WASHINGTON: House lawmakers want the Pentagon to provide a fuller accounting of the purpose and roles the Marine Corps’ newest assets and units will play in achieving the service’s keystone concept of operations, Expeditionary Advanced Basing Operations, or EABO.
The legislative language was passed via an amendment on Wednesday proposed by Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., during the House Armed Services Committee’s mark-up of the annual defense policy bill. That bill passed the committee by a vote of 42-17 and now awaits a vote by the full House.
The bill directs the defense secretary to provide a report within 180 days of the law’s enactment on subjects including the Marine Corps’ Light Amphibious Warship program, the Marine Littoral Regiments and the feasibility of using other services’ vessels prior to the LAWs coming online. Lawmakers did not specifically discuss the amendment during the mark up, due to a unanimous vote not to spend time discussing amendments passed by voice vote within en bloc packages. (Despite this time saving move, the full markup did not end until after 2:30 AM Thursday morning.)
The report must include “the doctrine, organization, training, materiel, leadership and education, personnel, and facilities required to operate and maintain a force of 24 to 35 Light Amphibious Warships, as well as the feasibility of accelerating the current Light Amphibious Warship procurement plan and delivery schedule,” per Gallagher’s language.
The new medium-sized vessel, which the service links directly to the EABO concept of operations in its budget justification documents, is envisioned as filling a capability gap between the Marine Corps’ highly valued large deck L-class ships and small personnel carriers such as the Ship-to-Shore Connector.
The House panel also wants the service to break down the feasibility of using a variety of other vessels ranging from Army logistics support craft, commercial options, wing-in-ground effect vehicles as well as Coast Guard assets prior to the LAWs being developed, tested and delivered.
Lastly, lawmakers are seeking information about how the service’s Marine Littoral Regiments can be integrated within special operations activities, information warfare operations and other command and control activities.
The secretary’s report must include “the projected cost, and any additional resources required, to accelerate the operational deployment of Marine Littoral Regiments and deliver the capabilities described in paragraphs (1) through (5) by not later than three years after the date of the enactment of this Act,” according to the bill text.
The Marine Littoral Regiment is a new unit originally introduced as part of Commandant Gen. David Berger’s efforts to redesign the amphibious force. In essence, its goal is to be a low-signature, maneuverable unit capable of the dispersed operations outlined in EABO and the Navy’s distributed maritime operations concept.
House Lawmakers Want Answers On How Marine Corps Will Enable EABO – Breaking Defense Breaking Defense is written by Justin Katz for breakingdefense.com