Paxton: Special Purpose MAGTFs Successful, but Highlight Need for Amphibs

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  1. AMDR

    AMDR Captain Staff Member Administrator

    Oct 7, 2015
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    Paxton: Special Purpose MAGTFs Successful, but Highlight Need for Amphibs


    ARLINGTON, Va. — The Marine Corps’ success with establishing Special Purpose Marine Air-Ground Task Forces-Crisis Response (SPMAGTF-CRs) in the European/African region and Middle East has demonstrated the flexibility of the Corps in carrying out foreign policy, but it also shows the risk of a shortage of amphibious warfare ships (amphibs).

    Speaking Oct. 7 to an audience at a Navy League Special Topic Breakfast, Gen John M. Paxton Jr., assistant commandant of the Marine Corps, said the SPMAGTF-CRs “showed the utility of the air-ground team, and they also show the risks of a paucity of amphibious shipping.”

    The Marine Corps first activated a SPMAGTF-CR in southern Europe to support U.S. European and U.S African Command, serve as a rapid-response force, and support theater security cooperation and embassy protection in northern Africa. The force includes infantry, MV-22B Osprey assault transport aircraft and KC-130J tanker/transport aircraft.

    The SPMAGTF-CR in the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility is larger and includes tactical jet unit. It has participated in Operation Inherent Resolve in Iraq and Syria.

    The Corps has desired to establish a third SPMAGTF-CR for U.S. Southern Command, but to date has deferred the activation because of the current demand for forces of the other two SPMAGTF-CRs. The Corps also has increased the number of Marines stationed in some embassies and consulates and created a Marine Security Augmentation unit to rapidly deploy for embassy security.

    The need for the SPMGTF-CRs based ashore is a result of the shortage of amphibious shipping, Paxton said.

    “As great as these units are, they also indicate the flexibility within our naval services, but how much more we could do if we had shipping,” he said.

    “The marker [for the number of amphibs] was 38; we agreed to 33,” he said. “We’re at 30. Before he retired, ADM [Jonathan] Greenert [former chief of naval operations] and Gen [James] Amos [former commandant of the Marine Corps] were on record as saying that if you look at the day-to-day operational requirements, we could easily justify 54 amphibs.”

    Paxton praised the Navy’s decision to redesignate some new classes of ships as expeditionary ships to more accurately reflect their roles. The new Mobile Landing Platform is now the Expeditionary Transport Dock ship; the afloat forward-support base ship is now the Expeditionary Base Mobile; and the Joint High-Speed Vessel now is known as the Expeditionary Fast Transport.