusing on to keep abreast of (or get ahead of) developments in those areas. The worldwide trend of technological acceleration enables our own forces to perform at a level that would have been considered impossible twenty years ago. Unfortunately, technology’s widespread availability and proliferation enables potential adversaries to enjoy many of the same advantages we have developed. These asymmetrical threats, characterized as terrorists, hackers, criminals, or elite special force operatives, the small organizational unit, or even an individual, have been empowered by technology to seriously threaten the United States and its interests. These unconventional actors can, have, and will continue to develop and employ both highly technical and dismissively simple devices in sophisticated attacks. The threat population is potentially enormous--the world population stands at more than two and a half billion individuals, virtually any one of whom could have hostile intent. Our intelligence efforts are directed at tracking the capabilities of those who declare their hostility, monitoring the development of capabilities that might be used against us, and anticipating the capabilities and strategies of potential adversaries. We recognize the future of asymmetrical threats is a growth area. The Marine Corps is balancing their approach toward these emerging unconventional threats taking into consideration risk, technology maturity, conventional threats, and resource constraints.
To develop our force protection capabilities, the Marine Corps uses a concept based requirements process. From the language provided by the 82nd Congress in 1952, the Corps has focused on providing a "force of combined arms, ready when the Nation is least ready…." These capabilities are derived from emerging concepts that are reflective of the strategic guidance, global geo/economic/political changes, and new threats. The distillation of these impacts is analyzed and developed within the major processes and functions that comprise the Marine Corps Combat Development System (CDS).
The CDS supports the Commandant in providing the manning, training and equipping of Marine Forces for deployment and employment by the Warfighting CinCs. Within the CDS, the Concept Based Requirements Process (CBRP) develops concepts and identifies operational requirements. From these concepts, the required mix of personnel and equipment are assessed across the pillars of Doctrine, Organization, Training and Education, Equipment, and Support and Facilities (DOTES) to determine the appropriate resource allocation levels to field integrated warfighting capabilities.
Our Marines are our most valuable asset. Protecting those Marines while accomplishing our mission, whether winning battles, maintaining the peace, or providing humanitarian assistance, is an inherent responsibility of command. To meet that responsibility, Marines approach force protection from several directions. First, for Marines, force protection stems from the philosophy that every Marine is a rifleman. As a part of our Battle Skills Training program, an annual process linked to promotion qualification, all Marines are trained in those warfighting skills needed to protect themselves in combat. Second, our operating forces are organized into Marine Air Ground Task Forces (MAGTFs) that provide enhanced protection through the synergistic effects of ground, aviation, and support elements. Third, force protection is woven throughout the family of Marine Corps Warfighting Concepts for the 21st Century. Issues of stealth, standoff, early warning, hardening/immunization, and damage mitigation are integral to current and future concepts which drive the future warfighting capabilities of our Corps.
C4I. The surest way to protect our Marines is to provide them with the combat leadership and tools they need to win quickly and decisively. To that end, we are enhancing our command, control, communications, computer, and intelligence (C4I) systems in several ways. In particular, we are giving high priority to systems that contribute to situational awareness at all levels of command. By improving each commander's understanding of friendly and enemy unit locations and the tactical situation in general, these systems reduce the likelihood of fratricide and contribute to both faster and more appropriate tactical decisions. Specific C4I initiatives include:
Squad Radios. Small units, down to the four-Marine fireteam level, will soon be equipped with small commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) handheld radios. These Intra-Squad Radios will greatly improve the ability of small unit leaders to direct their Marines and improve situational awareness, particularly in reduced visibility and urban environments. Hands-free radio access provides the capability to concurrently employ weapons. Fratricide is reduced through improved control and situational awareness, especially in urban environments where individuals and teams within buildings are dispersed and moving. The Marine Corps Warfighting Labs’ Limited Technical Assessments on these radios are largely complete and on schedule. A Red Team evaluation of vulnerabilities will be incorporated in their Advanced Warfighting Experiment Urban Warrior in March 1999 where 450 squad radios will be used. An additional 350 radios will be distributed throughout the Fleet Marine Forces for further evaluation.
Common Tactical Picture. Data communications below the regimental level will, beginning in FY00, be significantly improved with fielding of Enhanced Position and Location Reporting System (EPLRS) radios. This program, combined with our Digital Automated Communications Terminal (DACT), will enable us to provide unit commanders, down to the company level, with an automated common tactical picture (CTP) with improved situational awareness which identifies units and locations. Ultimately, the Joint Tactical Radio System program promises to provide even greater data communications capabilities and improved situational awareness at all levels.
