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Thread: The SC-MAGTF

  1. #1
    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default The SC-MAGTF

    New Marine Corps operating concept: the Security Cooperation Marine Air Ground Task Force and Naval GLobal Fleet Stations the new pillar capability added to outfit the Marine Corps for the "long war".

    I know it was breifly brought up in another thread a few weeks ago but I couldn't find it again. However I do not believe their has been a discussion.

    A conventionally based and focused Marine Inf Bn Reinforced with a logisitics element and aviation element with additional capbilities of CA, Intel, MP, LE, Medical, and liaisons from/with DOS, Agriculture, Commerce. Operating dispersed across a wide AO interacting with predeployed Advisors in order to Build Host Nation Capacity and foster Civ-Mil and Mil-Mil relations. With the ability to "reaggregate" for disater relief, NEO, or Full Spectrum combat operations in conjunction with Naval predeployed Amphib and Combatant forces.

    Sounds great to me. What does the panel think?

    http://smallwarsjournal.com/blog/200...n-the-marin-1/

    http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/docu...themarines.pdf
    Last edited by TROUFION; 04-03-2008 at 10:22 PM. Reason: added links

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    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Default Inkspots

    This idea would work if the trouble spots were small, like Grenada, but what if it is Sierra Leone? Seems like an ink spot strategy. How about using the concept as a civil and military training team, like the once lauded BMATT, er in Zimbabwe?

    Sounds nice, even better inside the Beltway and in reality a poor choice.

    From my armchair.

    davidbfpo

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    Council Member CR6's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by TROUFION View Post
    liaisons from/with DOS, Agriculture, Commerce
    Where does the funding for the interagency folks come from, and are they with the SC-MAGTF for the entire train-up and deployment?

    Does it operate in addition to, in lieu of or as part of a MEU-SOC?

    What's the rotation schedule? Does the concept tie up a regiment's worth of Bns with one training-up, one on float, and one standing down?

    Is the idea to have a certain number of these organizations, each with if different geographical/cultural/language orientation? If so, how many SC-MAGTF's are required?

    The idea is interesting to mull over, but there's a lot of questions to be addressed.
    Last edited by CR6; 04-03-2008 at 10:45 PM. Reason: grammar
    "Law cannot limit what physics makes possible." Humanitarian Apsects of Airpower (papers of Frederick L. Anderson, Hoover Institution, Stanford University)

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    Council Member TROUFION's Avatar
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    Default CR6 & Davidbfpro

    Gents I can only ask that you read through the Attached Pamphlet --The Long War, Send in the Marines. It can answer your questions far better than I could.

    http://www.smallwarsjournal.com/docu...themarines.pdf

    But to summarize:

    27 Inf Bn's total. 18 conducting full spectrum training. 9 foward deployed--3 UDP/3 MEU/ 3 SC MAGTF. Giving the Corps a 1:2 deployed to dwell (recovery & refit) rotation.

    The SC -MAGTF is task organized around an Inf Bn. Prepared for Full spectrum operations. Optimized for Security Cooperation. Deploys to a Forward Operating Site (like Rota Spain) and sends out detachments throughout a designated AOR. Available for re-aggregation and redeployment to meet contingencies. This is and remains a General Purpose Force.

    The SC-MAGTF expands the Corps capabilites into the lower end of the expeditionary force spectrum to increase and sustain forward presence, while retaining the ability to reorient for more traditional missions. It is NOT a replacement for the MEU. It is a seperate entity but capable of working with and or in support of the MEU, or to be reassigned to a MEB or MEF for larger operations. The SC-MAGTF will be tied into the Naval GFS to facilitate operations with amphibs, HSV's and MSC shipping to provide forward presence via seabasing. It is considered Distributed Operations.

    Distributed operations meaning-general purpose forces, operating with deliberate dispersion, where necessary and tactically prudent , with de-centralized decsion-making consistent with commander's intent to achieve specific advantages over an enemy. A technique applied to an appropriate situation wherein units are seperated beyond the limits of mutual support. When facing irregular forces or forces operating in complex terrain, distributed operations allow the commander to expand his area of influence. During Security cooperation the decentralized action will permit wider, more diverse application of power and influence. This same capability can be leveraged to enable rapid re-aggregation or reinforcement where military power projection must be quickly applied.

