10 July 2012

Bold Alligator Update

Last month I received the final out-brief of the Bold Alligator 2012 exercise we conducted with MARFORCOM this past February. Overall the exercise was a significant success for our Navy and Marine Corps - we now have a great deal of trends and relevant information to study and learn from before we conduct next year’s exercise.

As I reviewed the findings from the exercise, I was not at all surprised to see that many of our challenges center on command and control (C2) issues. Anyone who read the selections from my BA12 reading list learned about the C2 challenges that were prevalent throughout amphibious operations in WWII, the Korean War and the Falklands. In fact, effective C2 has been the dominant issue in just about every amphibious operation throughout history.

Accordingly, as we’ve now closed the doors on BA12 and have begun preparing for BA13, I want to share two articles with you that I believe capture some of the same issues we experienced during BA12 and thus will help significantly as you think through the planning for BA13.

The first paper, CWC Departing: Return of the Task Force Commander was written in 2009 by LCDR Shane Tanner, USN. In his paper, LCDR Tanner examines the Cold War origins of the Composite Warfare Commander (CWC) structure and discusses how this structure does not fit well in a littoral mindset, or for the call for flexible, tailorable, and scalable naval forces. LCDR Tanner provides an in-depth look at the CWC structure and very clearly articulates the issues as well as his recommendations. I’m classifying this paper as a “must-read” by anyone who is participating in Bold Alligator 2013, particularly at the strategic level.

The second paper, The Littoral Arena was written in 1995 by Rear Admiral Tedidia “Didi” Ya’ari, Israel Navy. In his article, Rear Admiral Ya’ari provides an excellent summary of the factors (such as shore threats, maneuverability, and signature management) that make operating in the littoral environment a challenge for naval forces. I also consider this paper a “must-read” for our BA13 Sailors and Marines.

I strongly encourage everyone to read these articles, share them with your shipmates, discuss them and think about in context of BA12 lessons learned and how we can apply these important lessons to the BA13 campaign plan. All the best, JCHjr

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