The following is the Defense Department organizational face chart of top leadership as of March 6, 2023.
Download the document here.
News for the seafarers
The following is the Defense Department organizational face chart of top leadership as of March 6, 2023.
Download the document here.
The following is the Defense Department organizational face chart of top leadership as of March 6, 2023.
Download the document here.
Amid a delay in fielding the Marine Corps’ new Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, sailors and Marines are adjusting how they move Marines ashore. Last summer, the three ships in the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group became the first U.S. Navy vessels certified to operate the new ACVs. But a late-stage change ahead of their deployment […]
Amid a delay in fielding the Marine Corps’ new Amphibious Combat Vehicle program, sailors and Marines are adjusting how they move Marines ashore.
Last summer, the three ships in the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group became the first U.S. Navy vessels certified to operate the new ACVs. But a late-stage change ahead of their deployment meant the ARG and the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit would deploy without the new armored vehicles that are able to swim from an amphibious warship to shore across the open ocean.
During the last amtrac age, the Marine Corps’ amphibious assault doctrine called for two-thirds of Marines to hit the shore from the sea, while a third of the force would fly. But without the AAVs or ACVs, the Marine Corps is rethinking how to deploy Marines ashore. In the interregnum between the amtracs and the new ACV, the MEUs have adapted to employ other ship-to-shore capabilities.
The Makin Island ARG/MEU – which has been deployed to the Indo-Pacific for the last seven months – has instead relied on its five Landing Craft Air Cushions and one Landing Craft Utility to land Marines ashore.
“We saw no degradation to any capability in our ship-to-shore connectors during any portion of the exercise,” Col. Samuel Meyer, the commanding officer of the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked with the Makin Island ARG, told USNI News in an interview last week.
The ability to pivot to the other platforms, for which the ARG/MEU also has certifications, demonstrates the nimbleness of the amphibious force, USS Makin Island (LHD-8) commanding officer Capt. Andria Slough told USNI News.
“I think that just goes back to show how agile these L-class ships, with their combined Marine compliment, really are. You can change that plan – it happened to change for deployment – but it can change for specific missions too. And we’ve seen that in the past, specifically with humanitarian aid, disaster relief, or small security packages that are needed wherever. Not everything’s a full-scale war. So we’re very scalable, very agile,” Slough said.
USS Makin Island (LHD-8) and amphibious transport docks USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23) deployed in November as an ARG with the 13th MEU embarked. Since then, the ARG/MEU has participated in a host of exercises throughout the Indo-Pacific with regional allies and partners like Japan and the Philippines.
“When you have the change of a configuration, you don’t have a loss of capability. So it’s the team together that manifest this robust capability and it’s a team fight,” Meyer said.
A 2020 amtrac accident that killed eight Marines and a sailor off the coast of California’s San Clemente island upended the Marine Corps’ planned transition from the AAV to the ACV. The Marine Corps suspended AAV waterborne operations following the 2020 accident and permanently banned the Vietnam-era AAVs from waterborne operations in late 2021.
The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group and the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit were slated to be the first East Coast ARG/MEU to deploy with the ACVs. But the ongoing operational pause meant the MEU had to rethink its ship-to-shore capabilities without the ACVs, one Marine told USNI News on an embark to Bataan last month.
In place of ACVs, Bataan was filled with the Marines’ LAV-25 light armored vehicles. The LAVs were both in the big deck’s vehicle stowage and packed aboard two LCUs in Bataan’s well deck. The amphibious assault battalion cross trained to operate 11-meter rigid hull inflatable boats, 26th MEU commander Col. Dennis Sampson told USNI News during an interview aboard Bataan in April.
“What we’ve done is taken Marines that are familiar with water operations from the amphibious assault battalion Navy coxswain courses to a high standard, and we also put them through a maintenance course that is associated with those 11-meter RHIBs,” Sampson said.
“We’re heavily reliant on our aviation assets to build combat power ashore. We’re more reliant on LCACs and LCUs but they’re not equivalent to tracks. We’d like to have those ACVs.”
It’s unclear when the Marine Corps will deploy the ACVs for the first time. After the service decided not to deploy the new vehicles with the 13th MEU, Marine Corps deputy commandant for combat development and integration Lt. Gen. Karsten Heckl said last year that the 15th MEU would be the first to deploy with the ACVs.
Last month, when announcing a new training unit to help with the ACV transition, the Marine Corps said it would not “speculate on future deployments,” but wants to focus on training the operators.
For now, the Marines out with the fleet feel they have what they need to achieve their missions.
“I don’t think there’s any capability lost for anything that we’ve done. We certainly look forward to the modernization of the ACV when it comes out, but that will be when it’s ready and that will be on a future MEU,” Meyer said.
The following is the May 26, 2023, U.S. Naval Academy graduation ceremony and the text of the address by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin. Good morning, Class of 2023! I don’t think there’s anybody out there, Sean. Good morning, Class of 2023! Secretary Del Toro, Admiral Gilday, General Berger: thanks for your leadership of our […]
The following is the May 26, 2023, U.S. Naval Academy graduation ceremony and the text of the address by Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin.
