Dual Caliber Deployments: The Future MEU Battery
MARINE CORPS COMMAND AND STAFF COLL QUANTICO VA
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Right now a Marine Expeditionary Unit MEU commander is debating how to support his mission with the right mix of personnel and equipment. In the process, he will seek input from critical staff members who are considered the duty experts in their respective fields. His responsibility is to anticipate questions his commander may pose and have solutions prepared. When it comes to fires, he may find more questions than answers. Artillery battery commanders must decide now how they will employ the Expeditionary Fire Support System and Lightweight Howitzer currently available to them. In 2000, the Artillery Operation Advisory Group AOAG recognized that a fundamental change in the composition of the Marine Corps ground delivered fires capability must occur to stay in synch with the vision of the future Marine Corps force. In January of that year, the AOAG published a letter stating the following Fire support organic to Marine Forces is inadequate for todays battle and poorly postured to meet Operational Maneuver from the SeaShip to Objective Maneuver OMTSSTOM capabilities that must be in place by 2015. To get there we need a triad of short, medium and long-range fire support systems that have complimentary and mutually supporting capabilities. This triad of fires concept exists today with the introduction of the long-range High Mobility Artillery Rocket System HIMARS, medium-range M777A2 Lightweight Howitzer, and the short-range Expeditionary Fire Support System EFSS. These weapon systems give the Marine artillery regiment a wide range of capabilities across the spectrum of conflict and throughout the modern battlefield. The MEU Commander, armed with these new tools, must now decide how they should be employed. The author concludes that future MEU batteries must deploy with four M777A2s and four EFSS to maximize the capabilities of both weapon systems, maintain the necessary lethality, and provide the MEU commander with the most flexibility.
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