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Engineer Manpower and MAGTF Mobility

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Research paper

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The Marine Corps capstone concept, expeditionary maneuver warfare EMW, requires unprecedented mobility. A MAGTF cannot effectively conduct route clearance without the skills of Marine combat engineers. Combat engineer units must be properly manned to play their role within the MAGTF. In the Marine Corps a controversy has arisen around the serious threat of command detonated mines and the existence on the battlefield of ordnance, ammunition, and improvised explosive devices IED. Competition over scarce resources for mine counter-mine operations has pitted engineers against the explosive ordnance disposal EOD community. This conflict has sensationalized the inherent dangers in captured enemy ammunition CEA destruction and politicized the battlefield roles of engineers and EOD. Despite the symbiotic relationship between engineers and EOD on the battlefield, these communities are fighting for the resources to accomplish their missions. The truth is that mobility, hence countering the IED threat, is a MAGTF task. However, the community with the most effective advocacy EOD received a major end strength increase not to mention the acquisition of critical equipment, including robots, optics, tool kits, and mine survivable vehicles. But this outcome had unintended consequences. The struggle for resources produced a winner and a loser. It also created the impression that one side was right and one side was wrong. This struggle created a new perception the IED is EOD turf. While this view is demonstrably false, it is widely subscribed to and has serious ramifications for EMW. The inability to counter IEDs should be and is considered a capability gap in Marine Corps mine countermeasures that degrades MAGTF mobility. IEDs are a threat that requires the full attention and commitment of the MAGTF and the Expeditionary Force Development System. Increasing the end strength of combat engineers should be part of the solution.

Subject Categories:

  • Personnel Management and Labor Relations
  • Military Forces and Organizations
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Countermeasures
  • Ammunition and Explosives

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