Good morning, Class of 2023!
I don’t think there’s anybody out there, Sean. Good morning, Class of 2023!
Secretary Del Toro, Admiral Gilday, General Berger: thanks for your leadership of our Navy and our Marine Corps.
And it’s great to see so many distinguished guests and local leaders, as well as members of Congress here today. Thanks for your support of this great Academy.
Vice Admiral Buck, family, friends, and above all graduates: I am absolutely delighted to join you on this proud day.
It is great to be here.
Even though the first guy I met said, “Beat Army!”
And it is indeed an honor to help welcome the next generation of Sailors and Marines to what is, beyond any doubt, the finest Navy that the world has ever known.
Now, you’re going to need to get used to some new titles.
So congratulations, Ensigns and Second Lieutenants! Huh!
You know, I really appreciate the warm welcome today, especially for an old West Point guy like me.
And as a former service-academy cadet, it’s a real pleasure to take care of this next piece of important business.
So in keeping with the longstanding tradition: To all midshipmen serving restrictions for minor infractions, you are hereby absolved.
You know, I’ve always wanted to do that.
You know, the U.S. Navy has been doing some pretty amazing things lately.
Pushing the limits with cutting-edge platforms. Schooling the next generation. And confronting new dangers.
And that was just the first half-hour of “Top Gun: Maverick.”
As I look around this stadium, I see some very proud families and loved ones out there.
You’ve been on this journey right alongside your midshipmen—from I-Day to plebe summer to signing those “two for seven” pledges. Your love and encouragement has given them the strength to keep going.
So graduates, today belongs to your loved ones too. And let’s give them a third round of applause.
Let me offer a special word of thanks to the sponsor families.
They open up their homes to exhausted mids—offering hot meals, and laundry, and a place to crash that isn’t “Mother B.”
So thanks to all of you for you have done and what you continue to do in support of these great men and women.
And Vice Adm. Buck has also got a graduation of sorts coming up.
Supe, you’ve led this brigade through incredibly challenging times. I want to thank you for your many years of service. And as your retirement beckons, we wish you fair winds and following seas.
Now, graduates: I know that you’re feeling some powerful emotions today.
Pride, gratitude, relief—and maybe a bit of shock.
And if you’re anything like my own academy class back in the day, you may be worrying about what’s next.
And you may wonder whether you’re truly prepared to lead.
Ensigns and Lieutenants, let me be clear: You are ready.
And that’s not just because you’ll have a commission the next time that you walk off the Yard.
It’s because of each and every time that you walked onto the Yard.
You chose to come to this Academy.
And despite challenges that nobody imagined, you chose to keep coming back, and to keep pushing, and to keep growing.
You know, all those choices add up to character.
And all those decisions add up to integrity.
And all those deeds add up to leadership.
And the way that you overcame obstacles at this Academy will show you how to conquer challenges outside of this Academy.
You led the brigade with grace and compassion after the Academy family tragically lost two midshipmen last year.
And I ask that we take a moment to remember Midshipman Taylor Connors and Midshipman Luke Bird.
Some of you have been hit with unexpected challenges.
Maya Weiss learned last year that she was facing a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
But last November, she rang the bell at Walter Reed—done with chemo and cancer free.
And Maya, your classmates can’t wait for you to join them in the Fleet later this year.
This class has also led throughout a global pandemic.
COVID-19 disrupted your plebe year. It delayed rituals like climbing Herndon. It separated you from your classmates, as you were just starting to feel like a family.
But you hung in there. You took care of each other. You found ways to adapt, like firing up grills on the Yard for Thanksgiving dinner—or doing squats with jugs of water in your parents’ backyards when sea trials become “e-trials.”
And when it was finally safe to gather again, you reunited with your classmates. And you made good use of that weekday liberty at O’Brien’s.
Now, the Naval Academy’s new Midshipman Ethos records the core values that you’ve sworn to live by.
You seek wisdom. You practice discipline. You treat others with dignity and respect.
And you will defend our democracy with honor, courage, and commitment.
You know, those values aren’t just words that you recite. Those values are who you are.
And that’s how I know that you are ready for the challenges ahead.
As one of your predecessors once said, “We must adjust to changing times and still hold to unchanging principles.”
That was President Jimmy Carter, Class of 1947.
And I’m proud that one of this school’s most distinguished alumni—a man of deep faith and a champion of human rights—is now honored on the Yard with the naming of Carter Hall.
Graduates, over the years, I’ve learned that leadership is not just what you do.
It’s who you are.
And over the years, I’ve had the privilege of working with some outstanding graduates of this academy.
People like Carlos Del Toro, who came to America, as you heard this morning, as a refugee from Cuba—and went on to command a destroyer and serve as your 78th Secretary of the Navy.
And his American journey reminds us how much is possible in this exceptional country.
I’m also thinking of Michelle Howard, the Navy’s first female four-star and the first African-American woman to command a combatant ship.
