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Closing the Fire Support Gap in Amphibious Operations


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Because of the decommissioning of the Iowa-class battleships in 1992, the Navy and Marine Corps team has a fire support gap within their fires triad in support of amphibious operations. Currently, the platform that fills this gap, though highly inadequate, is the 5-inch, 54 guns mounted on cruisers and destroyers. To answer the current requirements, the Navy developed the Zumwalt-class (DDG 1000) ship with upgraded weapon systems and capabilities. Officials originally planned for 24 of these new ships but with the rising price tag, which ultimately reached about 3.5 billion dollars apiece, this number dropped to three. This falls short of the Marine Corps requirement. Additionally, shortfalls in artillery officers education continuum widen this current gap as very little follow on education opportunities exist after Military Occupational Specialty School. The Navy and Marine Corps team needs to develop new, cost effective platforms that will meet the Marine Corps current and future needs and requirements as this is a relevant capability for future operations in and around the littorals. Furthermore, the Marine Corps needs to develop sustainable and effective education opportunities in order to ensure competency of all artillery officers throughout their careers.



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