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Marine Corps Modernizing Emergency Response Capabilities Across The Corps

Tuesday, June 20th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —
Marine Corps bases worldwide are gaining increased emergency response capabilities with the implementation of the Consolidated Emergency Response System, or CERS. CERS standardizes emergency dispatching capabilities and provides emergency first responders with enhanced command and coordination to support all hazardous response missions aboard Marine Corps installations.


Maj. Mark Simmons, systems engineer for Consolidated Emergency Response System, stands in front of a newly-installed CERS emergency dispatcher workstation aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—Enhanced 911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary. CERS increases the effectiveness of emergency response operations aboard Marine Corps installations worldwide. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)

CERS was conceived following the 2009 Fort Hood shooting in which 13 people were killed and 43 wounded or injured. A Department of Defense review of the tragedy highlighted opportunities for improved emergency response procedures and capabilities throughout the DoD. In response, the Marine Corps created the CERS program of record, a multifaceted system that integrates modernized equipment and software to expedite and streamline emergency response activities.

“The Consolidated Emergency Response System standardizes and modernizes emergency dispatching capabilities across the Marine Corps,” said Maj. Mark Simmons, systems engineer for CERS and Enhanced 911 at Marine Corps Systems Command. “CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—E911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, incident records management and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly, and more accurately, dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary in the shortest time possible.”

Modernized Capabilities

CERS was implemented in two phases. The first implementation phase involved the installation of the E911 system on Marine Corps bases worldwide beginning in 2014. E911 provides enhanced, GPS coordinate-driven caller location information to emergency dispatchers, enabling them to provide more precise location information to emergency responders. E911 also establishes 911 as the only number to call for emergencies aboard Marine Corps bases.

“Previously, a lot of bases had a standard base telephone number that they’d call for emergency, fire, law enforcement or emergency medical services, instead of simply dialing 911,” said Simmons. “Now, emergency calls are routed to a single place. Anytime there’s an emergency on base, dial 911.”

The second phase of CERS involved the installation of Computer-Aided Dispatch, incident records management and fire station alerting capabilities.

Computer-Aided Dispatch, or CAD, is the second major component of CERS. CAD is a computer application that allows dispatchers to accurately track and task available emergency responders to expedite response times.

“Essentially, CAD is going to help emergency dispatchers get the first responders to the incident in the quickest, most efficient manner,” said George Berger, Emergency Dispatch Services program manager at Marine Corps Installation Command. “CAD provides an incident records management system and will help emergency dispatchers provide resource management situational awareness.”


An emergency dispatcher uses the newly-installed Consolidated Emergency Response System emergency dispatcher workstation aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. CERS aggregates multiple capabilities—Enhanced 911, Computer-Aided Dispatch, and fire station alerting—into a single workstation, giving emergency dispatchers the ability to quickly dispatch the appropriate assets where necessary. CERS increases the effectiveness of emergency response operations aboard Marine Corps installations worldwide. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Ashley Calingo)

The incident records management system enables dispatch center supervisors to easily retrieve data from past emergency events. Before the incident records management system, supervisors had to review logbooks and databases from different emergency response groups—such as law enforcement and fire—in order to collect all the details that occurred during an incident. Now, the supervisor may accomplish the research from their workstation, using a dedicated organized process not previously available, said Berger.

Enhanced fire station alerts streamline dispatchers’ ability to send emergency responders to the scene of an incident. Base fire stations are also outfitted with upgraded audio and visual cues that are deployable at the push of a dispatcher’s button, decreasing the time it takes for dispatchers to alert emergency responders.

Together, the systems in CERS match the capabilities found in civilian emergency dispatch centers, increasing the effectiveness of operations and lowering response time to incidents aboard Marine Corps installations.

Impacting Marine installations worldwide

The Marine Requirements Oversight Council selected 13 of the 24 Marine Corps bases worldwide to receive CERS. Currently, phase two of CERS is being implemented in emergency dispatch centers at the 13 selected installations. Before CERS, each base had its own method of emergency dispatching, said Berger.

“In many cases, the older emergency dispatch system may have consisted of a pen and paper,” said Berger. “CERS is a standardized solution, which will help coordinate all calls for service and support the moving parts of law enforcement, fire and emergency medical service activities.”

CERS is part of the Supporting Establishment Systems portfolio at Marine Corps Systems Command. The CERS team provides critical information technology solutions to emergency first responders at Marine Corps installations worldwide, heightening the safety and security of Marines, sailors, civilians and families who live and work on base.

“I want to say thank you to the Marine Corps Systems Command folks for going through this effort and fielding this solution,” said Berger. “It’s been a long time coming and the team has been working hard. As the headquarters advocate, I truly appreciate their efforts, as do each of the 13 Installations.”

By Ashley Calingo, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command | June 13, 2017

Marine Corps Systems Command Awards Contract to Produce Enhanced Combat Helmet

Sunday, June 11th, 2017

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. — Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a $51 million contract to provide Enhanced Combat Helmets to every Marine – a move that will help keep Marines safe throughout training and deployments.