After she retired, Admiral Howard led the important commission to rename military assets after great American patriots who represent the very best of our history.
And her career is an inspiration to anyone facing a tough task.
“Some days,” she says, “you’ve just got to get your warrior on—and take that first step.”
I’m also thinking of my junior military assistant, Lieutenant Colonel Jay Armas, Class of 2001.
Now, this outstanding Marine is with me every day, morning until night.
And every morning, when Colonel Armas briefs me on my schedule, he realizes that all those “chow calls” were actually good for something.
And finally, I’m thinking of my former boss, Adm. Mike Mullen, who was the 17th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
He taught me some of the most important lessons of my career.
And the first one was: don’t ever work for a Naval Academy graduate when Navy Football is in the middle of a 14-year winning streak.
Adm. Mullen also taught me that a leader’s single most important job is to build and empower a great team. To encourage debate and diversity of views. And to take care of all of your people.
And if it hadn’t been for Adm. Mike Mullen, I probably wouldn’t be here with you today.
You know, naval officers have a special understanding of the power of teamwork.
To keep a ship afloat or a submarine diving, the crew has to work together as one team—from the captain to the cooks.
And that’s the spirit that makes American seapower so formidable.
And we need that spirit for the crucial mission that you’re all here to shoulder.
America’s seapower lets us sail, and fly, and operate alongside our unrivaled network of allies and partners, from the South China Sea, to the Gulf of Aden, to the Caribbean.
It lets us project power around the world.
And it helps us secure the sea lanes for the free movement of people, and goods, and ideas.
Today, our Marines are showing the power of teamwork as they train alongside our allies in Japan and the Philippines to strengthen deterrence in the Indo-Pacific.
Our Navy is driving forward our historic AUKUS partnership with Australia and the U.K., bringing together three great democracies to keep the Indo-Pacific free, and open, and prosperous.
In Europe, our Sailors are operating shoulder-to-shoulder with our NATO allies. And the Navy has helped expand Ukraine’s maritime capabilities as Ukraine fights against Russia’s cruel and reckless war of choice.
So around the world, the Navy and the Marine Corps bring relief to disaster zones, they counter piracy and drug trafficking, and they defend the freedom of the seas, skies, and space.
And that’s what American seapower lets us do.
Ensigns and Second Lieutenants: that is your mission.
And your leadership will be at the very heart of America’s work to forge a more open and more peaceful 21st century.
You know, our competitors openly challenge that vision. They want to replace the hard-won postwar system of rules and rights with a lawless world of autocracy and aggression.
But the American flag atop a U.S. Navy ship has long been the symbol of hope for a more free and secure world.
So graduates, you will deploy forward. You will travel the globe to defend our democracy. And you will learn that the lifeblood of the rules-based international order is actually seawater.
That’s a big job.
But you’re up to it.
You know, exactly 30 years ago today, the Class of 1983  heard from a wise and scrappy member of the Naval Academy’s Class of 1958.
Senator John McCain held true to his values under impossible circumstances.
And to the graduates sitting where you are, he said, “You have been taught much of what is necessary to lead other men and women in war and peace. You will learn much more from your approaching experiences. As Ensigns and Second Lieutenants, the character of the young Sailors and Marines entrusted to your care will be formed in large part by their appreciation of your character.”
And then Senator McCain added, “You are where leadership begins.”
Ladies and gentlemen, look around you.
This stadium reminds us of the great battles in which those who came before you fought to defend democracy. Belleau Wood. Guadalcanal. Iwo Jima. Inchon.
But what you don’t see here is all the battles that never occurred, all the wars that never erupted—because American Sailors and Marines showed up.
They deterred conflict. They kept the watch. And they reminded the world of what America stands for.
As President Theodore Roosevelt once said, “A good Navy is not a provocation to war. It is the surest guaranty of peace.”
Class of 2023: wherever your career takes you, remind the world of what you stand for—and what America stands for.
Honor. Courage. And commitment.
Democracy. Liberty. And the rule of law.
The lessons of this academy will always steer you true.
And when the fog rolls in, let the values that you have learned here be your lighthouse.
Because your commanders will call on you.
Your teammates will look to you.
And your country will count on you.
And I know that you are ready.
Because you are where leadership begins.
Class of 2023: I am absolutely honored to call you my teammates and shipmates.
And we will all be cheering you on as you make our country stronger, and our democracy deeper, and our world safer.
May God bless you. May God bless your families. And may God continue to bless the United States of America.
The following is the May 22, 2023, Congressional Research Service report, Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress. From the report The Navy is currently building two types of amphibious ships: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships, and LHA-type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington […]
The following is the May 22, 2023, Congressional Research Service report, Navy LPD-17 Flight II and LHA Amphibious Ship Programs: Background and Issues for Congress.
