The Marine expeditionary brigade [MEB] is the “middle- weight” MAGTF. It is a crisis response force capable of forcible entry and enabling the introduction of follow-on forces.
MEB is capable of rapid deployment and employment deploying either by air, in combination with maritime pre-positioning ships, or by amphibious shipping.
As a result, the MEB can conduct the full range of combat operations and may serve as the lead echelon of the MEF.
Deployment of a MEB does not necessarily mean that all the forces of the MEF will follow. A MEB notionally consists of the following elements:
To include additional assets such as command and control, force reconnaissance company, signals intelligence capabilities from the radio battalion, and engineering capabilities from the naval construction regiments.
A GCE is composed of an infantry regiment reinforced with artillery, reconnaissance, engineer, light armored reconnaissance units, assault amphibian units, and other attachments as required.
An ACE is composed of a Marine aircraft group comprised of combat assault transport helicopters, utility and attack helicopters, vertical/short takeoff and landing fixed-wing attack aircraft, air refuelers/transport aircraft, and other detachments as required.
A LCE is task organised around a combat logistics regiment. This element has engineering, supply, transportation, landing support for beach, port, and airfield delivery & maintenance capabilities.
Each contingency operation brings with it unique Logistics challenges. Initial reaction forces in a contingency would probably draw on theater prepositioned stocks. Based on the requirements dictated by the supported combatant commander, follow-on forces would flow into the theater according to the time-phased force and deployment data.
Field Manual outlines the processes for forward movement of forces in response to crisis contingencies, including combat operations. It points out that while most of the troops will deploy by air, 90 percent of their equipment and vehicles will deploy by sea due to weight considerations.
While prepositioned stocks may be available to support initial operations, the sustainment of operations will require establishment of a sea bridge. The sea movement of equipment and supplies is entirely dependent on having access within the theater of operations to adequate port facilities to offload or transload the inbound materiel.
Forces and materiel move from home stations to air- and seaports of embarkation. From there they can move to intermediate staging bases, depots, or directly to air- and seaports of debarkation. At this stage personnel can join up with prepositioned materiel. From there they move to the fight.
Here we provide modeling and simulation overview of the flow of forces and materiel from homestation to an overseas contingency.
Airlift Control Team provides intra-theater airlift functional expertise from the theater organizations to plan, coordinate and integrate the full range of mobility airpower capabilities at the operational level for intra-theater airlift operations in the area of responsibility.
Airlift Plans is responsible for completing the airlift portion of the air tasking order by processing validated airlift requests received, merging them with forecast inter-theater airlift movements into the area of responsibility and maintains execution process and communications connectivity for tasking, coordinating and flight following with Combat Operations Division, subordinate air mobility units, and mission forces.
Before simulating sealift and operations from ship to shore, noted the capabilities of various assets to conduct operations are impacted and limited by sea state. While sea state is widely used to express the austerity of conditions, it is not of itself adequate to express the full impact of rough seas. Nor does it take into account surf, which will impact sea systems such as causeways.
The committee was briefed on a variety of sealift assets to address the movement, offloading, and transfer of materiel from the sea. The movement of a moderate-sized force into a semiaustere environment can be facilitated by the use of large, medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ships.
Internal ramps, a stern ramp, and removable side ramps facilitate the flow of vehicles within and the offloading of vehicles from the vessel to causeways and other receiving areas and also has two cranes, allowing it to load and unload cargo onto a dock or causeway or into smaller vessels alongside in the absence of adequate port infrastructure.
Another asset is the Joint High Speed Vessel JHSV, which will be operated by the Navy. In addition to providing intratheater transport, the JHSV will act as a connector between a sea base or mobile landing platform and the shore port, causeway, or beach.
In an A2/AD environment with no available port, the JHSV is designed to be self-sustaining and operate in austere and degraded environments. The JHSV can be quickly reconfigured to support a variety of missions. These missions can range from carrying supplies to transporting combat units and their equipment, including tanks and other vehicles.
The MLP is a new addition to the nation’s sealift capabilities functions to facilitate the transfer of materiel from sea vessels to the vessels that will carry it to shore. with the ability to partially submerge. This allows the operation of various landing craft, including the landing craft air cushion LCAC, from the deck.
There is a critical need to enhance the ability to deploy and sustain units and their heavy equipment to austere environments using a variety of vessels and platforms. This necessitates that leadership support expansion and rapid execution of the current and follow-on programs.
Large medium-speed, roll-on/roll-off ship; and the Joint High Speed Vessel; and mobile landing platform must work together into an operational system to enhance its flexibility in responding to contingency operations.