Marine Corps Systems Command has awarded a contract to provide Enhanced Combat Helmets to the fleet. The ECH exploits lightweight material technology to provide enhanced ballistic protection against select small arms and fragmentation. The helmet consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads, and four-point retention system. In addition to the above components, a reversible helmet cover, night vision goggle bracket and attachment hardware will be provided for wear. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Sgt. Isaac Ibarra)

Gentex Corporation, of Simpson, Pennsylvania, was selected to produce and deliver the helmets. Gentex was awarded a five-year, indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract.

Since 2014, Marines have only been issued the ECH when they prepare for deployment. This purchase will enable Marines to use the helmet during training as well, eliminating the need to trade helmets before and after deployments.

“Right now, we have three helmets fielded, but the future vision is a single helmet for all operating forces, which greatly simplifies logistics considerations and increases cost savings,” said Nick Pierce, team lead, Body Armor and Load Bearing Equipment.

Also used by the Army and Navy, the ECH provides the most ballistic protection beyond any other Department of Defense helmet. It exploits lightweight material technology to provide enhanced ballistic protection against select small arms and fragmentation. The helmet consists of a ballistic shell, suspension pads and four-point retention system. In addition to those components, a reversible helmet cover, night vision goggle bracket and attachment hardware will be provided for wear.

Helmets were tested as part of the source selection process in January 2017.

First Article Testing will begin in September 2017 and support delivery of the first order for 35,424 helmets. Fielding is scheduled for the spring of 2018 and will include I, II and III Marine Expeditionary Forces.

The ultimate future vision for the ECH is to safeguard Marines in training and deployments with one helmet, Pierce said.

“The ECH is the helmet of the future Marine,” said Maj. John Draper, ECH project officer. “It’s important for Marines to train with the same gear they will bring into combat.”

By Kaitlin Kelly, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command |

Marine Corps Systems Command Aligns Portfolios to MAGTF

Wednesday, June 7th, 2017

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Virginia— Marine Corps Systems Command is realigning its organizational structure to rapidly equip the Marine Air Ground Task Force with the tools needed to adapt and overcome in any clime and place.

Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert B. Neller’s 2016 Fragmentary Order #1, “Advance to Contact,” ordered a comprehensive review of the Corps’ force structure and organization no later than the end of fiscal year 2017. Giving Combat Development and Integration the
office of primary responsibility with Manpower and Reserve Affairs in support, he said, “We will be willing to accept risk in the size and organization of our units in order to create the capabilities we need for the future.”

To that end, MCSC concurrently conducted its own force structure review, according to MCSC Commander Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader. The last force structure review was conducted in 2001.

“We looked at MCSC’s nine program offices, supporting staff elements, and subordinate command Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity to determine if the command was optimally aligned around the nature of the products it provides to the MAGTF,” Shrader said.


U.S. Marines patrol during a live-fire raid training event, part of Mission Rehearsal Exercise, in southern Jordan Sept. 12, 2016. The MRX is a collective training event where the Marine Air Ground Task Force elements collaborate to refine individual and cooperative capabilities. Marine Corps Systems Command, the acquisition command of the Marine Corps, is realigning its organizational structure to more rapidly equip the MAGTF with information technology and ground weapon systems and equipment. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Trever Statz/Released)

“Equipping the MAGTF is what makes Marine Corps acquisition unique,” he said. “It’s what makes us relevant.”

Everything MCSC does supports the MAGTF: command and control; force protection; maneuver; fires; logistics and intelligence. The command’s mission is to develop capability, provide equipment and integrate them throughout and beyond the MAGTF.

On June 1, MCSC reached initial operational capability—a
sea change in the command’s organization that is intended
to enhance MAGTF alignment across product lines. This change means the command will shift away from its former structure of nine program offices, with 32 product managers and 87 teams. The new MAGTF-aligned structure will feature four portfolios that are aligned across the MAGTF elements—with the exception of the Air Combat Element. This new structure will have 14 program managers, including two direct-report program managers.

The command is now realigned under the following portfolio managers: PfM Command Element Systems, PfM Ground Combat Element Systems, PfM Logistics Combat Element Systems and PfM Support Establishment Systems. Twelve of the 14 program managers are aligned under the portfolio managers, and the program managers for Training Systems and Light Armored Vehicles will continue to report directly to the MCSC commander.

Complete integration of the new structure is planned for Oct. 1. It will include refining and defining command relationships; aligning operations and customer interfaces with existing processes for prioritizing, resourcing and assessing work; and documenting and comprehensively supporting the organizational design.

“The future of Marine Corps ground weapons and information technology systems will continue to involve identifying and defeating complex and increasingly sophisticated threats,” said Shrader. “MCSC is prepping the battlefield with an eye on the future. Through our realignment, I am confident we will be better positioned to field the most advanced, affordable and relevant technologies; and increase the speed at which we deliver those capabilities to the MAGTF.”