The Navy is currently building two types of amphibious ships: LPD-17 Flight II class amphibious ships, and LHA-type amphibious assault ships. Both types are built by Huntington Ingalls Industries/Ingalls Shipbuilding (HII/Ingalls) of Pascagoula, MS. Required numbers and types of amphibious ships are reportedly ongoing matters of discussion and debate between the Navy, the Marine Corps, and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD). Projected numbers of amphibious ships, procurement of LPD-17 Flight II class ships, and proposed retirements of older amphibious ships have emerged as prominent items in Congress’ review of the Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget.
The Navy’s 355-ship force-level goal, released in December 2016, calls for achieving and maintaining a 355-ship fleet with 38 larger amphibious ships, including 13 LPD-17 Flight II class ships. The Navy and OSD have been working since 2019 to develop a new force-level goal to replace the 355-ship force-level goal, but have not been able to come to closure on a successor goal. Required numbers of amphibious ships are reportedly a major issue in the ongoing discussion. The Marine Corps supports a revised Navy ship force-level goal with 31 larger amphibious ships, including 10 LHA/LHD-type ships and 21 LPD-17s. Section 1023 of the FY2023 NDAA amends 10 U.S.C. 8062 to require the Navy to include not less than 31 operational larger amphibious ships, including 10 LHA/LHD-type ships and 21 LPD- or LSD-type amphibious ships.
The Navy’s FY2024 30-year (FY2024-FY2053) shipbuilding plan shows the projected number of amphibious ships remaining below 31 ships throughout the 30-year period, with the figure decreasing to 26 ships in FY2035 and to 19 to 23 ships in FY2053. Marine Corps officials have stated that a force with fewer than 31 larger amphibious ships would increase operational risks in meeting demands from U.S. regional combatant commanders for forward-deployed amphibious ships and for responding to contingencies
The Navy’s FY2023 budget submission proposed truncating the LPD-17 Flight II program to three ships by making the third LPD-17 Flight II class ship—LPD-32—the final ship in the program. The Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget submission requested funding for the procurement of LPD-32 in FY2023, but programmed no additional LPD-17 Flight II class ships or LPD-type ships of a follow-on design through FY2027. Congress, in acting on the Navy’s proposed FY2023 budget, funded the procurement of LPD-32 in FY2023 and provided $250.0 million in advance procurement (AP) funding for the procurement in a future fiscal year of LPD-33, which would be a fourth LPD-17 Flight II class ship.
The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission, like its FY2023 budget submission, proposes truncating the LPD-17 Flight II program to three ships by making LPD-32 the final ship in the program. The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission does not request any funding for the procurement of LPD-33 and programs no additional LPD-17 Flight II class ships or LPD-type ships of a follow-on design through FY2028. The Marine Corps’ FY2024 unfunded priorities list (UPL) includes, as its top unfunded priority, $1,712.5 million in procurement funding for procuring LPD-33 in FY2024.
The most recently procured LHA-type ship is LHA-9. The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission estimates its procurement cost at $3,834.3 million (i.e., about $3.8 billion). The ship has received a total of $2,004.1 million in prior year advance procurement (AP) and procurement funding. The Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget requests the remaining $1,830.1 million needed to complete the ship’s procurement cost.
Section 129 of the FY2023 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) (H.R. 7776/P.L. 117-263 of December 23, 2022) permits the Navy to enter into a block buy contract for procuring up to five LPD-17 and LHA-type amphibious ships.
Download the document here.
President Joe Biden announced Thursday his intent to nominate Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. If confirmed by the Senate, Brown will succeed U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley as the president’s chief military advisor. As of Thursday, Brown’s nomination was not listed […]
President Joe Biden announced Thursday his intent to nominate Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. CQ Brown to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
If confirmed by the Senate, Brown will succeed U.S. Army Gen. Mark Milley as the president’s chief military advisor. As of Thursday, Brown’s nomination was not listed on the Senate’s website.
“Gen. Brown is a warrior, descended from a long line of warriors,” Biden said in a ceremony at the White House.
“He knows what it means to be in the thick of battle and how to keep your cool when things get hard.”
A 1984 Texas Tech graduate and a career fighter pilot, Brown has led the Air Force since 2020. Before taking charge of the service, he held command posts in U.S. Central Command, across the Western Pacific and served as the commander of Pacific Air Forces. He and Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger were the top two nominees for the position, several defense officials have told USNI News.
“During his 39 years of service to our nation, Gen. Brown has excelled as a fighter pilot, military strategist, and senior commander. He has served as both instructor and commandant at the elite Air Force Weapons School,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“Gen. Brown has developed the expertise, the vision, and the warfighting acumen to help the President and senior DoD leaders navigate today’s toughest national security challenges. In his tenure leading the U.S. Air Force, he has been a model of strategic clarity and a powerful force for progress.”
The nomination comes as Sen. Tommy Tuberville (R-Ala.) has put a hold on about 200 Department of Defense military and civilian nominations. This year several top military positions will turn over, including Marine Corps Commandant, Chief of Naval Operations, Vice Chief of Staff of the Army and Vice Chief of the Air Force.
