1

Introduction

CONTEXT

The Office of Naval Research (ONR) asked the Naval Studies Board (NSB) of the National Research Council to review ONR’s Science and Technology (S&T) program that supports the Marine Corps. This review occurred in May 2000 in the context of four ongoing transitions that some might even call revolutions:

  • Building a capability for Operational Maneuver From the Sea,

  • Preparing for the challenges of the so-called three-block war,

  • Entrusting management of Marine Corps S&T to ONR and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and

  • Repackaging much of ONR’s S&T activity into 12 future naval capabilities programs.

Each of these transitions poses challenges to the Marine Corps S&T program and also affected the approach taken in this review.

Ongoing Transitions Affecting the S&T Program

Operational Maneuver From the Sea

The Marine Corps, faced with new threats to traditional amphibious operations and to the Navy assets that supported them, plans to equip and train for a new style of expeditionary warfare known as Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS). 1 Rather than forces taking large beachheads and engaging in subsequent attrition warfare, this concept emphasizes informed maneuver and envisions highly mobile forces holding large inland areas at risk and then maneuvering rapidly to achieve objectives while avoiding concentrated enemy forces.

1  

Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 1996. “Operational Maneuver From the Sea,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., January 4.



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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program 1 Introduction CONTEXT The Office of Naval Research (ONR) asked the Naval Studies Board (NSB) of the National Research Council to review ONR’s Science and Technology (S&T) program that supports the Marine Corps. This review occurred in May 2000 in the context of four ongoing transitions that some might even call revolutions: Building a capability for Operational Maneuver From the Sea, Preparing for the challenges of the so-called three-block war, Entrusting management of Marine Corps S&T to ONR and the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, and Repackaging much of ONR’s S&T activity into 12 future naval capabilities programs. Each of these transitions poses challenges to the Marine Corps S&T program and also affected the approach taken in this review. Ongoing Transitions Affecting the S&T Program Operational Maneuver From the Sea The Marine Corps, faced with new threats to traditional amphibious operations and to the Navy assets that supported them, plans to equip and train for a new style of expeditionary warfare known as Operational Maneuver From the Sea (OMFTS). 1 Rather than forces taking large beachheads and engaging in subsequent attrition warfare, this concept emphasizes informed maneuver and envisions highly mobile forces holding large inland areas at risk and then maneuvering rapidly to achieve objectives while avoiding concentrated enemy forces. 1   Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. 1996. “Operational Maneuver From the Sea,” U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C., January 4.

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program Accomplishing OMFTS will require assault platforms of high speed and range that can be launched from Navy platforms at least 25 nautical miles from hostile shores. The Marine Corps has invested heavily in two platforms—the advanced amphibious assault vehicle (AAAV) with high mobility on both sea and land and the vertical take-off and landing V-22 aircraft—to meet some of these requirements, and the Navy is investing in weapons such as the 5-in. gun-fired extended-range guided munition (ERGM) and the land-attack standard missile (LASM), a variant of the missile used in the Navy Aegis air defense system, to provide long-range fire support to maneuvering Marine Corps elements, thereby reducing some of the logistics burden of bringing armor and artillery pieces ashore. However, completion of the transition to OMFTS will require meeting many other challenges, including the provision of the following: Complete and accurate situational awareness to permit light Marine forces to avoid concentrated enemy forces and mined transit lanes, In-stride clearance of mines and obstacles to avoid giving the enemy time to mass defensive forces, Capabilities for initial assaults over great distances by forces of significant size and power, Long-range fire to deliver effective munitions from ship stand-off distances to inland objective areas, Equipment and procedures to target this long-range fire, Logistics capacity and flexibility to resupply maneuvering forces, and Capabilities to defend assault and logistics vehicles from unavoidable enemy fire. Meeting these challenges will likely require S&T investment. On the other hand, although OMFTS attempts to avoid major firefights between large forces, these confrontations may occur in the future, particularly when situational awareness is incomplete. The Marine Corps must be prepared for these encounters during and beyond the period of transition to OMFTS and will continue to invest to some extent in the equipment for attrition warfare. The challenges for the S&T community are as follows: Balance its investment to enhance the capacity to engage in the old and the new styles of warfare, and Coordinate investments in ground warfare with the Army and in air warfare with the Navy and the Air Force. The Three-Block War Although the Marine Corps must remain ready to achieve forcible entries in major conflicts between nation states, military operations in support of U.S. national interests will more frequently involve the challenging mix of armed confrontations with irregular forces, peacekeeping, and humanitarian operations that has been dubbed the three-block war. Many of these operations will take place in areas with dense civilian populations. Military Operations in Urban Terrain (MOUT) were undertaken by the Marines in heavy combat at Seoul, Korea, in 1950 and Hue, Vietnam, in 1968 and more recently in the evacuation of Mogadishu, Somalia, in 1997.