Enhanced Combat Operations Centers. Commanders of battalion-sized and larger units will be provided with Enhanced Combat Operations Centers (ECOCs) to improve their ability to exercise command and control in fast-moving fluid operations. In addition to improved mobility and communications, these ECOCs will include computers and applications to assist commanders and staff with situational awareness, collaboration, coordination, and decision support which includes the deconfliction of supporting arms, the flexible movement of tactical units, and the ability to rapidly adjust unit boundaries.
Reachback. Reachback is defined as the capability of deployed Marine forces to access information products and services physically located back at the "sustaining base." In other words, they access distant services using satellite communications via the Defense Information Systems Agency’s Standardized Tactical Entry Points. This enables deployed warfighters to exchange information with the Supporting Establishment and remain behind forces. The Marine Corps is responding to the need for enhanced global reachback by helping to identify emerging bandwidth requirements which will then determine future satellite constellations and their capabilities. In the near term, the Marine Corps is rapidly fielding new satellite communication terminals; the SHF Tri-Band Advanced Range Extension Terminal (STAR-T) and the Secure, Mobile, Anti-jam, Reliable, Tactical Terminal (SMART-T). The STAR-T terminals will be mounted on a HMMWV (heavy variant) and will be capable of providing four downlinks of 1.544 Mbps and one uplink with an aggregate of 8.192 Mbps. The Marine Corps is procuring 41 STAR-T terminals which will be fielded from FY01 to FY03. The SMART-T uses the MILSTAR constellation to provide robust, low-probability-of-intercept, and jam resistant voice and data communications not subject to terrain masking or distance limitations. SMART-T will provide multi-channel medium data rate and low data rate communications simultaneously. Along with STAR-T, it will align the Marine Corps with the U.S. Army's SATCOM architecture and provide interoperability between our Services. The Marine Corps is procuring 25 SMART-T terminals with fielding to occur from FY01 to FY03.
Experimentation and Demonstration. As we continue to improve our C4I equipment and our ability to exercise command and control in combat, we employ experiments and demonstrations to validate our concepts and help guide equipment development. For example, the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab (MCWL) is continuously exploring new tactics and techniques in order to stay ahead of our potential adversaries and take advantage of the opportunities presented by emerging technology. The Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) Advanced Concept Technology Demonstration (ACTD) is demonstrating how state-of-the-art commercial technology can be used to improve situational awareness and enhance command and control of maneuver units and improve the combat effectiveness of a dispersed force in littoral operations. As these experiments and demonstrations progress, we will incorporate lessons learned in appropriate program development. For example, the Enhanced Combat Operations Center (ECOC) prototypes developed by both the MCWL and ELB ACTD will be used to validate current COC operational requirements and to guide implementation decisions by appropriate program offices. We have established significant ECOC and ELB ACTD "red teaming" efforts that are designed to identify weak spots and asymmetrical challenges in order to minimize the vulnerability of troops on the ground
Combat Identification. In March 1999, during the evaluation by the All Services Combat Identification Evaluation Team, the Marine Corps will evaluate several combat identification technologies that show potential to reduce fratricide. The Single Channel Ground Airborne Radio System Improvement Program Plus (SINCGARS SIP+) and the Situational Awareness Data Link (SADL) system will be evaluated to determine if situational awareness and target identification functions can be improved during the critical interfaces between the forward air controller and close air support aircraft. To eliminate fratricide among dismounted Marines on the ground, an eye safe laser Identification Friend or Foe (IFF) known as the Combat Simlas Plus System, will also be evaluated. The testing of these new systems along with our current programs for squad radios, EPLRS, and the ECOC will greatly improve situational awareness and combat identification at all levels.
Joint Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Defense Program. The Marine Corps is an active participant in the coordination and integration of research, development, testing, evaluation, and acquisition of DOD chemical and biological warfare defense programs. Within these Joint programs, the Marine Corps is the commodity area manager for Individual Protection. Additionally, the Marine Corps has been designated the lead service for six Joint NBC programs:
Joint Service Lightweight Integrated Suit Technology (JSLIST). The JSLIST is a Marine Corps lead Joint NBC Defense Program. JSLIST achieved initial operational capability in fall 1998. The acquisition strategy provides for level procurement of the JSLIST for 15 years to ensure a sufficient industry support base is maintained. There will be 2.3 million JSLIST suits procured through FY05. It consists of a protective suit with/without permeable hood, Overboot (MULO), and protective gloves. The JSLIST provides the wearer with protection from CB vapors, aerosols, liquids, and radioactive particles on the battlefield while the garments reduce the level of physiological stress encountered with the currently approved garments.