  5. #5
    Council Member Rob Thornton's Avatar
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    Default

    I think you have to consider it as a capability a Service provider brings to the table. Its not a panacea, but it is a capability.

    I think it fits the Marines because like the MAGTF its modeled on, its scalable, and it plays to their strong suit. If the other services come up with their own answers, be they a BCT that has a regional focus and gets told that for 6 months they will work with country X to improve Y capabilities in their security forces, or an USAF "Out-Back" AF component that improves a HN's air forces, or a USN or USCG element working to help a HN improve their ability to combat piracy, they all bring capabilities to the GCC that he can use to meet policy objectives.

    There is no one element that is going to do all of this - and as we've seen in certain conditions we have to address additional needed capabilities and/or capacity with Ad-Hoc solutions that might look different from whatever becomes normal, what is important is that we understand the capabilities the services put forward and employ them in a Joint and/or Inter-Agency context that is consistent withe the conditions and the ends we are trying to achieve.

    I'd say good on the Marine Corps Leadership for recognizing the need, for realizing that their Marines are capable of doing this mission when given the resources, and doing it in a manner that addresses operational and strategic risk.

    Best, Rob

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    Quote Originally Posted by davidbfpo View Post
    This idea would work if the trouble spots were small, like Grenada, but what if it is Sierra Leone? Seems like an ink spot strategy. How about using the concept as a civil and military training team, like the once lauded BMATT, er in Zimbabwe?

    Sounds nice, even better inside the Beltway and in reality a poor choice.

    From my armchair.

    davidbfpo


    This action is already being done and has already been done on a not so coherent basis at least since 2000.

    To get a good Idea of how it would look you have to look at Deployments like Unitas, WATC, & LF CARAT.

    In these deployments a composite MAGTF Detachment of Marines based around an Inf Comp. deploys to multiple countries conducting various operations from Bi & Multi-Lateral training to Civil Projects and Security Contingency Ops.

    I think many ppl are over complicating the deployment.

    Its a very simple deployment that Marines are very accustomed to. Just now part of a more cohesive & coherent Strategy.

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    Also I think its difficult for guys fr/ other services to understand Marine Deployment cycles.

    With or without the GWOT Marine units cycle thru work-up & deployment periods whether its the MEU(SOC), UDP, or UNITAS/WATC/LFCARAT. So there are always going to be a # of BNs tied up in the work-up cycle.

    Also there aren't particular units designated SC units. Just like the MEU(SOC) all BNs will cycle thru a SC MAGTF deployment cycle and move on to a different cycle upon completion of that one.

    Regimental HQs will be designated x-region to specialize in, but this will mostly come into play Pre-Deployment during the workup phase, and in facilitating whichever Inf. Comp-Dets are deployed in there regions fr/ the US almost like a Mini-Theater Command; however without tactical control.

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    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default I posted this on another site...

    I think what no one is realizing or even aware of is Marine Corps Training and Advisory Group (MCTAG), and what their role is. An exert;

    MCTAG's mission;
    "Provide conventional training and advisor support to Host Nation Security Forces(HNSF) or to GENERAL PURPOSE FORCES PARTNERING WITH HNSF (read: SC MAGTF)
    IOT...."

