Marines Designate Infantry Battalion As New Experimental Unit

marine corps recruit depotMarines assigned to the legendary “Dark Horse” battalion might get the possibility to check out new gear, know-how, and combating strategies earlier than they’re launched service-wide.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller stated Friday that third Battalion, fifth Marines, out of Camp Pendleton, Calif., would spend the following yr appearing because the Corps’ experimental unit, working with the Marine Corps Warfighting Lab to field-test new concepts and gear over the course of strange coaching and operations.

“They’re going to be our experimental platform, if you will, and we’ll give them capabilities and do it in an efficient way — which is, give it to Marines and let them figure it out, because they’re our best developers and experimenters,” Neller stated.

It’s the primary time the Marine Corps has ever designated an experimental unit, and underscores the heavy emphasis the Marine Corps and Navy communities are putting on innovation.

Speaking to Military.com following remarks on the AFCEA West convention in San Diego, Neller stated three/5 was chosen as a result of its schedule made it obtainable. The unit is now deployed to Japan for six months with the Unit Deployment Program.

“Normally, when you go to UDP, you end up sending a company here, a company there, and since we’re looking at distributed ops and how that will all work, everything that was already built in their schedule will already fit that,” Neller stated. He added that Lt. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commander of III Marine Expeditionary Force out of Japan, had proven a eager curiosity in being a part of the deliberate experimentation.

The unit will take part within the worldwide Rim of the Pacific maritime warfare train this summer time, Neller stated. This yr, RIMPAC will function some 40 experiments and experimental ideas.

Marines with three/5 may also anticipate to function with quadcopters or different small unmanned aerial automobiles, check out new communications gear, and experiment with modifications to rifle firm operations.

“So it’s organization, capabilities, technologies, how to distribute companies, how do we sustain them, how do we logistically sustain them, how do we make sure they have enough fire support, how do we move them,” Neller stated.

While many experiments are already deliberate, it is doable new concepts will floor because the yr progresses.

“There will be stuff we’ll discover along the way,” Neller stated. “We’ll be counting on the Marines to say, ‘Hey, it would really help us if we had something that did this.'”

Initially, he stated, Marine Corps brass had thought of establishing a devoted experimental unit to work with the Warfighting Lab, however the concept was scrapped as too troublesome to drag off. However, utilizing a conventional infantry battalion has its personal benefits.

“We’ve found, over the last 15 years of war, the most innovative people out there are the Marines doing the operations,” Neller stated.

— Hope Hodge Seck might be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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