Joint Service Light NBC Reconnaissance System (JSLNBCRS). The Marine Corps is the lead service for the JLNBCRS program. Fielding is programmed for FY02. The JSLNBCRS will provide a NBC reconnaissance platform capable of detecting, identifying, and marking NBC hazards and toxic industrial materials on the integrated battlefield as well as providing information reports and warning to follow-on forces and Commanders. The LNBCRS will have significantly less impact on strategic and intratheater lift resources and provide a NBC reconnaissance capability to light forces in a manner consistent with their unique mission requirements.
NBC Joint Warning and Reporting Network (JWARN). The JWARN is a joint service program with the Marine Corps assigned as the lead service. JWARN provides Joint forces with a comprehensive analysis and response capability to minimize the effects of hostile NBC attacks or accident/incidents. JWARN uses current technology to collect, analyze, identify, locate, report and disseminate NBC threats. JWARN will accelerate Warfighter response to an enemy NBC attack. It will provide the operational capability of a communication network, interfacing NBC detectors with each Service's C4I architecture. The Phase 1 JWARN software fielding in 2nd Qtr FY 98. Phase 2 will integrate Chem/Bio detectors and C4I systems. Phase 2 is scheduled for fielding in FY01.
Joint Service Fixed Site Decontamination System (JSFXD). The JSFXD is a Marine Corps lead Joint NBC defense program. The JSFXD will be employed on the integrated battlefield as a means to remove, neutralize and eliminate NBC/TIM hazards posing threats to military operations. To facilitate effective operation for sustained periods of time in a contaminated environment, the JSFXD will use the latest in technology to eliminate NBC/TIM hazards in a safe and effective manner. The JSFXD will incorporate both a family of decontaminants and a family of decontamination application systems to enhance force protection through personnel, equipment, facility, and area decontamination. The JSFXD will have minimal logistic movement impact on strategic and intratheater lift resources. Design(s) should minimize the manpower requirements and maximize the use of robotics and automation. The JSFXD is scheduled for production in FY02 and is programmed for fielding in FY03 through FY06.
Joint Service Mask Leakage Tester (JSMLT). The JSMLT is a Marine Corps lead Joint Service NBC defense program. JSMLT will be a one-man portable, unit level, device that is capable of testing and validating the serviceability of components and fit of NBC protective masks. It provides a tool to determine the status of the unit's mask preventive maintenance program and can be employed with forward deployed elements to maintain and keep their NBC protective masks in a high state of combat readiness. The JSMLT is a new program with production planned to start in FY03 and fielding scheduled from FY04 to FY06.
Joint Service Container Refilling System (JSCRS). The JSCRS is a Marine Corps lead Joint Service NBC defense program. The JSCRS will provide the capability to refill containers such as canteens and five-gallon water cans with water in a NBC contaminated environment. Under certain climatic conditions, operators may need to consume 1-2 gallons of water per twelve-hour work cycle to maintain bodily fluids and electrolyte levels. The JSCRS will be simple to operate and will require minimal training. The JSCRS will be compatible with a variety of water distribution systems (e.g., five-gallon water cans, M149 and the 400 gallon wheeled water trailer). The JSCRS is a new program with planned production start in FY01 and fielding from FY02 to FY04.
Chemical Biological Incident Response Force. The Commandant of the Marine Corps directed the creation of the Chemical Biological Incident Response Force (CBIRF) in July, 1995. CBIRF is the only U.S. force currently capable of performing Counter Terrorism Consequence Management on a large scale in a Chemical and/or Biological (CB) contaminated environment. CBIRF provides a Marine Air Ground Task Force or on-scene commander with a fully integrated post-incident CB response management capability. CBIRF possesses enhanced NBC detection and protection capabilities beyond those of standard military units and is capable of detecting and identifying toxic industrial materials (TIM) in addition to warfare agents. CBIRF is supported remotely by a panel of military and civilian experts in the field of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD). In addition to CBIRF's response mission, the unit serves as a test-bed for the development of new equipment, tactics, techniques, and procedures for responding to CB incidents and is responsible for providing training and equipment for deploying Marine Expeditionary Units. CBIRF provides a quickly deployable, self-sustaining, CB incident response force. To date, the CBIRF has been deployed to the 1996 Atlanta Summer Olympics, the 1997 Presidential Inauguration, the 1997 Economic Summit of Eight, the 1999 Presidential State of the Union Address to Congress, and most recently in support of the Pope’s visit to Missouri. In July 1997, the CMC broadened CBIRF's mission to include countermeasure/force protection support to the Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) and assistance to civilian responders. We have included this training during our MEU work-ups, and the 24th and 26th MEUs have recently deployed with this improved capability.