    Its not mentioned but I do know MCTAG's focus is FID/coin (note coin in lowercase as its not the center of gravity but in many cases goes hand in hand with FID). It was stressed to me that they ARE NOT SF. Now if someone can tell me the difference in the execution of advising or FID/coin from a MSOAG or ODA TEAM, please let me know, I think there is probably not much difference. When I worked w/ MiTT's in Iraq, the some of the best MiTT Team Leaders were SF Major's who elected to do MiTT's. One in particular who had spent 10 years w/ 5th and 7th Group, told me that being a MiTT Team Leader was the purest "SF" mission he has ever done. He had a good team, but since the were all regular Army (except his 18E) they were ready to quit by the 10th month in Baghdad. My point is that FID/coin isn't something limited to SF but certainly SF (Army ODA teams) have been doing this for the last 40 years, and they know a thing or two about it. I think FID/coin can be executed by other forces who aren't SF types BUT as I witnessed first hand in Iraq, not every Soldier/Marine is cut out for that sort of mission. What will be key for an organization such as MCTAG and SC MAGTF are the people entrusted w/ this mission. Quality over quantity and the training given to them. There is a good chapter in OP 19 (Ch 13) written by a couple of folks who outlined what FMTU selection should consist of. You could be an outstanding DA type but that doesn't mean you are cut out to be an adviser. MCTAG is suppossed to be the glue that ties SC MAGTF to these nations. MCTAG teams are on the ground when SC MAGTF shows up and still there when they leave. It is also outlined in the "Long War Concept" by Gen Conway.
    Also I think we have been doing the SC MAGTF for years as someone pointed out. Out here in III MEF, we send Marines all over the far east to do everything from training with HNSF to building roads, schools and hospitals. We also do immunizations and other medical/dental functions.






    Sorry to ramble on.

    SF
    Last edited by Boot; 04-07-2008 at 06:52 AM.

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    Council Member CaptCav_CoVan's Avatar
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    Default Mctag

    As a former Marine Officer who was involved with the first CAP at Phu Bai, and later served as an advisor (Co Van) with Tony Zinni and Joe Hoar to the Vietnamese Marines after going thru the SF-taught 6-week MATA course at JFKSWC. More recently, I worked with SCETC to develop a curriculum for training advisors, and served7 months in Iraq as an advisor to the advisors (se Jan 2008 Marine Corps Gazette article), and helped revise the curriculum for the Phoenix Academy to make it more Iraq-system oriemnted. Frankly, after talking with Boot, I am still confused about MCTAG's mission. We have SCETC, who trains advisors, MARSOC, who trains advisors, and now MCTAG, who will train advisors, plus we send Marinesto the SF school. John Nagl has proposed a 20,000-man Army Advisor Group, and I have suggested to General Mttis, General Conway and others that we should conisder a Corps-wide Marine Advisory Unit, about 5,000 men, with primary or secondary MOS designation and a career path for promotion. It would involve specializing in a langauage and a culture, similar to the SF Groups, and would involve management consulting, capacity devlopment, military government, and State Deprtment and NGO liasion in addition to military skills. Thoughts?

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default As another Co Van who happened to work

    with Paul Van Riper when he was one -- even though he was with the VNMC and I was with a neighboring Ngay Dzu Bn -- I'm inclined to disagree with the concept of a dedicated Advisory element in either service.

    Perhaps if I'd had the benefit of the MATA course I might feel differently; perhaps if I'd felt my results and those of the many other dedicated advisors I saw over the years there were worth the effort expended, I might feel differently.

    That's inconsequential stuff. My biggest fear is the Parkinson's Law effect. We develop a capability that we need here and now but may not need in the future. If that capability exists and is not needed, the pressure to put it to work becomes significant -- whether it's the best solution or not...

  11. #11
    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default Capt/Ken...

    I understand the confusion. I am a little confused myself.
    SCETC is only and enabler; They arrange and enable the training the Transition Teams headed to OIF/OEF.
    This will eventually go away as Iraq and Afghanistan draw down...whenever that is. SCETC is not an operational unit and belong to TECOM.
    Now here is where it gets muddled; MSOAG (old FMTU) trains and advises indigenous peoples. MCTAG trains conventional forces already existing, and advises them. The missions are pretty much the same; MCTAG's center of gravity is FID with a secondary focus on coin (since the two tend to go hand and hand). MSOAG belongs to MARSOC and SOCOM. MCTAG belongs to MARFORCOM and teams will chop to the COCOM for employment world wide.
    MCTAG is supposed to be an enduring organization for the long war. The unit is at the barely breathing stage.
    The same skill sets required by an MSOAG team are the same ones a MCTAG team will need to execute FID. Its not a new concept and I would submit the Marine Corps has done some sort of FID/COIN during its entire history. Most notably the Banana Wars which the Small Wars Manual was written in 1940 as a result of that experience.
    I hope this clears it up a bit, I look forward to your comments. I don't speak for MCTAG or the Director but simply know what is going on.

