Anti-terrorism planning shapes experiments: Marine Corps Warfighting Lab sharpens focus on covert urban reconnaissance.
In anticipation of the possible expansion of the U.S. war against al-Qaeda or other suspected terrorist groups, the Marine Corps has launched several projects aimed at preparing for combat in areas such as the Philippines or Somalia.
To win urban battles in places like Mogadishu, Marines are crafting tactics that would allow them to conduct covert reconnaissance missions. This effort, called Project Metropolis, has been underway for more than six months. The goal is for Marines to become proficient at "urban reconnaissance," said Brig. Gen. William D. Catto William D. Catto is a United States Marine Corps major general who is currently the Chief of Staff of the United States European Command. He assumed the post in July 2006, becoming the first U.S. Marine to hold the role. , commander of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory.
The first phase of Project Metropolis focused on basic urban skills training. Next came urban reconnaissance.
This project is not about high-tech gear or weaponry, Catto explained in a recent interview. It's about how a Marine could sneak into downtown Mogadishu and blend in Verb 1. blend in - blend or harmonize; "This flavor will blend with those in your dish"; "This sofa won't go with the chairs"
fit, go - be the right size or shape; fit correctly or as desired; "This piece won't fit into the puzzle" with the local population, while collecting intelligence, undetected. As the program evolves, Catto said, "We are trying to figure out tactics, techniques and procedures."
To kick off Project Metropolis, the Corps conducted an experiment in Little Rock, Ark., last month. There are drills planned for April, in Chicago and November, in Boise, Idaho “Boise” redirects here. For other uses, see Boise (disambiguation).
Boise is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Idaho. It is the county seat of Ada County and the principal city of the Boise metropolitan area. .
The February experiment in Little Rock included 300 personnel from the Corps' 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade A Marine air-ground task force that is constructed around a reinforced infantry regiment, a composite Marine aircraft group, and a brigade service support group. The Marine expeditionary brigade (MEB), commanded by a general officer, is task-organized to meet the requirements of a (Anti-Terrorism), a ream from the 4th Reconnaissance Battalion and Marines from 3rd Battalion, 23rd Marines. This event was designed more as a domestic-security exercise than as a war-fighting drill for operations overseas.
Marine Corps spokeswoman Jenny Holbert said that the experiment in Little Rock aimed to "examine tactics, techniques, procedures and technologies in urban security operations and urban ground reconnaissance." A tabletop war-game involved leaders from North Little Rock and the 4th MEB MEB Marine Expeditionary Brigade
MEB Medical Evaluation Board (also abbreviated as MEBD)
MEB Milli Egitim Bakanligi
MEB Muscle-Eye-Brain Disease
MEB Micro Enterprise Bank (Kosovo) (AT). Marines conducted mock vehicle searches, security patrols, casualty evacuation The movement of casualties. It includes movement bothto and between medical treatment facilities. Any vehicle may beused to evacuate casualties. Also called CASEVAC. See also casualty; evacuation; medical treatment facility. , convoy re-supply and building searches at pre-selected sites.
The Special Operations Command A subordinate unified or other joint command established by a joint force commander to plan, coordinate, conduct, and support joint special operations within the joint force commander's assigned operational area. Also called SOC. See also special operations. is considering participating in Project Metropolis, even though it already is pursuing a separate program in urban reconnaissance, Catto said. "They are talking about teaming with us."
To be sure, urban training is not new at the Marine Corps, especially since the mid-1990s, under then-Commandant Charles Krulak, who advocated the need to train Marines for urban combat. But even though the Corps has an extensive training program for MOUT MOUT military operations on urban terrain (US DoD)
MOUT Managed Object Under Test (military operations This is a list of missions, operations, and projects. Missions in support of other missions are not listed independently. World War I
''See also List of military engagements of World War I
The ability to carry out reconnaissance missions in the city before military operations begin is the only way to avoid being surprised by the enemy or being caught unprepared, he said. "What happens now is that, when you go into cities with military organizations, unless you have reconnaissance, you are either going to get ambushed, or you will end up in an engagement that you didn't anticipate."
With Project Metropolis, Catto said, "We are going to figure out how we can assist our reconnaissance guys to be more stealthy stealth·y
adj. stealth·i·er, stealth·i·est
Marked by or acting with quiet, caution, and secrecy intended to avoid notice. See Synonyms at secret. and more effective."
Other efforts at the Warfighting Lab, meanwhile, rake a broader look at the war on terrorism Terrorist acts and the threat of Terrorism have occupied the various law enforcement agencies in the U.S. government for many years. The Anti-Terrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996, as amended by the usa patriot act .
