View Full Version : Distributed Operations

11-28-2006, 12:09 PM
From the Westhawk blog - ‘Distributed Operations’ Mean Fewer but Better Troops (http://westhawk.blogspot.com/2006/11/distributed-operations-mean-fewer-but.html).

Concerned observers such as Senator John McCain (http://mccain.senate.gov/press_office/view_article.cfm?id=767), the editors of The Weekly Standard, (http://weeklystandard.com/Content/Public/Articles/000/000/012/734nyaea.asp) and research fellows at the American Enterprise Institute (http://www.aei.org/publications/filter.foreign,pubID.25126/pub_detail.asp) continue to call for the U.S. Defense Department to greatly expand the U.S. Army and Marine Corps’s manpower. These observers join a long list of other analysts arguing for the recruiting of many more U.S. ground combat foot soldiers.

While these pleas echo on, the U.S. Marine Corps is implementing a new approach to ground combat, called “distributed operations,” that marches off in a direction completely opposite of where those mentioned above would take U.S. ground combat power. Distributed operations (DO) will allow smaller but even more elite units to perform tasks previously accomplished by much larger or specialized formations. However, achieving the quantum leap in combat capability promised by distributed operations will require the Marine Corps to be even more selective about whom it accepts into its ranks. Rather than reducing standards in order to find 250,000 more recruits, as Messrs. Kristol and Kagan of The Weekly Standard would like, with distributed operations, the Marine Corps needs its infantrymen to be smarter, wiser, faster learners, more adaptive, and fitter than its current high standards call for. If the Marine Corps can make distributed operations a standard method of its infantry units, calls for adding more manpower will be both irrelevant and dangerous.

What are “distributed operations”? This paper (http://www.mcwl.usmc.mil/A%20Concept%20for%20Distributed%20Operations%20-%20Final%20CMC%20signed%20co.pdf), signed by the Commandant of the Marine Corps in April 2005, attempted to describe the concept...