The six components of CBIRF; Command and Control, Reconnaissance, Decontamination, Medical, Security, and Service Support are integrated under a single command. CBIRF reflects 374 personnel; 339 Marines and 35 Navy; 31 officers and 343 enlisted possessing 61 different military occupational specialties. CBIRF uses over 264 different items of equipment which can be segregated into five capability categories; Force Protection, Detection, Decontamination, Medical, and Communication/General Support.
CBIRF's research and development effort, detailed in the draft Marine Corps Consequence Management Force RDA Plan dated 14 November 1997, addresses deficiencies in current CB incident response and management technologies. The CBIRF program totals over $12M from FY98 to FY03. We are deeply grateful for the Congressional support that CBIRF has enjoyed in the past that includes your most recent addition in FY99 of $3.5M for CBIRF research and development. These funds will directly enhance key CBIRF programs such as the procurement of a flyaway communication suite and development of Non-Specific Immunity (NSI), Electro-Static Decontamination (ESD), and Chemical Biological Individual Sampler (CBIS) programs. The Flyaway Communication Suite supports CBIRF by providing constant reachback communications with CBIRF’s Command Consequence Management Center (CCMC) via Satellite Communications. The Flyaway Communication Suite provides both secure and nonsecure voice and data communications, a deployed networking capability, and supports communications internally as well as with external agencies. NSI seeks to develop an immunoprophylactic to boost the immune system prior to exposure to biological warfare agents. ESD seeks to develop a medically and environmentally benign decontamination system scalable for use on mass casualties, equipment, buildings, and terrain. CBIS will develop a pocket-sized, medically oriented, sampler capable of detecting sub-clinical exposures to chemical and biological agents.
Enhanced NBC (E-NBC) Capability Sets. Proliferation of NBC weapons, the increasing availability of technical information, and the industrial capability for their manufacture raises the probability that MAGTFs will encounter NBC weapons anywhere in the world’s littorals. The E-NBC Capability Set provides MAGTF Commanders an increased initial rapid response capability to counter the growing NBC threat in strategic areas of interest around the world. The E-NBC Capability Set enhances near real-time agent detection, identification, processing, and decontamination support, thereby increasing force protection capabilities. There will be 13 E-NBC Capability Sets distributed to Marine Expeditionary Forces. It is intended that two sets be provided to each MEF Commander for training and contingency purposes and one set for each MEU(SOC) for training and deployment purposes. The individual protective equipment included in the E-NBC Capability Set are designed to outfit eight personnel. Personnel currently assigned to perform NBC functions, and additional personnel as required, will be trained in the use of the E-NBC Capability Set by qualified personnel. The E-NBC Capability Set consists of primarily Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) equipment. Support for the E-NBC Capability Set will be established through as-needed requirements contracts with commercial vendors for outyear replenishment of end items and consumables, repairs and maintenance, and training. Fielding of these kits to Marine Expeditionary Units (MEU) is scheduled to begin in FY 99 and completed in FY00. These kits will also be accompanied by an extensive training package as well as a series of orientation force protection lectures prior to and during deployments.
Marine Corps Base Initiatives. The threat of terrorism, especially terrorists using weapons of mass destruction (WMD), poses a difficult, asymmetrical threat to DoD personnel and assets. The DoD has published a number of AT/FP standards with which commanders must comply. Over the past several months, Marine Corps Base, Quantico has undertaken many new AT/FP projects with the desire to be "The Center of Excellence" for installation AT/FP programs. These initiatives include an installation-level crisis management exercise, a Joint Staff Integrated Vulnerability Assessment (JSIVA), Level II and IV AT/FP training for key players, detailed planning to establish an integrated MCB AT/FP plan, and the development of MOUs with federal, state, and local AT/FP and emergency management agencies. Moreover, MCB Quantico hosted the Joint Staff-sponsored Force Protection Equipment Demonstration (FPED) in September, 1997 and is scheduled to host the May, 1999 FPED as well. The MCB, Quantico AT/FP model establishes a baseline security/preparedness posture capable of handling both man made and natural disasters. Further, the program enables the installation to smoothly transition from normal operations to an increased readiness posture. MCB, Quantico’s integrated approach synchronizes Command efforts, focuses on procedural solutions, incorporates existing AT/FP technology, and maximizes scarce personnel, equipment, and fiscal resources.