Waterborne cargo from ship to shore is carried out carry out by connector missions employs a variety of craft. In the absence of access to deepwater port facilities, material must move from oceangoing ships to inland points by moving over the shore, into estuaries, up rivers, or through underdeveloped ports. This is done using landing craft and causeway systems. For expeditionary forces, the traditional way of putting troops and material ashore also has been landing craft.
If the hull-borne landing craft were to be used as connectors to ships lying a considerable distance offshore over the horizon, their slowness would be a great detriment to any logistics effort. Also, the LCM craft have very limited capacity. Even the LCU craft lack sufficient capacity as the weight of equipment has grown over time.
Maneuver support vessel MSV is being worked to replace its aging hull-borne landing craft with shallower draft than the vessels they will replace, and all will be capable of beaching, either in assault operations or to deliver materiel to unimproved locations lacking port facilities.
Another important system for sea-to-shore movement is the Air Cushion Landing Craft LCAC. requires considerable maintenance, though they are undergoing a service life extension program, and they have limited capacity. Their maximum speed is very sensitive to sea state.
Ship-to-Shore Connector as a Replacement for LCAC to transport its next-generation equipment ashore. The ship-to-shore connector SSC is a new hovercraft program designed to replace the existing LCACs. The SSC will also be an air cushion landing craft with increased load capacity, improved performance with less maintenance. It is envisioned that the SSC will shuttle troops and materiel from ships 25 miles from shore. This distance will provide more opportunities for our forces to intercept incoming antiship missiles in response to A2/AD threats.
For sustained supply when adequate port facilities are lacking, the services have developed a series of deployable small barges and floats that can be assembled into effective floating causeways, together known as Joint logistics over-the-shore JLOTS.
The intention in using causeways is to allow deep-draft sea vessels to join to the seaward end of causeways in relatively deeper water. The causeways extend to the shore, through the surf zone, to the beach. All simulation has been about the capability of the systems in sea states at the seaward end of the causeways, where the difficult operation of transferring cargo takes place.
The existing causeway systems will likely perform well in sheltered harbors, river estuaries, bays, and even in the lee of islands. Problems occur when the beach and roadstead are open to the sea; at temperate latitudes, where sea states are higher; and on shallow, shoaling beaches where even small swells can build to sizable surf conditions, often in advance of and after tropical storms. These factors may limit the use of causeways at critical times. A sudden increase in sea state could interrupt unloading operations or cause the loss of causeway components.
The elevated causeway system-modular ELCAS-M has been developed as essentially a mobile pier system that can be assembled within days of arriving at the site. ELCAS-M has full-size cranes that can be used to offload materiel from vessels. Notably, it can be used where there is no functional port.
Lightweight modular causeway system LCMS is supported by inflatable flotation tubes can support 70 ton vehicles carried on a JHSV and can even be carried by CH-47 Chinook helicopters. Nevertheless, the system still suffers from sea state limitations.
The ability of floating causeways, ship ramp interfaces, and at-sea cargo transfer to work in adverse sea states remains a challenge. Also, more work is necessary to assess the performance of floating causeway units
The use of standardised shipping containers is ubiquitous in international logistics. They provide efficient means to move, secure, and hold cargo. Logistics efforts have faced challenges with the costs, use, storage, and retrograde of shipping containers.
(Actual mix depends upon mission) (6) AV-8B Harrier attack planes
(4) AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopter
(12) CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters or (12) V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor
(9) CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters
(4) UH-1N Huey helicopters
Actual mix depends on mission/43X-CH-46 equivalent
(2) LCU Landing Craft, Utility or
(3) LCAC Landing Craft, Air Cushion or
(6) LCM-8 Landing Craft, Mechanized or
(40) AAV Amphibious Assault Vehicle [normal] or
(61) AAV Amphibious Assault Vehicle [stowed]
(2) - MK29 launchers for NATO Sea Sparrow
(3) - MK15 20mm Phalanx CIWS mounts
(8) - MK33 .50 cal. machine guns (1) - MK-36 Chaff System AN/SLQ-49 Chaff Bouys
AN/SLQ-25 NIXIE Towed Torpedo Countermeasures
AN/SLQ-32(V)3 Electronic Warfare (EW) system
Command and Control
Command Information Center (CIC)
Integrated Tactical Amphibious Warfare Data System
Landing Force Operations Center (LFOC) Ship’s Signals Exploitation Space
Joint Intelligence Center (JIC)
Supporting Arms Coordination Center (SACC) Helicopter Direction Center (HDC)
Helicopter Coordination Center
Tactical Air Control Center (TACC)
1 AN/SPS-48 radar
1 AN/SPS-49(V)7 radar
1 AN/SPS-64 radar
1 AN/SPS-67 radar
AN/SYS-2 Detection/Tracking System
1 MK-23 Target Acquisition System (TAS) MK-91 Fire control System