Twentynine Palms, Calif. -- The Combat Center hosted Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory for Marine Air Ground Task Force Integrated Experiment 2016, July 22 through Aug. 5, as part of Rim of the Pacific Exercise 2016.
The experiment, held July 26 through Aug. 5, tested Company K, 3rd Battalion, 5th Marine Regiment, Company Landing Team’s ability to operate in an enemy controlled area with limited resources and capabilities while utilizing future tactics, techniques and procedures. The end goal was to explore the extent to which smaller units will require various assets to remain mission effective.
“Here at the [MCWL], we test and evaluate future concepts and technologies; ultimately what we are trying to do is determine how we can make the Marine Corps more efficient, more lethal, and more survivable,” said Maj. Jason Dempsey, MIX-16 lead project officer, MCWL.
Civilian role-players brought the exercise to life as they took to Ranges 200 and 215, two Military Operations in Urbanized Terrain facilities, July 25. The role-players simulated a realistic society; possessing its own currency and social structure. The opposition force, played by Company L, 3/5, integrated within the society and played the role of a hybrid asymmetric threat.
“This opposing force is a free-thinking enemy,” Dempsey said. “They have free reign of how they attack and when they attack. This is a free-play environment where the enemy can win. It is as realistic as we can make it inside Ranges 200 and 215.”
Typically, Marine Corps component commanders task-organize for operations by forming MAGTFs; air-ground, combined-arms formations with logistics support, under a single commander. The exercise evaluates the ability to form mission-specific MAGTFs, utilizing a building-block approach, drawing units and capabilities in numbers as required, creating a force that is uniquely tailored for a situation yet still consistent with combined-arms doctrine.
“We’re on our way, keeping the great capabilities of the MAGTF, and at the same time making it a little bit different,” said Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen. Robert B. Neller. “It’s changing right now in front of our eyes.”
These smaller, more distributable MAGTFs enable units to operate with a smaller footprint and engage forward in a greater variety of locations than would be possible with a traditional MAGTF.
“There are some capabilities that we have focused on for the past 15 years that I think need to be redirected to prepare for the next conflict,” Neller said. “The way I see it, you have two choices – do nothing, or try to get better.”