Mine Countermeasures. We consider this area of Force Protection essential to our ability to conduct operations within the littorals. Representative of our effort are the following programs:
Anti-Personnel Obstacle Breaching System (APOBS). The APOBS is intended to neutralize all single impulse AP mines (surface laid and buried) and clear a path through standard wire obstacles, within a path 0.6 meters wide up to 45 meters from the leading edge of the obstacle. It is a lightweight, portable system that combines the shrapnel cutting capabilities of grenades interconnected on 45 meter long line charge. The Marine Corps plans on procuring 3399 APOBS from FY00 to FY04.
Coastal Battlefield Reconnaissance and Analysis (COBRA). COBRA is an Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) based standoff mine detection system designed to locate minefields in the littorals in support of amphibious and expeditionary operations and can also be employed in support of inland operations. COBRA is intended to detect surface and buried mines as well as detecting obstacles and fortifications in the surf zone (10 feet of water to the High Water Mark). It will also provide recorded, ground base processed imagery of surveyed areas. COBRA has a pre-planned product improvement that will significantly enhance performance and capabilities. The Marine Corps intends to procure 24 COBRA from FY04 to FY10.
Combat Breacher Vehicle (CBV). The CBV provides an obstacle breaching capability integrated on a M1 tank chassis to provide the latest technology in direct fire protection. Sub-systems include a mine clearing blade with automatic depth control, automatic weapons stations, commanders control station, and a power driven arm. Full track, heavy armor protection combat system capable of breaching minefields, neutralizing obstacle, demolishing berms, and filling anti-tank ditches. The system will have comparable mobility and agility to an M1A1 Abrams Tank with crew under-armor protection, full-width mine clearing and obstacle reducing. The Marine Corps intends to procure 52 CBV from FY05 to FY13.
Individual Protective Equipment. Completing our discussion of equipment programs supporting Force Protection are those directly worn by an individual Marine. These programs include:
Body Armor. The Marine Corps new body armor enhances force protection by providing each Marine with an increased level of protection. The Marine Corps Body Armor program is a Marine Enhancement Program (MEP) initiative. Of the 24 present MEP programs, body armor is ranked highest. The program was approved on 5 January 1995. The acquisition objective is 173,000 active and 43,000 reserves. Fielding will begin this calendar year and is programmed out to FY 05. This phased fielding is a product of funds available per year not production capability. The present Personnel Armor System for Ground Troops (PASGT) vest was designed to defeat the fragmentation and flechette threat. The new body armor, known as the "Interceptor", will duplicate this protection. However, new technologies facilitated increasing protection to include the majority of the 9 x 18mm used by friendly and threat forces. This means a Marine is protected against most hand gun threats. The new vest also has a pocket in the front and back that accepts ballistic plates. This plate has been engineered to defeat the 7.62 x 39mm ball threat. The weight has decreased from 9.3 to 8.35 pounds. Test subjects state the "supple" materials used allow better capability to "get in behind the sights" and engage targets faster and with more accuracy. This improved ballistic protection, lighter weight and better "fightability" enhance survivability, mobility and lethality which translate to better force protection.
Camouflage. We are currently conducting tests on camouflage uniforms that provide improved signature reduction when compared to present utility uniforms. These new camouflage uniforms, when viewed against an urban background or through night vision devices, are significantly more difficult to see. This passive capability enhances personal protection our Marines. Programs are underway to address mid/far thermal signature reduction. Tests indicate that reduction of thermal recognition on the battlefield is possible, but in no way renders the user "invisible". For example, a recent effort to develop a thermal signature reduction "face paint" showed merit but turned up less than favorable results. Classified studies concerning fabric treatments that reduce thermal signature are showing potential and will be available for demonstration in the near future.