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program However, MOUT today pose new challenges: not only must they accomplish military objectives but they must also accomplish them in a way that will not undermine the political objectives of the military operations given modern sensitivities. 2 The Marine Corps should expect frequent involvement in three-block wars because, throughout U.S. history, the nation has called on the Marines for paramilitary activity on foreign shores. However, the Marine Corps and the other Services must wrestle with such challenges as the following: Linguistic and cultural diversity hampering intelligence gathering and psychological operations; Difficulties in sensing, targeting, and navigating in urban areas; Limited mobility in urban areas; and Lack of weapons having controllable lethality. Meeting these challenges will likely require S&T investment, but the Marine Corps must coordinate its investments with those made by other Services, by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, and by the special operations, psychological operations, and intelligence communities. Management of Marine Corps S&T The third major transition affecting the committee’s review has been the transition in the management of Marine Corps S&T. In the past, the Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM) managed the Amphibious Warfare Technology (AWT) program. Although the committee did not study the program’s history in detail, it believes that the program was closely tied to existing or planned acquisition programs of record. This tie to preacquisition activities and acquisition support ensured transition opportunities for successes in the S&T program but limited that program’s technological horizon and constrained its capability in accord with the somewhat ponderous pace of acquisition programs. Several years ago, recognizing the need for the rapid co-evolution of capabilities and doctrine, the Marine Corps established the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory (MCWL) as a component of the Marine Corps Combat Development Command (MCCDC), the major command with responsibility for shaping the future Marine Corps. Although Congress provided incremental Marine Corps S&T funding to establish the MCWL, the S&T total has subsequently declined. Over one-half of the total is committed to the MCWL to support experimentation with warfighting concepts, and the baseline AWT program was left with only about one-half of the funding it had before the establishment of the MCWL. The committee was not asked to review MCWL activities. Figure 1.1 , adapted from a slide presented to the committee by Code 353, traces this funding history. In 1999, the Commander of the MCWL was assigned additional duties as Vice Chief of Naval Research, and management of the remaining portion of the AWT program was transferred to ONR’s Code 353, its Expeditionary Warfare Operations Technology Division. That division is led by a civilian with extensive Marine Corps experience and by his Marine Corps officer deputy. Program management has been entrusted to two officers and a civilian; two additional officers are being sought. Much of the determination of specific program directions has apparently been left to the initiative of the performing 2   For additional reading on MOUT, see Marine Corps Combat Development Command. 1997. “A Concept for Future Military Operations on Urbanized Terrain,” United States Marine Corps, Quantico, Va., July 25. Available online at < http://www.concepts.quantico.usmc.mil/mout.htm >.

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program FIGURE 1.1 Profile of funding for Marine Corps S&T, 1990 to 2005. Courtesy of the Office of Naval Research. For definitions of acronyms, see Appendix D . warfare centers such as the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Command (SPAWAR) Systems Center and the Naval Sea Systems Command Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC). The program managers have been physically dispersed to spaces adjacent to the ONR scientific officers managing similar technologies to encourage interactions between the applications domain expertise of the Code 353 junior staff and the scientific expertise of their new neighbors. Both the committee and Code 353 recognize that some of the preacquisition and acquisition support work initiated under the MARCORSYSCOM AWT program lacks the technological aggressiveness that characterizes ONR programs and indeed may not even meet the strict definition of S&T, so that some S&T funding is being spent for work that is not really S&T. However, to the extent that they are necessary components of acquisitions that meet Marine Corps needs, these programs cannot be summarily terminated and must be transitioned in an orderly fashion to more appropriate budget categories. Within FY00, $1 million of Navy 6.1 funding was made available to Code 353 to initiate a basic science program in support of potential Marine Corps needs, and a larger 6.1 effort is contemplated for FY01. At the time of the committee’s review, the initial awards from that science program had just been made, so there was no progress to assess. ONR S&T Management Although ONR integrated the management of related 6.1 (basic research), 6.2 (exploratory development), and 6.3 (advanced development) activities into the same departments in the mid-1990s to facilitate transition, frustration continued over the relative infrequency with which ONR investments visibly influenced fleet capabilities. Most 6.2 was conducted on a level-of-effort basis, and the process for establishing an advanced technology demonstration (ATD) to exhibit the fruits of exploratory development was too uncertain and took too long.