The following is the May 24, 2023, Congressional Research Service report Navy Medium Landing Ship (LSM) (Previously Light Amphibious Warship [LAW]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress. From the report The Navy’s Medium Landing Ship (LSM) program, previously called the Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program, envisions procuring a class of 18 to 35 new amphibious […]
The following is the May 24, 2023, Congressional Research Service report Navy Medium Landing Ship (LSM) (Previously Light Amphibious Warship [LAW]) Program: Background and Issues for Congress.
The Navy’s Medium Landing Ship (LSM) program, previously called the Light Amphibious Warship (LAW) program, envisions procuring a class of 18 to 35 new amphibious ships to support the Marine Corps, particularly in implementing a new Marine Corps operational concept called Expeditionary Advanced Base Operations (EABO). The Navy wants to procure the first LSM in FY2025. The Navy’s proposed FY2024 budget requests $14.7 million in research and development funding for the program.
The EABO concept was developed with an eye toward potential conflict scenarios with China in the Western Pacific. Under the concept, the Marine Corps envisions, among other things, having reinforced-platoon-sized Marine Corps units maneuver around the theater, moving from island to island, to fire anti-ship cruise missiles (ASCMs) and perform other missions so as to contribute, alongside Navy and other U.S. military forces, to U.S. operations to counter and deny sea control to Chinese forces. The LSMs would be instrumental to these operations, with LSMs embarking, transporting, landing, and subsequently reembarking these small Marine Corps units.
LSMs would be much smaller and individually much less expensive to procure and operate than the Navy’s current amphibious ships. Under the Navy’s FY2024 budget submission, the first LSM would be procured in FY2025 at a cost of $187.9 million, the second LSM would be procured in FY2026 at a cost of $149.2 million, the third and fourth LSMs would be procured in FY2027 at a combined cost of $297.0 million (i.e., an average cost of about $148.5 million each), and the fifth and sixth LSMs in FY2028 at a combined cost of $296.2 million (i.e., an average of about $148.1 million each). The first LSM would cost more than subsequent ships in the program because the procurement cost of the first LSM would include much or all of the detailed design/nonrecurring engineering (DD/NRE) costs for the class. (It is a traditional Navy budgeting practice to include much of all of the DD/NRE costs for a class of ship in the procurement cost of the lead ship in the class.)
The LSM as outlined by the Navy could be built by any of several U.S. shipyards. The Navy’s baseline preference is to have a single shipyard build all the ships, but the Navy is open to having them built in multiple yards to the same design if doing so could permit the program to be implemented more quickly and/or less expensively. The Navy’s FY2024 budget submission states that the contract for the construction of the first LSM would be awarded in December 2024, and that the ship would be delivered in July 2028.
The LSM program poses a number of potential oversight matters for Congress. The issue for Congress is whether to approve, reject, or modify the Navy’s annual funding requests and envisioned acquisition strategy for the program. Congress’s decisions regarding the program could affect Navy and Marine Corps capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. shipbuilding industrial base.
Download the document here.
The Pentagon needs to make the most progress in logistics to counter China, Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger said Tuesday. “My focus is logistics, logistics, logistics,” he said at the Brooking Institution event. In the past, “we haven’t needed to protect our lines” of supply and communication. The Marine Corps’s need to be “more […]
The Pentagon needs to make the most progress in logistics to counter China, Marine Corps commandant Gen. David Berger said Tuesday.
“My focus is logistics, logistics, logistics,” he said at the Brooking Institution event. In the past, “we haven’t needed to protect our lines” of supply and communication. The Marine Corps’s need to be “more naval …. [lighter], more distributed” was a key lesson learned from war games that he participated in when Adm. Harry Harris served as commander of U.S. Pacific Command.
The games showed that “even our prepositioning posture was built for a different time,” Berger said. The war games highlighted the need for an alternative to a land-based force.
In looking to the future, Berger said logistics planning in this environment must grow not only to better control stocks and distribution, but also to keep tabs on operations and levels of equipment.
He added that U.S. Transportation Command also has put logistics at the top of its priority list to support the joint force.
At a Center for Strategic and International Studies forum a year ago, TRANSCOM commander Air Force Gen. Jacqueline VanOvost noted that an increased pace requires machine learning and artificial learning to better harness the streams of data coming in. Turning that data into knowledge “will give us time and space to give commanders options.”
Berger, whose tenure as commandant ends in July, said the approach to logistics is “it can’t be a chain; it has to be a web.”
For redundancy, “the industrial base matters,” he added.
On shipping, Berger used the example of the Landing Ship Medium to explain how the Pentagon’s acquisition process can delay a required platform. He described the process as one that sends a project like the LSM through so many steps, in which new “super expensive” weapons are added to the concept that raise the cost but eventually are rejected. In the end, he said ”you lose a year” in delivery.
“We need medium ships to move things around … we’ve got to move quickly,” he said.
The process is “not satisfactory” when speed is essential. The Marine Corps plans to buy between 18 to 35 of these vessels for intra-theater operations. The Fiscal Year 2024 budget is seeking about $15 million in program research and development funding for the program.
