Monday, December 29, 2014

Disaggregated MEUs likely to become more common

Disaggregated MEUs likely to become more common: Operating in multiple theaters and under separate chains of command likely will become a more common experience for troops deployed with Marine expeditionary units.

It's known as being disaggregated and split. The latter means ships within an amphibious ready group are more than 200 miles apart, the range of a helicopter. The former refers to those same ships operating in differing combatant commands.

Splitting an ARG is fairly routine, said Marine Col. L.M. Landon, branch head of plans, policies and operations. But disaggregating an MEU was much less common not long ago, he said.

"Historically, they generally stay together," Landon said. "Usually, you would have all three ships within a couple of hundred miles."

But that has changed over the years. The recently returned 22nd MEU, for example, undertook simultaneous operations in the Mediterranean Sea, the Middle East and Africa during its deployment.

"I don't know how much more complicated you can get," said Navy Capt. Neil Karnes, ARG commander, during a briefing before policy experts at a Virginia-based think tank earlier this month.