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program During 1999, ONR embarked on a new course intended to overcome these difficulties. Beginning in FY02, most of ONR’s 6.3 funding and about one-half of its 6.2 funding will be concentrated into 12 programs called future naval capabilities (FNCs). Each FNC is a long-term commitment, typically running through the program objective memorandum (POM) years and beyond, to focus investments in a particular area and to harvest promptly technologies suitable for demonstration, and, by demonstrating them, convince the acquisition community to initiate engineering developments that will lead to new naval capabilities. Each FNC is designed to produce its first demonstration within 2 years of initiation and subsequent demonstrations periodically thereafter. Combined with reforms in defense acquisition designed to encourage spiral development, 3 FNCs should lead to the prompt incorporation of new technology into naval systems. Most of ONR’s 6.1 and about one-half of its 6.2 resources are reserved for sustaining what are now called discovery programs, which will produce technology that will be harvested in future FNCs. The Committee’s Approach Exciting as the institutional change within ONR may be, and irrespective of its likely eventual benefits to the Department of the Navy, it posed a problem to the committee. This review was chartered by the ONR department that contains Code 353, but the FNCs will not be managed by ONR’s line departments but by new program offices. Although work that logically follows current Code 353-sponsored activities has been proposed, it is far from clear what will be performed under the direction of Code 353 and what will be performed under FNC management. FNCs in Warfighter Protection, Organic Mine Countermeasures, Missile Defense, Capable Manpower, Time Critical Strike, and Expeditionary Logistics are likely to subsume some of these activities, but the FNC portfolio has not yet been determined. In a few cases, the committee was advised not to comment extensively on a program that was sure to be folded into an FNC. Because the scope of funding for the FNCs had not been determined at the time of the review, Code 353 could not propose specific investment levels for its future discovery program. As a consequence of the transition in the management of Marine Corps S&T and the transition to FNCs in ONR S&T management, the technologically oriented members of the committee found themselves in a difficult position. The MCWL program was not visible to the committee. Some of the old AWT program efforts that had been entrusted to Code 353 presented few technological challenges; some of the contemporary programs were likely to become part of the FNCs and were therefore not within the committee’s purview. No clear investment strategy for new discovery programs could be presented because of uncertainty about what would remain within Code 353’s charter and how much money would be available to execute that charter. Anticipating the committee’s frustration by these circumstances, ONR’s terms of reference requested not only an evaluation of the current program (an evaluation summarized in Table ES.1 ) but also requested the identification of promising alternative investments. The committee’s response to that latter task is summarized in Table ES.2, but it left to others, except in a few obvious cases, the determination of whether some of this work was being or would be pursued at the MCWL or in FNCs. 3   The spiral process, also called evolutionary development of requirements and systems, is an innovative method for fielding a system quickly by using commercial and government off-the-shelf equipment, with maximum user involvement throughout the process (Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., pp. 294-295).

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program GENERAL OBSERVATIONS Addressing in subsequent chapters this study’s terms of reference, the committee in this section makes a number of general observations offered for consideration by the Marine Corps as it develops its S&T program. Lack of Quantitative System Analyses 4 During the development of the OMFTS concept, MCCDC identified the following five “imperative” capabilities to enable OMFTS: Maneuver, Firepower, Logistics, Training and education, and Command and control. ONR uses this framework to organize its S&T. Its command and control program also includes work in communications systems. The committee agrees with this list of imperatives, although it would expand the scope of command and control to include intelligence, reconnaissance, and surveillance—other important elements of information superiority. Formulating an S&T investment strategy requires knowing not only the prospects for improvements in these areas, but also the degree of improvement needed to make OMFTS work. The committee saw considerable qualitative thought in ONR’s description of OMFTS concepts, but, except in logistics, only limited quantitative analysis. The committee did not see any systematic parsing of concepts into required technologies. For example, although the Navy is developing ERGM to meet a range specification supplied by the Marine Corps, the committee did not see analyses that helped specify needed numbers of weapons or rates of fire as a function of operational situations. The committee heard some ideas about how radios and direction finders should perform but received no information on criteria motivating the desired levels of performance. Not only should the Marine Corps perform and exhibit the analyses that lead to performance goals within an imperative, but it should also identify possibilities for trade-offs between imperatives. An obvious trade-off is that between precision and related logistic requirements; for example, the more precisely an enemy location is known and the more precisely the weapons can be aimed, the less demanding the requirement is for transporting ammunition. Other trade-offs doubtless exist and should be explored. MCCDC is probably the appropriate activity for this exploration, given its concept development mission and laboratory and simulation capabilities. 4   The lack of quantitative system analyses is a finding of previous Naval Studies Board reports with regard to science and technology planning. See (1) Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; (2) Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. An Assessment of Undersea Weapons Science and Technology, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.; and (3) Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 1999. 1999 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Air and Surface Weapons Technology Program, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C.