Protective Eyewear. The category of directed energy weapons includes lasers as a subclass, and it is an area of continued concern to our ground and air personnel. Lasers are commonplace on today's battlefield, they are incorporated into many different weapon systems, and they can cause incidental damage to both Marines and equipment. The laser threat to ground personnel is and will continue to be an ever increasing problem on today’s and tomorrow’s battlefield. While not usually designed to permanently blind personnel, it is an inherent consequence for some systems. The systems include laser pointers, laser illuminators, laser rangefinders, and laser designators. The proliferation of these systems is on the rise around the world and the wavelengths utilized range from the visible to the infrared spectrum. Some countries are indeed developing systems with the primary purpose of causing permanent damage to the human eye. The Corps has a requirement for a Sun, Wind, and Dust (SWD) Goggle that also provides Ballistic and Laser protection. This requirement will be resolved within the US Army/USMC’s program for the Military Eyewear Protection System (MEPS). The technology currently being pursued is a combination of Eye-Centered Holograms and Dielectric Stacks. The Eye-Centered Holograms are designed to protect against wavelengths in the visible spectrum and the Dielectric Stacks are designed to protect against wavelengths in the infrared (IR) spectrum. Both technologies have already been integrated into a spectacle for Navy and Marine Corps Aviators and can be integrated into a SWD Goggle for ground personnel. The requirement for laser eye protection for aircrew was developed with the advent of military applications of Lasers on the 1960s-70s. Multiple aviation eye protection systems have been developed and distributed throughout Marine aviation units. The current stock of Laser protection eyewear come in either spectacle (eyeglasses) or visor form and range from one wavelength to five wavelength protection. The primary focus of early systems was single wavelength eye protection from friendly near-IR Lasers, such as the Modular Universal Laser Equipment (MULE), Laser Pointer Locator (LPL), and Laser Designator Tracker Ranging (LDTR) used for target designation. Follow-on multi wavelength systems strive to protect from both friendly systems as well as expected threat systems. Current spectacle type laser eye protection available for USMC aviation are the EDU-1/P and FV-2. The spectacle under development is the EDU-5P. Current visor type eye protection available are the EEK-3/P, EEK-4A/, SPH-3C, and HGU-67/68/84/85 Visor. The visor under development is the Joint Advanced Laser Eye Protection Visor (JALEPV). We are pursuing emerging technologies in cooperation with the Office of Naval Research to counter all laser threats using laser protective spectacles (aviation) and goggles (ground). Both systems use similar technology and can prevent multiple laser wavelengths from temporarily or permanently blinding our Marines. While not designed to protect against potential future lasers, the systems do have the capability to protect our Marines against the most commonly used military lasers throughout the world. Additionally, we intend to include laser protective goggles as part of capability sets for our deploying Marines until full procurement can be completed.
Doctrine. Our current doctrine hierarchy contains 255 doctrinal publications, a third of which have been updated, revised, and published over the last three years. Throughout this update process, discussion of force protection has been a significant aspect of doctrine development. Marine Corps doctrine identifies force protection as one of six warfighting functions considered fundamental to all military operations at every level. Reflective of its broad applicability, force protection is not just covered in a single Marine Corps doctrinal publication, but instead is discussed in varying degrees within nearly all of our service doctrinal publications.
Summary. Force protection against threats both conventional and unconventional is an enduring theme in our concepts, an integral component of our doctrine, and a daily part of our training and education. As mentioned earlier, the unconventional threats are emerging from a conventional technical evolution yet are being adapted by nonconventional opponents. It is a required warfighting capability that has and will continue to demand the best our Combat Development System can produce. It is also an effort that is completely in concert with our philosophy of equipping Marines and not manning equipment. Force protection enables our ultimate precision weapon, the Marine, to adapt and overcome.
Our intelligence analysis process continuously assesses the risks associated with emerging threats while our Combat Development System resolves the most notable Force Protection issues through experimentation, testing, and evaluation. Continued Congressional support greatly assists us in meeting resource challenges associated with these dynamic threats. When opportunities, such as the ongoing Budget Enhancement List (BEL) process, occur where we are able to request from Congress funding to support essential warfighting capabilities, we are vigilant to ensure Force Protection programs receive strong support. We are currently seeking your support on several programs through the BEL which enhance Force Protection. These include CBIRF, Computer Network Defense, EPLRS, Marine Enhancement Program, Tactical Remote Sensors, and Non-Lethal Weapons. We are confident that continued support from the Congress, who has been our "Force Protector" over the past 223 years, will enable us to adequately meet any unconventional threats in the future.
Force Protection capabilities are not only essential for
today’s force but must be ready for our Corps of the future. As such, our
efforts range from today’s fielding of proven capability sets to forward-deployed
Marine Expeditionary Units to the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab’s experimentation
with emerging technologies. Engaged across the pillars of DOTES and with
both the near and far term perspectives in view, Force Protection is always
on the horizon for Marine forces fighting "Forward…from the Sea."