Shortly after September 11, the lab's war-gaming division summoned retired and active-duty officers to participate in "red-reaming seminars," said Frank E. Jordan III, the lab's director of war-gaming. "We started two programs as a result of 9/11," he said in an interview.
One project, called Fast Train, is a series of tabletop seminars involving mostly retired officers, with a smaller number of active-duty Marines. One seminar last December, said Jordan, looked at specific operational issues from the war in Afghanistan. As a result of one war-game, the Corps decided to make specific changes in cold weather training. Last month, the lab was scheduled to conduct a war-game on anti-terrorism operations in the Philippines.
Another effort, called Project O'Bannon, takes a long-term look at a global war on terrorism, Jordan said. The program was named after Marine Lt. Presley Neville O'Bannon, who became famous for his bravery fighting the Barbary pirates in North Africa in 1805.
Project O'Bannon will last about a year, said Jordan. The goal is to analyze potential approaches to an extended war on terrorism in more detail than has been done so far.
Under the so-called Small Wars Program, the lab explored the "deteriorating situation in Indonesia, said Jordan.
The September 11 events largely have driven much of the war-gaming work at the lab, he stressed. In Project National Capital Region, for example, "We apply lessons learned in interagency [coordination] from the attack on the Pentagon."
The results and lessons learned from Project Metropolis and other war-games will be made available to Marine commanders worldwide in printed booklets and CD-ROMS known as X files. According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. Catto, the X-files are nor Marine Corps doctrine, but rather "Warfighting Lab suggestions" that can be evaluated as possible additions to current doctrine.
The Warfighting Lab, additionally, is spearheading work on so-called Title 10 war-games focused specifically on Marine Corps concepts and technologies. In recent years, the Years, The
the seven decades of Eleanor Pargiter’s life. [Br. Lit.: Benét, 1109]
See : Time Corps has participated in other services' Title 10 war-games, but now would like to sponsor its own, Catto said.
Tide 10 war-games are strategic-level drills designed to showcase a service's vision of its future role in U.S. military operations and its capabilities.
The name Title 10 refers to the federal legislation that stipulates that each service individually is responsible for organizing, equipping and training its forces.
The Army, Navy and Air Force each rakes advantage of the Title 10 war-games to tell the Pentagon leadership "why particular investments are worthwhile," said Catto. "They also give the parent service an opportunity, within a joint structure, to experiment with concepts and technology, with the other services.
The Marine Corps wants to establish its own Tide 10 war-game. The plan is to begin a series of games in late 2002. No name has yet been selected, Catto said.
"Operationally, in everything we do, we have the Navy with us," he explained. However, "we want to increase the understanding about how the Army and Air Force do things that are either supporting or different from what we do."
Jordan noted that the Title 10 games "can have serious implications in terms of policies and resources." They are "very much an inside the Beltway "Inside the Beltway" is a phrase used to characterize parts of the real or imagined American political system. It refers to the Capital Beltway (Interstate 495), a beltway that encircles Washington, D.C. thing."
The Corps used to sponsor a Title 10 war-game in the 1980s, when Gen. Al Gray was the commandant. He called them the "Commandant's Strategic War-Games." That program was phased our in the mid 1990s.
Senior Marine leaders realized the importance of these games throughout the Defense Department, Jordan said. "There is a sense that, in order for the Marine Corps to be able to examine its own issues, to work its own vision of its future, it needs its own platforms to do that, instead of doing it through somebody else. We would make sure our vision gets properly examined."
RELATED ARTICLE: Close Air Support System Helps Reduce Fratricide frat·ri·cide
1. The killing of one's brother or sister.
2. One who has killed one's brother or sister.
[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin
With a combination of new software, rugged palmtop palmtop or hand-held personal computer, lightweight, small, battery-powered, general-purpose programmable computer. It typically has a miniaturized full-function, typewriterlike keyboard for input and a small, full color, liquid-crystal display computers and handheld radios, Marine engineers and aviators Well-known aviators
People largely known for their contributions to the history of aviation
While all of these people were pilots (and some still are), many are also noted for contributions in areas such as aircraft design and manufacturing, navigation or have developed a close-air support system that could help lower the risk of friendly fire.
The system, called ACASS ACASS Architect-Engineer Contract Administration Support System
ACASS Advanced Close Air Support System
ACASS Alberta Congenital Anomalies Surveillance System
ACASS Architect-Engineer Contract Appraisal Support System (Army contracting) (advanced dose-air support), automates the process by which a forward air-controller on the ground transmits the location of a target to a pilot in the cockpit thus minimizing the chances of human error.