Berger added that allies like Japan, Australia and the Philippines recognize the changes required for their security in the Indo-Pacific.
He cited Japan’s push to accelerate its defense expansion, budget priorities and positioning of its forces to work more with Americans.
Berger pointed to the revised defense pact between Washington and Manila as a sign that the Philippines pushing to make changes, while Australia is seeking to build nuclear-powered submarines through the technology sharing agreement known as AUKUS.
“There is a different approach to posture,” the commandant said.
Berger praised his predecessor, Gen. Robert Neller, for concentrating on improving Marine readiness for a changed world of great power competition after 20 years of ground combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. As to whether the Marines are still “the nation’s 9-1-1 force” and also ready for high-end conflict, he said, “we can walk and chew gum at the same time.”
When asked about the origins of concepts in Force Design 2030, Berger said: “these are not my ideas,” but are required to meet changed conditions. He referred to long-range strike, new formations like the Marine Littoral Regiments and rebuilding integrated air defense for distributed operations as important tenets of force design.
From the beginning, the Marines planned to experiment by moving concepts straight to the fleet. That meant Marines “can move faster” to determine what works and what doesn’t.
The Marine Corps intentionally submitted flat-line budget requests “to prove we are frugal” in implementing dramatic change, he added. In those first years, “Congress gave us more” when lawmakers saw that the Marine Corps was drawing “from our own piggy bank.”
Berger said that changed for Fiscal Year 2024, when the Marine Corps requested $255.8 billion, about $11 billion over last year’s approved budget.
He added that he expects his successor to build on Force Design 2030 because much of what it envisions is already occurring.
“I probably did not talk enough about what was not going to change” in the Marine Corps during that first year. Much of the criticism centered on eliminating Marine armor units and divesting heavy weapons to make the force lighter for combat in the littorals.
The following is the May 16, 2023 report, Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense— Issues for Congress. From the report The emergence over the past decade of intensified U.S. competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia)—often referred to as great power competition (GPC) or strategic competition—has […]
The following is the May 16, 2023 report, Renewed Great Power Competition: Implications for Defense— Issues for Congress.
The emergence over the past decade of intensified U.S. competition with the People’s Republic of China (PRC or China) and the Russian Federation (Russia)—often referred to as great power competition (GPC) or strategic competition—has profoundly changed the conversation about U.S. defense issues from what it was during the post–Cold War era: Counterterrorist operations and U.S. military operations in the Middle East—which had been more at the center of discussions of U.S. defense issues following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001—are now a less-prominent element in the conversation, and the conversation now focuses more on the following elements, all of which relate largely to China and/or Russia:
The issue for Congress is how U.S. defense planning and budgeting should respond to GPC and whether to approve, reject, or modify the Biden Administration’s defense strategy and proposed funding levels, plans, and programs for addressing GPC. Congress’s decisions on these issues could have significant implications for U.S. defense capabilities and funding requirements and the U.S. defense industrial base.
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Philippine defense officials visited Palawan last week to inspect new sites that will host U.S. forces as part of the defense pact between the two countries. The Philippine delegation, led by Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Andres Centino, visited the province’s Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites, which are designated Philippine military bases, […]
Philippine defense officials visited Palawan last week to inspect new sites that will host U.S. forces as part of the defense pact between the two countries.
The Philippine delegation, led by Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff Andres Centino, visited the province’s Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement sites, which are designated Philippine military bases, but allow U.S. access. This access comes in the form of pre-positioning equipment, construction of facilities, and hosting American troops.
Centino visited three sites, including two located on Balabac. The island was announced as the location for one of the four additional EDCA sites last month and is the only EDCA site directly adjacent to the South China Sea.
While the island lacks major facilities, – it only hosts a small naval and littoral monitoring station – plans to upgrade Balabac to better accommodate Philippine and U.S. troops include the construction of the 3-kilometer-long Balabac Military Runway and a series of projects at Naval Station Narcisco Del Rosario.
LOOK: AFP chief of staff Gen. Andres Centino inspects the ongoing construction of the Balabac Military Runway in Palawan.
The project is funded under the TIKAS Program, a partnership between the DND and DPWH. | via @biancadava pic.twitter.com/zeaTzS5q4A
— ABS-CBN News (@ABSCBNNews) May 17, 2023
Construction started on the Balabac Military Runway prior to the island’s selection as an EDCA site, with state media reporting that construction on the air base began in 2019. The runway is also meant to be dual use between civilian and military aircraft, similar to EDCA projects at Mactan–Benito Ebuen and Antonio Bautista Air Bases.
Progress on the runway has been slow, with a lack of funding pushing back the completion date of the project. This issue seems to have been resolved with the Philippine Department of Public Works and Highways’ TIKAS program, which uses public funds to construct military infrastructure. As of this recent visit, the latest projection for the runway’s competition is by March 2024 with a cost of around $3.1 million.
