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US sailors, marines mix and match forces for better targeting

The US Navy (USN) and US Marine Corps (USMC) are finding more ways to combine units and personnel to provide better targeting, officials from the services said on 16 February during a roundtable discussion about dual amphibious ready group/marine expeditionary unit operations in the Indo-Pacific while conducting the recent ‘Noble Fusion' exercise.

“We're taking what we have and using it [in] unique ways,” said USN Captain Greg Baker, commodore of Amphibious Squadron 11. “We're mixing up our teams the best we can, employing marine personnel on navy systems and likewise with navy personnel on marine systems, both ashore and at sea.”

USMC Colonel Michael Nakonieczny, commander 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit, noted, “We can sense and make sense and send that data to the larger navy to strike.”

Capt Baker cited increased work on developing joint solutions for fires. “That's one of our focus areas,” he said. “We really worked that fires piece, integrating the marine corps, the navy, and our partners.”

During the recent operations, the joint force incorporated USMC Expeditionary Advanced Base (EAB) units, a relatively new concept for deploying smaller and more mobile forces within contested areas, he said.

EABs are “an extension of the naval forces. We could treat that EAB essentially like we would a destroyer” as a “firing EAB”, Capt Baker said.

“We find a maritime target to go after and we could have multiple units engage on that target from destroyers or do that from an EAB by passing targeting data, as well as aircraft from different resources. The ability to target in the maritime is strengthened by the EAB, it's a pretty phenomenal force multiplier,” he added.

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