  12. #12
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Not sure I was confused; maybe that means I was

    and just didn't or don't realize it...

    In any event, I'm on board with MCTAG and MCSOAG -- as well as with the SC-MAGTF which I think is a great idea. As Bill Slim said, a good Infantry Battalion with the proper training can do most anything one could want...

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    Council Member CaptCav_CoVan's Avatar
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    Default

    Ken:
    I think insurgent warfare is here to stay. We already coverted arty batteries into MPs and infantry, and being trained as an 03 commanding a company is not the same skill set required fo advisors. Some of the better Army MiTT advisors I worked with in Iraq were Army reservist - not the hard-charging, kick-the-door-down infantry commanders we create as Marine officers. Thery had the pateince and understood the capacity development side of things as many of them were businessmen back home. If not a dedicated force, then expand training, and develop a capability in the Marine Corps similar to the Army FSO program so we can be prepared for Africa or South America and it does not take us three years to figue out what is going on and how we should fight it.
    Last edited by CaptCav_CoVan; 04-07-2008 at 11:09 PM.

  14. #14
    Council Member Boot's Avatar
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    Default Almost forgot

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    with Paul Van Riper when he was one -- even though he was with the VNMC and I was with a neighboring Ngay Dzu Bn -- I'm inclined to disagree with the concept of a dedicated Advisory element in either service.

    Perhaps if I'd had the benefit of the MATA course I might feel differently; perhaps if I'd felt my results and those of the many other dedicated advisors I saw over the years there were worth the effort expended, I might feel differently.

    That's inconsequential stuff. My biggest fear is the Parkinson's Law effect. We develop a capability that we need here and now but may not need in the future. If that capability exists and is not needed, the pressure to put it to work becomes significant -- whether it's the best solution or not...
    Yes I share your fear wrt to Parkinson's Law effect. It seems we tend to forget all the lessons learned as an institution from the war we just fought. Its clear we completely (as organizaitons) forgot the lessons Vietnam taught us. The money isn't in small dirty wars of peace...but in the big ticket defense systems (see Osprey, AAAV in the Marine Corps case, F-35 etc...).
    FID/COIN (I don't think anyone will disagree with me) are people intensive endeavors where there is plenty of gray area. We all like the stand up knock them down fight, because is a simple one to wage.
    I think the Army and Marine Corps needs to have this capability for the duration of the time our services exist. MCTAG is a step in this direction.
    One last thing; I think in the Marine Corps case, this has been overlooked.
    Many of the mid grade to senior Officers and SNCOS who won the battles in the Pacific during WW II, cut their teeth in those small dirty savage wars of peace between the World Wars. I am willing to bet that this probably holds true for the Army to some degree also.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default I agree for the most part...

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptCav_CoVan View Post
    Ken:
    I think insurgent warfare is here to stay...
    It will try to be, whether we let it or not is TBD. Regardless, I don't question the need to be capable of fighting it, just a matter of where one places ones emphasis.
    ...We already coverted arty batteries into MPs and infantry, and being trained as an 03 commanding a company is not the same skill set required fo advisors.
    Agree that we did that and that those so converted basically did a good job. I'd also suggest that was necessary because the force structure was still oriented to crossing the north German plain -- eleven years after the need to do that had probably disappeared for many years in the future. The Army is now changing that and hopefully, will get a balance about right.

    You're of course correct that advising a battalion and commanding a Co require different skills. However, I think most Captains, Army or Marine are good enough to cope with both skill sets -- all that's required is a good MATA like course. There are also some guys who'd make great advisors but are only marginal co cdrs -- and vice versa. We don't do will in fitting pegs into holes.