This week, Centino also described the air base as “very strategic,” highlighting the need to detect foreign and friendly vessels transiting between the South China Sea to the west and the Sulu Sea to the east.
The Balabac Strait has been used by both Chinese and U.S. naval vessels, with Chinese ships sailing through the 50-kilometer-wide chokepoint in 2019. U.S. vessels have also used the strait to access the South China Sea, most notably with the transit by the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group in 2020. Projection of maritime domain awareness capabilities from the air base was heavily emphasized in a May 17 Philippine military press release, which stated that the runway will allow for aircraft to “detect intrusions in the strategic maritime routes.”
Other projects found on the DPWH’s awarded contracts page show further investments relating to the air base, including a command and control building. A Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief warehouse, barracks for personnel and other facilities are to be constructed as part of future EDCA projects.
The delegation also visited Naval Station Narcisco Del Rosario, which is located on the other side of the island from the airfield. The base can only accommodate smaller Philippine Navy patrol boats, but during Centino’s visit, a more ambitious plan called for the construction of a causeway and pier.
This infrastructure could accommodate larger vessels and amphibious transports, as evidenced by the diagram of the project depicting a frigate or destroyer-sized ship as a reference for the scale of the pier.
Other notable projects at the naval station include a beach ramp and staging area, which Centino said would allow for easier access to construction materials for future EDCA projects.
Like the runway, the naval station’s projects began before EDCA and are funded by the Philippine government. The projected completion date for the beaching ramp and pier are 2024 and 2026 respectively, with both totaling around $5.5 million.
Naval Station Narcisco Del Rosario’s upgrades will allow for a closer port for Philippine vessels to sortie out to the South China Sea compared to their current port at Puerto Princesa.
A similar project in the province is being undertaken by the Philippine Coast Guard for a Vessel Support Facility in Bataraza on the southern tip of Palawan. The PCG signed a Memorandum of Understanding with local authorities last summer for the land on which this future base will reside. In a September media release, the PCG stated that the South China Sea adjacent facility “will serve as the Forward Operating Base to support Coast Guard vessel operations in their area of responsibility.”
The delegation also visited completed EDCA projects at Antonio Bautista Air Base, one of the five original sites designated in 2014. Centino viewed an ammunition warehouse, aviation fuel storage, and a command and control center.
Centino told the press that Philippine forces were using the facilities and that American forces can access them if necessary. U.S. Army’s Multi-Domain Task Force conducted a HIMARS Rapid Infiltration drill at Antonio Bautista during Balikatan 2023.
An expanded EDCA, recent large-scale exercises, equipment transfers and defense talks have shown a shift by the Philippines under the Marcos administration toward the U.S. for increased security ties.
This year, Washington has committed to the transfer of six patrol boats, including two of the former Navy’s Cyclone-class Patrol Ships, and three transport aircraft. The Philippines has also shown interest in many American systems, such as F-16 fighter jets, HIMARS and Javelin, to modernize its own military.
The two countries established bilateral defense guidelines last month during Marcos’ official state visit to Washington. These guidelines aim to modernize the alliance, with a focus on countering grey-zone tactics and reiteration that an attack in the South China Sea will activate mutual defense commitments.
Joint Philippine-U.S. patrols in the South China Sea are set to begin later this year.
These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of May 22, 2023, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship. Ships Underway Total Battle […]
These are the approximate positions of the U.S. Navy’s deployed carrier strike groups and amphibious ready groups throughout the world as of May 22, 2023, based on Navy and public data. In cases where a CSG or ARG is conducting disaggregated operations, the chart reflects the location of the capital ship.
|Total Battle Force||Deployed||Underway|
(USS 239, USNS 58)
(USS 74, USNS 33)
(59 Deployed, 32 Local)
|2nd Fleet||3rd Fleet||4th Fleet||5th Fleet||6th Fleet||7th Fleet||Total|
USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) is in port in Yokosuka, Japan. The carrier was underway
The America Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) is in Sasebo, Japan. The America ARG consists of USS America (LHA-6), Amphibious Squadron 11 and USS Green Bay (LPD-20).
After a stop in Sasebo Japan coinciding with the G-7 summit, the Nimitz Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is underway in the Philippine Sea.
The Nimitz CSG deployed from the West Coast on Dec. 3 and chopped into U.S. 7th Fleet on Dec. 16.
USS Nimitz (CVN-68), homeported in Bremerton, Wash.
On April 22, “the oldest-serving U.S commissioned aircraft carrier in the world, successfully completed its 350,000th arrested aircraft landing while sailing in the South China Sea, a milestone nearly 48 years in the making,” reads a news release from the carrier.
Carrier Air Wing 17
Carrier Air Wing (CVW) 17, based at Naval Air Station Lemoore, Calif., is embarked aboard Nimitz and includes a total of nine squadrons and detachments:
USS Bunker Hill (CG-52), homeported at Naval Station San Diego, Calif.
Destroyer Squadron 9
Destroyer Squadron 9 is based in Everett, Wash., and is embarked on Nimitz.
