Tuesday, January 6, 2015

Changing sea duty: Marines prep to deploy aboard new ships

Changing sea duty: Marines prep to deploy aboard new ships: Marines and sailors are at the center of a test that could change naval warfare.

Officials from the Corps and Navy are considering a new way of deploying Marines on a wide spectrum of vessels well beyond the standard pumps aboard amphibious assault ships. If the test runs are a success, aircraft carriers, destroyers, and even military cargo ships could become home to Marines headed to the world's next crisis.

Putting Marines on new ships could help military leaders and planners struggling with the shortage of amphibious assault ships. With fewer amphibs at sea, the Corps has stood up two land-based crisis response forces so Marines can be forward deployed to regions where contingencies could erupt. But being at sea is still ideal, according to service leaders, and putting Marines on new vessels could help meet growing mission requirements around the world.

The plan is in the early stages, and officials said it could give combatant commanders an additional company of Marines at the ready to recover a downed pilot, pull Americans out of an embassy under attack, or provide humanitarian assistance after a disaster. For Marines, it would mean new types of sea duty on ships across the Navy fleet.