    We also need to develop some highly accelerated conversational language training modules with acceptance of the fact that a 75% solution is better than none.
    ...Some of the better Army MiTT advisors I worked with in Iraq were Army reservist - not the hard-charging, kick-the-door-down infantry commanders we create as Marine officers. Thery had the pateince and understood the capacity development side of things as many of them were businessmen back home...
    Totally agree -- my solution for the Army would be use to use the USAR for that mission; say an active BCT worth of dedicated advisory experts plus the school which should remain in being and then four of five times that in the USAR who train for only that mission.
    ...If not a dedicated force, then expand training, and develop a capability in the Marine Corps similar to the Army FSO program so we can be prepared for Africa or South America and it does not take us three years to figue out what is going on and how we should fight it.
    Again, I agree. It's always irked me that the FSO program spends a fair amount of change training people -- then the system tends to ignore their generally quite sound advice. Dumbb with two 'b's. The Corps and the Army need good FSOs and the senior leaders need to listen to them (that's probably more important than having more of them).

    The key thing to me is that we not make the mistake of post Viet Nam and try to totally blank out COIN and FID. We don't need to repeat that stupidity.

    We're in broad agreement, just quibbling over implementation.

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    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Heh. Truer words were never spake

    Quote Originally Posted by Boot View Post
    ...One last thing; I think in the Marine Corps case, this has been overlooked. Many of the mid grade to senior Officers and SNCOS who won the battles in the Pacific during WW II, cut their teeth in those small dirty savage wars of peace between the World Wars. I am willing to bet that this probably holds true for the Army to some degree also.
    or written...

    When I went in the Corps in 1949, a lot of those folks were still around and I have absolutely no doubt in my mind I learned more about combat from them in four years than I learned in the subsequent 40 or so...

    If you can do the basics really well, all the rest is quite easy.

    Good points all...

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boot View Post
    I understand the confusion. I am a little confused myself.
    SCETC is only and enabler; They arrange and enable the training the Transition Teams headed to OIF/OEF.
    This will eventually go away as Iraq and Afghanistan draw down...whenever that is. SCETC is not an operational unit and belong to TECOM.
    Now here is where it gets muddled; MSOAG (old FMTU) trains and advises indigenous peoples. MCTAG trains conventional forces already existing, and advises them. The missions are pretty much the same; MCTAG's center of gravity is FID with a secondary focus on coin (since the two tend to go hand and hand). MSOAG belongs to MARSOC and SOCOM. MCTAG belongs to MARFORCOM and teams will chop to the COCOM for employment world wide.
    MCTAG is supposed to be an enduring organization for the long war. The unit is at the barely breathing stage.
    The same skill sets required by an MSOAG team are the same ones a MCTAG team will need to execute FID. Its not a new concept and I would submit the Marine Corps has done some sort of FID/COIN during its entire history. Most notably the Banana Wars which the Small Wars Manual was written in 1940 as a result of that experience.
    I hope this clears it up a bit, I look forward to your comments. I don't speak for MCTAG or the Director but simply know what is going on.

    Your on the right track w/the MCTAG, but I read some blurring of the lines btwn the MCTAG & MSOAG/SF mission.

    Yes they will require similar mission sets but its important to partly see MCTAG, for the sake of clarification, as a Unit that free's up MSOAG & SF to focus more on the Spec Ops side of FID.

    Long has SF been tied down with teaching Basic Infantry/Light Infantry across the board to tens of thousands. They've recently gotten some help from MSOAG but they're still being tied up by the Basics instead of teaching more specialized skills to Partner Nations SOF.

    Its also important to understand that MCTAG's mission goes well beyond teaching. And this kind of answers what an earlier poster wrote about maybe creating a corps of 20,000 or so Advisors.

    Their main mission isn't so much to teach but to be a teaching/relations Facilitator. Maintaining a constant presence in these various countries networking and faciliting the needs and concerns expressed, shaping the building of our Partner Nations' capabilities.

    Their role is similar to a care provider or waiter, "Oh, so you want some Small Unit training, a sniper course, a road and a few schools built. We'll see what we can do, how about some Medical assistance on the side."

    They then foward it up the chain. It comes back down in a Package provided by the SC MAGTF, who'll link up with the MCTAG to facilitate the implementation.

    The actual training is done by the SC MAGTF, implemented & over seen by the MCTAG which negates the need for thousands of advisors.

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