22 December 2010

Bold Alligator 2011


Last week, our Navy and Marine Corps team conducted Bold Alligator 2011 - our first large scale amphibious training exercise on the east coast in almost ten years. Bold Alligator was led by Commander, Expeditionary Strike Group Two (ESG 2) and Commanding General, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade (2d MEB) with the purpose of strengthening our Amphibious core competencies.
After 10 years of involvement in primarily land-based conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, Bold Alligator was an extraordinary opportunity to return to our expeditionary roots and evaluate our ability to execute amphibious operations – to project and sustain combat power ashore – a capability which only the Navy and Marine Corps team provides our nation.

Although Bold Alligator was a synthetic event, the exercise was not a small undertaking. Bold Alligator took two years of planning and involved 8 ships, 14 reporting units from ESG 2 and 2d MEB, and 7 training centers. Bold Alligator provided a realistic training opportunity to assess and improve our amphibious operations using a scenario which included forcible entry operations against conventional and asymmetric threats and a large scale (20K) non-combatant evacuation operation in the midst of violent sectarian conflict and a high level of civic and social disorder.

Over the course of the exercise, we identified many areas for improvement including amphibious requirements, Joint Doctrine, Command and Control, Sea-basing, and training.

As referenced in my initial Commander’s Guidance, Rear Admiral Austin M. Knight, President of the Naval War College wrote, “It is not too much to say that every day of life and work in the Navy, whether on shipboard or on shore, is filled with preparation for something that is to follow; it may be target practice the next day or the next week, or some complicated scheme of maneuvers, in which the divisions of the fleet are pitted against each other in a test of strategy or tactics between their commanders. Whatever it is, the preparation for it is a preparation at the same time for something still further in the future – something which may be a very indefinite possibility, but one which the navy can never for a moment omit from its vision. Thus the Navy is never prepared, but always preparing; and its personnel can never relax from its attitude of aiming always at something just a little better than what it has and is.”

Bold Alligator 2011 was in keeping with our naval traditions of always self-assessing, always looking for improvement, and always preparing for an uncertain future through developing warfighting capability which is certain and ready when our nation requires.

In 2012, we will be executing a major, Fleet-wide live exercise based on the lessons learned during BA ’11. Bold Alligator 2012 will be the largest Navy/Marine Corps exercise of its kind in over ten years. Similar to my ATFP summit back in October, BA’12 will be the capstone event of a year-long effort to revitalize one of our core competencies throughout the Fleet – not just with those ships and units that will participate in the live exercise. Planning for this seminal event will be a key focus of mine over the coming year. Much more to follow so stay tuned. All the best, JCHjr.

1 comment:

Salty Gator said...


These things used to be planned over a weekend. Now it takes us years, literally, just to plan an exercise that will "go live" in 2012...hopefully. This is further proof that eliminating the PHIBGRUs, going with ESG Staffs only in 2nd, 3rd and 5th fleet is a failure. In addition, our amphib fleet readiness has suffered under the FRP and the lack of proper oversight that came with the PHIBGRUs. When you are CNO, I hope that you eliminate the FRP and return us to a normal workup - training - maintenance rotation that will result in us actually preserving our ships and our fighting force.
Salty Gator