USCGC’s Myrtle Hazard and USCGC Oliver Henry departed Guam to avoid Typhoon MAWAR, which continues to strengthen and head toward Guam. Storm conditions are expected to arrive near Guam sometime on Tuesday, May 23.
The Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) – with the 13th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked – is in the Middle Pacific and has crossed into the Third Fleet Area of responsibility.
USS Makin Island (LHD-8), the flagship of the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, left Naval Base San Diego on Nov. 9 for a deployment to the Indo-Pacific. The ARG also includes amphibious transport docks USS John P. Murtha (LPD-26) and USS Anchorage (LPD-23).
The MEU includes the aviation combat element with the “Flying Leathernecks” of Marine Fighter Attack Squadron (VMFA) 122 flying F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighters and the “Ugly Angels” of Marine Medium Tiltrotor Squadron 362 (Reinforced) flying MV-22B Ospreys; the Battalion Landing team of 2nd Battalion, 4th Marines; and Combat Logistics Battalion 13 making up the logistics combat element.
USNS Brunswick (T-EPF 6) remains in the Red Sea. USNI News reported that the Navy transported 300 evacuees on May 1 from the Port of Sudan to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, as part of a State Department-led evacuation of Sudan.
U.S. 5th Fleet, along with other allies in the Middle East, will increase the number of ships and aircraft patrolling the Strait of Hormuz in response to Iran’s recent seizures of merchant vessels, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command announced Friday.
The increased patrols are meant to deter any further Iranian seizures, according to a news release. The Navy did not indicate what ships may be involved. Earlier this month, Iranian forces seized the second oil tanker in less than a week, USNI News previously reported. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy flanked Panama-flagged oil tanker Niovi while it transited the Strait of Hormuz, video released by Naval Forces Central Command shows. The IRGCN forced the oil tanker to travel into Iranian waters, where it seized Niovi.
The Mideast-based commanders of the U.S., British and French navies transited the Strait of Hormuz on Friday aboard USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60), a sign of their unified approach to keep the crucial waterway open after Iran seized two oil tankers.
سپاه تصاویر رصد ناو آمریکایی را منتشر کرد
تصاویر منتشر شده توسط سپاه نشان میدهد ناو رزمی همیلتون DDG60 به همراه یک شناور پشتیبان به نام TAKE6 از تنگه هرمز عبور کرده استhttps://t.co/GDkMNLQelC pic.twitter.com/gEVL5V1Dkt
— خبرگزاری تسنیم (@Tasnimnews_Fa) May 21, 2023
USS Paul Hamilton (DDG-60) transited the Strait of Hormuz on Friday – southbound and returned Sunday – northbound while escorting the USNS Amilia Earhart (T-AKE-6).
“Iran’s unwarranted, irresponsible and unlawful seizure and harassment of merchant vessels must stop,” Vice Adm. Brad Cooper, the commander of U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, U.S. 5th Fleet and Combined Maritime Forces, said in the release. “U.S. 5th Fleet and our partners are committed to protecting navigational rights in these critical waters.”
Six U.S. Coast Guard Sentinel Class Fast Response Cutters (FRCs) are forward-deployed to the region under Patrol Forces Southwest Asia (PATFORSWA). PATFORSWA deploys Coast Guard personnel and ships alongside U.S. and regional naval forces throughout the Middle East. Initially deployed in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, PATFORSWA is now a permanent presence based out of the Kingdom of Bahrain, providing capable littoral assets for maritime interdiction, theater security cooperation, and maritime domain awareness operations.
Coast Guard Cutter Eagle moored in Oslo, Norway on Friday as part of its summer training cruise for cadets from the United States Coast Guard Academy.
The Gerald R. Ford Carrier Strike Group (CSG) is now in the North Sea. The CSG left Naval Station Norfolk on May 2nd on the first global deployment for first-in-class aircraft carrier USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78).
USS Gerald R. Ford (CVN-78), homeported at Norfolk, Va.
Carrier Air Wing 8
Carrier Air Wing 8 (CVW 8), stationed at Naval Air Station Oceana, Va., is embarked on Ford for the deployment and includes a total of nine squadrons.
Destroyer Squadron 2
Destroyer Squadron 2 is based in Norfolk, Va., and is embarked on Ford.
The Bataan Amphibious Ready Group (ARG) with the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked is underway off the coast of North Carolina. Commanded by Amphibious Squadron (PHIBRON) 8, the ARG is comprised of the amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD-5), San Antonio-class amphibious transport dock USS Mesa Verde (LPD-19), and Harpers Ferry-class dock landing ship USS Carter Hall (LSD-50). It is anticipated the ARG will begin its deployment to the 6th Fleet and, perhaps 5th Fleet, this week.
USS George Washington (CVN-73) is underway off the coast of Virginia after spending almost six years in a mid-life repair and refueling availability.
In addition to these major formations, not shown are others serving in submarines, individual surface ships, aircraft squadrons, SEALs, Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces, Seabees, EOD Mobile Units and more serving throughout the globe.