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program The interactions between ONR and MCCDC should be two-way. The OMFTS vision raises challenges whose degree is determined by force size and distances envisioned in the Ship-to-Objective Maneuver (STOM) concept. 5 The complexity associated with executing an OMFTS maneuver can vary by orders of magnitude depending on the combination of force size and STOM distance, not to mention other factors such as whether the environment is hostile or the transit lanes are mined. Technology choices and investment will vary depending on the particular scenario, which the Marine Corps ultimately needs to define. Therefore, ONR should identify breakthrough and enabling technologies and their projected performance improvements and availability dates. This would guide the Navy and Marine Corps in determining the extent to which OMFTS force size and STOM distance can be increased and in planning timephased acquisitions. The two-way interaction would provide both focus for the technologists and guidance for the planners. Relative Neglect of Joint Operations The committee expected that the program would make many references to network-centric operations 6 in general and particularly to the use of multiple nonorganic sensors to provide the exquisitely detailed and accurate situational awareness needed by small, lightly armored ground elements. However, it found little or no commitment to network-centric operations and few systematic analyses of the trade-offs between using organic capabilities and relying on nonorganic support. Neglect of Deception and Concealment OMFTS and STOM envision avoidance of the enemy by light, maneuvering forces. These forces not only must possess excellent situational awareness to avoid blundering into concentrated opposition, but also must keep the adversary from determining their nature and intentions. Although the committee anticipated presentations about technologies that would assist the Marines in concealment from and deception of opposing forces, it did not hear about any programs with this aim. Relative Neglect of MOUT Although a few of the projects reviewed were applicable to MOUT and the three-block war, most were not. Urban operations require different capabilities than OMFTS, even though they are more likely than major regional conflicts. Neglect of applicable S&T could lead to a failure to supply Marines with the materiel needed for effective MOUT. 5   Van Riper, LtGen Paul K. (Ret.). 1997. “A Concept for Ship-to-Objective Maneuver,” Marine Corps Gazette, Marine Corps Association, Quantico, Va., November. The original “Ship-to-Objective Maneuver” Marine Corps concept paper is available online at < http://www.concepts.quantico.usmc.mil/stom.htm >. 6   Network-centric operations are military operations that exploit state-of-the-art information and networking technology to integrate widely dispersed human decision makers, situational and targeting sensors, and forces and weapons into a highly adaptive, comprehensive system to achieve unprecedented mission effectiveness (Naval Studies Board, National Research Council. 2000. Network-Centric Naval Forces: A Transition Strategy for Enhancing Operational Capabilities, National Academy Press, Washington, D.C., p. 1).

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2000 Assessment of the Office of Naval Research’s Marine Corps Science and Technology Program Performer-determined Goals The Marine Corps has no full-time organization analogous to the Navy’s N91 that can set S&T goals based on its oversight of the research, development, test, and evaluation budget and the difficulties in meeting operational requirements encountered by system developers. Formerly, Marine Corps S&T goals were set by occasional roundtables of technology suppliers and users; recently, a working group was established that has resolved to meet periodically. This situation, combined with the lack of quantitative system analysis as discussed above in “ Lack of Quantitative System Analyses ” (page 11), the relative inexperience of some Code 353 personnel in the management of S&T, and the consequent delegation of technical oversight to the system command warfare centers that execute the program, may have led to a portfolio of projects within which priorities and goals were set by the performers on the basis of their capabilities and desires rather than Marine Corps needs. ORGANIZATION OF THIS REPORT Each of the five chapters ( Chapter 2 , Chapter 3 , Chapter 4 , Chapter 5 through Chapter 6 ) that follow pertains to one of the five MCCDC imperatives. Each chapter begins with an overview of the imperative, proceeds to the findings and recommendations for each project presented to the committee at its May 2000 meeting, and concludes with suggestions for other S&T investments and general remarks. The next two chapters ( Chapters 7 and Chapter 8 ) follow a similar outline for 6.1 programs and for the Extending the Littoral Battlespace (ELB) advanced concept technology demonstration (ACTD), which is not part of Code 353’s program and is managed by another division in ONR’s Naval Expeditionary Warfare S&T Department. These chapters are followed by a final chapter ( Chapter 9 ) presenting suggestions for improved program effectiveness and integration with the Marine Corps. Appendix A reproduces the terms of reference under which the committee operated, Appendix B presents highlights from three past training and education studies, Appendix C gives short biographies of the committee members, and Appendix D defines the acronyms used in this report.