Command and Control in Littoral Operations
NAVAL WAR COLLEGE NEWPORT RI NEWPORT United States
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The current operational concepts of the sea services describe a complex littoral environment with dense urban areas and highly sophisticated threats posed by both state and non-state actors that can reach across domains and influence land, air and sea. This evolving Anti-AccessArea-Denial A2AD environment challenges long-held assumptions about the ease with which the United States can project power ashore without accepting significant risk to American naval forces. In future littoral operations, the United States will need to use a force that can seamlessly operate across domains in an uncertain or hostile environment. Amphibious forces are the ideal instrument for such an environment, but they will need to be able to operate over vast distances and to repeatedly cross between domains to neutralize threats and accomplish the mission. Current doctrinal amphibious command and control C2 relationships are ineffective for an integrated naval force operating in this environment. In likely future littoral operations, a Marine Expeditionary Brigade Expeditionary Strike Group MEBESG-sized Amphibious Force AF will need to employ distributed forces ashore and afloat for a prolonged period in areas where sea control is still in dispute. In these operations, the optimal command structure is a unified commander with an integrated staff to ensure unity of effort, the efficient use of staff officers and the speed of the AF decision-making cycle.
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics