The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry - We Are The Mighty
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The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry

Infantry Marines get specialized training to operate specific weapons, but that could change as the service experiments with a model to create generalists who can use several different systems in combat.

Three infantry battalions are spending two years testing new models that could revolutionize the Marine Corps‘ ground combat element. The effort is part of a 10-year plan to reshape the service as it prepares for possible conflict with near-peer threats — mainly China.

The model that could perhaps lead to the most dramatic changes to the Marine infantry battalion is called the “arms room concept,” which Brig. Gen. Benjamin Watson, head of the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, describes as “an armory of many different systems.”

“Your Marines would be trained in all of them, and then you pick the weapons suited to the mission,” Watson said. “… It’s producing a more mature, sort of multidimensional utility infielder as an infantryman.”Advertisement

Commandant Gen. David Berger released his annual update on Force Design 2030, a directive for sweeping servicewide changes he says are necessary to prep the force for its next fight. Those plans call for a redesigned infantry battalion.

“I am not confident that we have adequately assessed all of the implications of the future operating environment on the proposed structure of our future infantry battalion,” Berger wrote in March 2020. Now, he has directed a battalion in each of the three Marine Corps divisions to begin experimentation.

The “arms room” concept was the model originally proposed to redesign the infantry battalion, Watson said. One of the battalions is experimenting with that model, while the others are testing out a modified version and an alternative.

The concept, officials said, could eventually eliminate infantry battalions’ weapons companies, shifting those weapons — 81mm mortars and the Javelin portable anti-tank missile, for example — into headquarters or rifle companies.

But infantry Marines need different training to employ those weapons.

Grunts traditionally attend basic infantry training before they’re given specialized instruction on a specific weapon system. Now, as part of the experimentation, the Schools of Infantry that train enlisted grunts on both coasts are running 14-week test courses — 50% longer than the current nine-week course.

During the longer course, Watson said, Marines are learning how to operate a host of weapons rather than specializing in one.

“What this would do is increase the duration of the entry-level infantry training pipeline [and] train the infantry Marine in a variety of crew-served weapon systems, such that they are capable of operating more than just one,” he said. “Then, the unit would make the decision — based on the mission they’re assigned, based on the threat, etc. — what weapons systems they’d want to assign to their Marines.”

Lt. Gen. Eric Smith, deputy commandant of Combat Development and Integration, said they recognize there are critics of the “arms room” concept. He said he points those who say it won’t work to the infantry automatic rifle with improved optic.

“You have basically trained Marines hitting targets all day long at 500, 700, 800 meters that used to be the range of school-trained snipers,” Smith said. “[They’re] hitting them all day long because the weapon system and its heavier barrel and the optic that goes with it means basically trained Marines can pick it up and pop individual targets out at ranges that used to be the sole domain of a sniper.”

Similarly, with the new Organic Precision Fires-Infantry loitering munitions, or OPR-I, Smith said Marines can strike targets “well beyond what a 60mm or 81mm mortar can do.”

“You may not need that mortarman to do that,” he said. “… So I would tell the [‘arms room’] naysayers, ‘Hey, give it a minute.'”

The change could ultimately lead to a single military occupational specialty for all infantry personnel. Military.com reported in December that the Marine Corps was considering merging its infantry specialties — which include riflemen, reconnaissance Marines, machine gunners, mortarmen, snipers, anti-tank missile gunners and light-armor vehicle Marines — into a single MOS.

Leaders stressed this week that no decision has been finalized about how the infantry battalion will be organized.

“We’ll come out of this [experimentation] with a recommendation to the commandant on what the future will look like,” Watson said.

Editor’s Note: This story has been updated to correct the identification of the person quoted.

This article originally appeared on Military.com. Follow @militarydotcom on Twitter.

Articles

This Rifle Can Turn Anyone Into An American Sniper

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: TrackingPoint


Your accuracy is guaranteed with Tracking Point’s high-powered, precision-guided rifles.

“Every shot you take is going to land exactly where you send it,” said Anson Gordon – TrackingPoint‘s marketing lead – in an interview with Engadget.

Also Read: The Pentagon Is Developing A Dirt Bike That Barely Makes A Sound

The technology behind these rifles takes a shooter’s experience, skill, and environment factors out of the equation. Simply tag your target and squeeze the trigger. It’s that simple. The same tracking and fire-control capabilities found in advanced fighter jets are incorporated into these rifles, according to TrackingPoint.

“Being proficient at Call of Duty or Battlefield takes more practice and skill than firing a weapon in the real world does now,” reported Timothy for Engadget. “This is the future we live in.”

The rifle also has a password-protected firing mechanism, which doesn’t fire until you’ve aligned the rifle with your target. It also features the ability to video stream, which allows you to share the view from the scope to any device connected to the Internet.

This three-minute video demonstrates how the rifle works:

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This extreme winter survival course teaches troops how to stay alive in Arctic conditions

Few places on the face of the earth can be as unforgiving or as deadly as the frozen Arctic.


Because of the dangers of the Arctic environment, coupled with the growing strategic importance of this part of the world, the US Air Force runs the Arctic Survival School out of Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.

Each year, this five-day intensive training program, also known as Cool School, teaches over 700 servicemembers the survival skills necessary to fight back against nature and survive in the Arctic.

“Mother nature does not like you in this situation,” Survival Instructor Staff Sgt. Seth Reab, tells his students in the morning freeze. “She’s violent. She’s harsh. Your job is to survive until help comes; her job is to find a way to take your life.”

The Air Force’s Cool School, which brings in more than 700 participants every year across all service branches, takes place outside Eielson Air Force Base, deep inside Alaska. Temperatures average about 30 degrees below zero.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon young Jr./USAF

At the start of the course, all participants are given the emergency equipment they would have depending upon what plane they would be flying.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: YouTube

The emergency equipment usually works. But everything else in the Arctic will try to kill the participants. This includes subzero temperatures …

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: YouTube

… and even dehydration. Despite the abundance of snow, it is extremely difficult to drink enough water under harsh Arctic conditions.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: YouTube

One of the first things students are taught is to harvest snow in parachutes, in order to melt it down for water.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon young Jr./USAF

This supply of snow can then be moved into tin cans, in which the snow can be mixed until it melts enough to easily drink.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Warmth is just as important as water. Students are taught to find tender wood with which to build a fire.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

In Cool School, students are taught the ideal way to split wood into longer thin splints that will burn more easily and evenly.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: YouTube

Servicemembers learn to create sparks with a metal match. Though somewhat antiquated, metal matches can be used indefinitely.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: YouTube

Once students create a fire, it can be used for signaling, heat, and food preparation.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Students also learn more basic practical skills — they have to change socks in order to keep feet dry so as to avoid hypothermia.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

On the first night of school, students are taught to create open primitive shelters that provide little insulation from the elements.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Staff Sgt. Joseph Reimer unpacks his duffle bag during the first night of arctic field training near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The course is five days in duration with instruction in familiarization with the arctic environment, medical, personal protection, sustenance and signaling. Reimer is an explosive ordnance disposal technician assigned to the 354th Civil Engineer Squadron

During the second day, instructors teach students to make more complex A-frame shelters out of wood and a parachute or tarp.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Airman 1st Class Ray Simon prepares the cover for his thermalized A-frame shelter during arctic survival training at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The A-frame shelter is designed to keep the survivor warm and dry to endure harsh arctic nights. Simon is a 3rd Maintenance Support Squadron crew chief.

The A-frame is then covered with almost a foot of snow to provide insulation.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Airman 1st Class Ray Simon looks out of his thermalized A-frame tent during Arctic Survival School training. The thermalized A-frame is designed to keep survivors warm and dry in arctic environments. Simon is a 3rd Maintenance Support Squadron crew chief and also a member of a crash disable damage recovery team responsible for retrieving downed aircraft in emergency situations.

Another vital principle of survival students learn is how to create an effective signal fire by placing a flare inside a base of kindling and smoke-generating tree limbs.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Staff Sgt. Vernon Young Jr./USAF

Staff Sgt. Seth Reab ignites a flare in the middle of tender wood to create a smoke signal during a field training lesson at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. The signal flare can be seen for up to 10 miles away and much further when rescue help is coming through the air. Reab is an Air Force Arctic Survival School instructor assigned to Det. 1, 66th Training Squadron at Eielson AFB.

Next to the smoke signal, students create a giant letter ‘V’ to alert passing pilots that they are in need of rescue.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
photo: YouTube

You can watch a recap of the Arctic Survival School below.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

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Every Veteran Should Take ‘The Spartan Pledge’

The issue of suicide within the military and veteran community is a serious problem, and a former soldier named Boone Cutler is taking it head on.


Also Read: One Of America’s Most Elite Universities Is Helping Veterans In A Unique Way

“I will not take my own life by my own hand until I talk to my battle buddy first. My mission is to find a mission to help my warfighter family,” reads the Spartan Pledge, a new initiative started by Cutler.

The pledge started between Cutler and his battle buddy Nacho who served in Iraq with him. They lost touch after the military, but were brought together after Nacho’s friend – who was also a veteran – committed suicide.

The Spartan pledge was created after they both admitted to each other of having suicidal thoughts and not talking about it. Realizing the disproportional suicide rate among veterans, Cutler started engaging other war buddies with his pledge starting a viral effect.

According to Boone, the pledge ensures that veterans take care of themselves, take care of their own, and maintain a mission focus.

Here’s Boone’s video. He requests that you please pass it along.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nslIi09gCLQ

NOW: This disabled veteran describes his scars of war with incredible slam poetry. Watch the video

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Watch Leonard Nimoy in a Marine Corps instructional video from 1954

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Photo: Wikimedia


Long before he played the greatest Starfleet officer of all time and directed the immortal ‘The Voyage Home‘ Leonard Nimoy spent 18 months in the Army reserve. According to Military.com, Nimoy achieved the rank of sergeant and spent much of his army service “putting on shows for the Army Special Services branch which he wrote, narrated, and emceed.”

Also Watch: Actor Joe Mantegna Is Pushing Hard For Veterans’ Issues On ‘Criminal Minds’

Nimoy acted in the following instructional film along with future “Davy Crockett” star Fess Parker. It addressed what was then called combat fatigue, or the emotional and psychological toll of warfare. The film shows how Marine Corps psychologists were supposed to treat combat fatigue sufferers, giving a glimpse into how the wartime military of the 1950s dealt into the still-vital question of how to address the mental health needs of its troops. Nimoy appears as the first of the two Marines in the clip to undergo treatment.

This clip was made in 1954, shortly after the Korean War ended and 12 years before Star Trek premiered on NBC.

More from Business Insider:

This article originally appeared at Business Insider Defense Copyright 2015. Follow BI Defense on Twitter.

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Emerald Warrior 21: The largest Special Operations exercise with a twist

Earlier in March, the Air Force Special Operations Command (AFSOC) had the opportunity to host the biggest annual special operations exercise in the U.S. military. Exercise Emerald Warrior is the largest joint special operations training event in the U.S. Special Operations Command’s (SOCOM) calendar with Spec Ops units from across the different services and even the world participating. It prepares units and operators for a variety of contingencies and threats they might encounter on current and future battlefields.  

But this year’s iteration (Emerald Warrior 21) came with a twist that showcases the Pentagon’s recent shift from counterterrorism to Great Power Competition.

Whereas past versions of Exercise Emerald Warrior focused on direct action and counterterrorism operations, this year’s iteration involved cyberwarfare, intelligence gathering and processing, space warfare, and information operations, among other mission sets. Granted, most special operators won’t get involved in space warfare, but it is useful to understand what the future battlefield might look like. And some of these mission sets, such as information warfare, are becoming increasingly relevant even for units that don’t normally conduct them.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
A U.S. Air Force Special Tactics operator assigned to the 24th Special Operations Wing provides medical care to a simulated casualty as a U.S. Navy MH-60 Sea Hawk from Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron Nine prepares to move casualties to a follow on medical treatment center during a personnel recovery training mission for Emerald Warrior 21.1, Feb. 25, 2021, at the Eglin Range Complex, Florida. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jason Robertson/Released)

In addition to American commandos, special operators from Lithuania and France also participated in Emerald Warrior 21.

“This year, we’ve expanded outside of our normal focal area to an all-domain construct, whether it be the increased use of space, cyber, intelligence, public affairs and information operations,” U.S. Air Force Colonel Kevin Koenig, overall commander of Emerald Warrior, said in a press release. “Our goal is to be prepared in all domains to deter adversaries now and avoid future conflicts. We’re also testing new elements within the command while still maintaining our partner nation and joint training.”

Exercise Emerald Warrior 21 placed special emphasis on cyberwarfare. With Chinese and Russian hackers seemingly running amok and stealing millions of data from the US government and American citizens.

“The cyber domain is getting bigger and bigger because of the prevalence of technology expansion amongst our competitors,” U.S. Air Force 1st Lt. Louis Schuler, the cyber liaison officer with Emerald Warrior, said. “Our greatest strength is our ability to establish connectivity between different domains, so we must utilize our advantages so we can exploit the vulnerabilities of our adversaries and protect our operators.”

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Members of the French Special Operations Forces peer into a courtyard during a raid on an opposing force-held village during Emerald Warrior 21.1, Feb. 25, 2021, at Camp Shelby, Mississippi. Emerald Warrior focused on U.S partner nation relationships while emphasizing joint force interoperability. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Ridge Shan)

Space operations also had a prominent role in this year’s Emerald Warrior. Satellite communications, electronic warfare, and GPS all saw a use during the exercise.

“Our main focus was to provide situational awareness to the command and our operators on what’s going on around the world, kind of a peek around the curtain,” U.S. Air Force Maj. Kevin Aneshansley, AFSOC’s Chief of Space Weapons and Tactics, said. “Essentially, we looked at new ways we can integrate the high ground more efficiently with our human capital. Without space advantages, we would be doing ourselves a disservice when it comes to the great power competition.”

Emerald Warrior 21 has paved the way to what competition with China or Russia might look like.

This article originally appeared on Sandboxx. Follow Sandboxx on Facebook.

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These are the veteran stars of the GI Film Festival

The GI Film Festival is an annual event that introduces new and established filmmakers that honor the stories of the American Armed Forces.


“From the very beginning, it has been about fostering a positive image for men and women in uniform,” said Brandon Millet, co-founder and director of the GI Film Festival. “We’ve expanded that image to also connecting service members to society given that only one percent serve. We want people to come to the event and be highly entertained and walk away with a greater sense of appreciation for what are men and women in uniform do for us on a daily basis and if we accomplish those two missions we’re happy.”

The GI Film Festival is open to filmmakers of every level, from first-timers to veteran directors and producers. Here’s a short video featuring some of the directors, actors, and producers at the GI Film Festival this year:

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This bomb is designed to kill 40 tanks at once

The CBU-105 cluster bomb is a devasting tank-killer. One bomb can carpet an area of 1,500 by 500 feet, roughly 15-acres.


But unlike traditional cluster bombs, the CBU-105 is considered a “smart bomb.” The weapon can destroy multiple moving or stationary threats with minimal collateral damage while leaving no hazardous unexploded ordnance on the battlefield.

Its BLU-108 submunition cylinders use infrared and laser sensors to seek and destroy targets by pattern-matching. If it fails to find a target, the skeet warhead within the bomb self-destructs. And if the self-destruct system fails, a backup timer disables the skeet. The disabled skeets that make it to the ground also have an inert feature, which make it resistant to exploding via tampering, according to Textron.

Watch:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CY9gojFu-_U

ArmedForcesUpdate

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This combat footage shows Special Forces raiding a terrorist compound

No matter where you try to hide, Army Special Forces will find you.


That message is clear by watching this video. Special Forces soldiers catch up with some insurgents in what looks like the only structure in the middle of nowhere. Seriously, it’s like finding Luke Skywalker’s house on Tattooine.

However, Skywalker didn’t have SF hunting him down. The door opens and all hell breaks loose. ISIS should know that, especially since they just freed 70 hostages from their clutches.

Watch: 

H/T: Funker

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The Smartest and Most Hilarious Army-Navy Video Shot This Year

Like any genre or series, over the years the Army-Navy game “Spirit Spot” videos have run the gamut in terms of production values, imagination, and humor. This one gets the WATM vote for best one produced this year:


Watch the 2014 Army-Navy game live from MT Bank Stadium in Baltimore, Maryland on CBS at 3 PM EST.

NOW: Watch Leonard Nimoy In A Marine Corps Instructional Video From 1954

OR WATCH: From US Marine To Successful Photographer

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Researchers believe internet memes are being used as modern-day leaflet propaganda

Armed forces across the planet and throughout history have used leaflets for any number of reasons, from psychological operations to warning civilians about an upcoming attack. For most of this time, this kind of messaging has come in the form of slips of paper dropped in enemy territory from the air for the widest possible dissemination.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Japanese propaganda leaflet left for Allied troops in World War II (Naval Heritage and History Command)

But times are changing, and the technology of psychological operations, along with the way humans can communicate to mass audiences are changing with it. These days, the kinds of propaganda we use can be sent between audiences who aren’t even technically at war with each other.

One side of this communication may not even know they’re using propaganda. That’s where a new study from the University of Maryland says internet memes are being used as a psychological Trojan horse. Author Joshua Troy Nieubuurt says the meme is the latest in the evolution of leaflet propaganda. It’s easy to get a message across, easy to spread that message and plays into existing biases.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
Defense Technical Information Center

Memes are an easy way to share an idea, a fast way to convey a message and, in some cases, a way for the idea to propagate itself and spread in a viral way, whether the idea or message has any real basis in reality. 

They are also readily accepted by those with existing cognitive biases. Humans embrace information that already confirms their view of the world, a phenomenon known as confirmation bias. When someone sees a meme with a message that shares their views, they are more apt to share it. 

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry

People are also more likely to accept ideas shared by official sources and famous people, a phenomenon known as popularity bias. In general terms, everyone wants to be associated with a popular idea, and internet memes are no different. 

Nieubuurt argues that internet memes and their easy shareability are an ideal tool for disseminating ideas to a wide audience across various social media platforms. Since they can be created, used, disseminated and remixed by anyone with internet access, state actors will naturally have an interest in using memes as part of any psy-op plan. 

One of the foreign influence operations to use memes as a tool was the Russian interference campaign in the 2016 presidential election, according to the Internet Research Agency.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry

But perhaps the best reason for using memes as a tool of propaganda is the relative anonymity of its creator. The more viral a meme gets, the further and further away it gets from its origin. So whether or not the information in the meme is true or if its source lacks credibility, it soon becomes so far removed from the creator, that the sources become almost irrelevant.

Basically… Regina George in Mean Girls

In these ways, memes can be used to create and reinforce the legitimacy of certain ideas or policies to the benefit or detriment of political or geopolitical friends and enemies. Whether it aids a political candidate or undermines the government’s coronavirus response, there is always an intended goal in mind for any psychological operations campaign. Memes are just a cheap, easy way to reach those goals.

So the next time you’re considering sharing that viral meme, consider that you might be aiding a foreign intelligence service – and wonder what their goal could be.

Intel

This US Army general was rescued from Vietnam as a young boy

Brig. Gen. Viet X. Luong, who now oversees the training of Afghan forces, was only 9 when his father, a major in the South Vietnamese Marines, told the family that Saigon would soon fall to the North Vietnamese and they must escape.


A reporter friend was able to get them papers to evacuate through Tân Sơn Nhứt Airport.

Arriving just as it came under artillery and rocket bombardment, Luong recalls laying on the ground, listening to the groans of the wounded and praying for salvation. U.S. Marines flew the family to the USS Hancock where, as Saigon fell, Luong decided to join the U.S. military.

Hear the full story at NPR 

OR: These are a former NATO Supreme Allied Commander’s favorite books

Intel

This interactive feature shows the Civil War’s legacy like never before

The Civil War began right as practical photography was coming into its own. For the first time in American history, camera operators could go out and capture the devestation of war.


Now, photographer David Levene has gone back to the battlefields with the 150-year-old pictures and taken photos in the same spot.

The Marine Corps is experimenting with a concept that could reshape the infantry
The interactive archive lets you see the exact same scenes, 150 years apart.

The result is a stark juxtaposition between the horrors of the Civil War and the world modern America became because of those soldiers’ sacrifices.

Rounding out the archive are audio clips from historians who have studied the battlefields.

Se the interactive archive, complete with scenes of Fort Sumter, Antietam, and other famous battles, at The Guardian.

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