The program is in development at the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab, in Quantico, Va.
ACASS currently only works with the AV-8B Harrier jump-jet, but it could be installed on most Navy strike aircraft in the future, said Marine Maj. Brian McKinney, who runs the program at the lab.
The forward air-controller (FAG) uses a rugged handheld computer A computing device that can be easily held in one hand while the other hand is used to operate it. The Palm devices are a popular example. See Palm, smartphone and palmtop. with a built-in GPS receiver, which turns the PC into a moving map. He illuminates the target with a laser rangefinder A device which uses laser energy for determining the distance from the device to a place or object. and the location of the target automatically appears on the PC screens digital map. He communicates with the cockpit using a 2.5-pound multi-band handheld radio. The $5,000 device, called Multiband Inter/Intra Team radio, replaces 44 pounds and $45,000 worth of older radios.
"When you lase lase - /layz/ To print a given document via a laser printer. "OK, let's lase that sucker and see if all those graphics-macro calls did the right things." a target a box pops up on the map, with a 10-digit military grid Two sets of parallel lines intersecting at right angles and forming squares; the grid is superimposed on maps, charts, and other similar representations of the surface of the Earth in an accurate and consistent manner to permit identification of ground locations with respect to other ," he explained. The grid is computed based on the target's latitude, longitude and elevation. The FAC FAC - Functional Array Calculator. An APL-like language, but purely functional and lazy. It allows infinite arrays.
["FAC: A Functional APL Language", H.-C. Tu and A.J. Perlis, IEEE Trans Soft Eng 3(1):36-45 (Jan 1986)]. then lets the computer compile the so-called nine-line brief. The nine-line brief includes the nine pieces of standard information that a forward air controller needs to send to the pilot who will strike the target. It's used by all U.S. military services and NATO NATO: see North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
in full North Atlantic Treaty Organization
International military alliance created to defend western Europe against a possible Soviet invasion. . The nine-line brief also tells the pilot the position of friendly forces in the area.
The FAC then can transmit the nine-line brief to the aircraft, and the information appears on the pilot's cockpit display.
The biggest advantage of ACASS, McKinney said, is that it minimizes the likelihood of human error.
The process by which the geo-coordinates of a target are communicated in dose-air support operations has not changed much since World War II. Today, the FAC uses a map to find a target he copies down the grid coordinates and radios the pilot to "stand by for a nine-line." The pilot meanwhile, has to grab his pen and write down the 10-digit grid on his kneeboard knee·board
1. Sports A short surfboard ridden in a kneeling position.
2. A clipboard used especially by pilots during flights for holding maps and checklists.
intr.v. -- at the same time he is flying the airplane and watching out for enemy fire. After he's copied down the information, the pilot has to manually punch in the grid coordinates into his mission computer. "See how that creates possibilities for errors?" McKinney asked.
With ACASS, the information goes straight to the pilot's display. He only has to push one of two buttons: to accept or deny the target coordinates. If he accepts them, the information is dumped into his mission computer, which feeds data to the bomb's guidance system. On his heads-up display, he sees an icon representing the target "He never has to fat-finger anything" said McKinney. "It eliminates the errors of transcribing."
The Marine Corps has been testing ACASS since August 2000. Eventually, said McKinney, it will be combined with the current ground-to-air technology, called the target location, designation handoff system (TLDHS TLDHS Target Location, Designation and Hand-Off System
TLDHS Target Location Designation Handoff System
TLDHS Target Laser Designation Handoff System ).
The weak link in the ACASS today is the laser rangefinder, he noted. "It's not as accurate as it needs to be." Experienced FACs are able to compensate for the rangefinder's inaccuracy in·ac·cu·ra·cy
n. pl. in·ac·cu·ra·cies
1. The quality or condition of being inaccurate.
2. An instance of being inaccurate; an error. by relying on their own map-reading skills and expertise to verify a target location.
Even though the system only works with the Harriet; McKinney expects that it will be installed on all Navy F/A-18s, Joint Strike Fighters and on the upgraded Cobra gunships. To be ACASS-compatible, an aircraft must have a digital communications system.
The Warfighting Lab loaned five ACASS systems to the Spanish and Italian air forces, which fly Harriers. The lab has received inquiries from the other U.S. military services regarding ACASS, said McKinney, but he added that it's still too early in the program to know whether it would have utility for the U.S. Air Force or Air National Guard.