Marine Corps Issues Sources Sought Notice for Marksmanship Technology Demonstration (MTD) 2017

Thursday, May 18th, 2017

The Marine Corps has issued a Sources Sought Notice to identify technologies for the upcoming Marksmanship Technology Demonstration (MTD) 2017 which will be held at Calvin A. Lloyd Range Complex, Weapons Training Battalion, Marine Corps Base Quantico from 19-21 September 2017 and is aligned with Modern Day Marine. This is a closed demonstration.

Weapons Training Battalion (WTBn), Marine Corps Base Quantico, is the proponent for marksmanship for the United States Marine Corps. As such, this demonstration will identify current and emerging technologies that demonstrate possible solutions to marksmanship gaps and inform Marine Corps future requirements development.

Last year, the Marines looked at Marine load and protection issues. This year, MTD 2017 will focus on five technology areas:
1. Small arms automated smart static targets
2. Small arms automated smart mobile targets
3. Infantry Rifle
4. Infantry Rifle Suppressors
5. Infantry Rifle Optics

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To download PDF, click here.

1. Automated Smart Static Target Systems
The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that can be installed on current standard Known/Unknown- Distance Ranges and equipment that provide immediate, accurate shot to shot feedback to shooters and coaches on the firing line. The Marine Corps is interested in target systems that meet the following specifications:
* Able to accept any kind of target face
* Accurately plot shots on a display with a programmable target face
* Able to take in excess of 10,000 5.56mm impacts before requiring maintenance
* Networked to record each shot and display on tablet/computer located on firing line
* Able to support a 50 target frontage without interference from adjacent targets
* Able to run off of shore power
* Function in all weather conditions (i.e. rain, snow, mist, fog)
* System must be able to integrate with existing Marine Corps infrastructure, in order to ensure the original system may be used as a backup
* Centralized data collection system

2. Automated Smart Mobile Target Systems
The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that is a mobile, man sized 3-dimensional target that provides instant feedback to shooter and coach on a firing line. The Marine Corps is interested in a target system that meets the following specifications:
* A 3-dimensional man-sized target
* Able to move in any direction at variable /programmable speeds (2.5-10 mph)
* Provides accurate, immediate shot location detection as well as a means to provide shot feedback to shooters and coaches at the shooter’s position.
* A perimeter sensor system that could accurately depict misses around the target (6’x6′ example) that could be transmitted to a display located at the firing point for immediate coaching/shooter feedback.
* The target should react (as programmed) to hits or misses.
* The target could communicate with adjacent targets (Bluetooth example) and respond to each other to hits and misses (as programmed).
* Ability to place two target types on one platform that could be “presented” to the shooter (hostile/non hostile example) as programmed.
The target could generate heat for thermal optics.
* Able to take in excess of 10,000 7.62/5.56 mm round impacts before requiring maintenance
* Maintenance cycle that needs to take in consideration hours/days of training required to support up to 22,000 shooters a year.
* 10 hours sustained use before maintenance/recharging
* Centralized data collection system

3. Infantry Rifle
The Marine Corps is interested in rifles that incorporate technologies that are applicable to current and future battlefields. The Marine Corps is interested in a rifle that is guided by the following specific requirements:

Required Characteristics
* Upgrade package (URG + fire control group) or complete rifle with enhanced M27 like capability and features
* Free floated handguard 13” for use with 14.5” or longer barrel, 9.5” for use with 10.3/10.5” barrel. Accepts current authorized attachments (i.e., PEQ15/16, lights, etc.). System maintains accuracy and precision through all positons and means of support (free floated) be it sling, barricade, sandbag, etc.
* 14.5” barrel option, with 24,000 round life with AB49 – 2 MOA precision threshold, 1 MOA precision objective for majority of barrel life (Mean radius) (Army Capability Based Assessment requirements).
* Barrel may include low profile gas block but may not use taper pin
* Installation when using a barrel cartridge (i.e., barrel with gas block and barrel nut pre- installed) should take no more than 10 minutes threshold, 5 minutes objective (2nd echelon maintenance)
* Bolt carrier group optimized for M855A1 use with Picatinny Durable Solid Lubricant coating or any similar variations thereof
* Rail must maintain rigidity and alignment (to within 10 MOA) with the rifle’s zeroed point of aim when external pressures (up to 20 pounds) are applied 11” forward of the receiver (accounting for various means of supporting the weapon and weight of existing attachments and aiming devices)
* Rail must include continuous 1913 Picatinny rail at the 12 o’clock position with no interruption from the receiver rail to the handguard rail (semi-monolithic). Must include anti rotation features, may integrate into upper receiver.
* Rail must have integral forward 1913 Picatinny rail sections at the 3, 6, and 9 o’clock of 2-3” in length. Remainder of rail shall be M-LOK (like on SURG and ASR) at 3, 6, and 9 o’clock. Other surfaces may include holes/cutouts for air circulation and weight reduction.
* Rail must be field strippable in a manner similar to the M27 with captured bolts
* The rail may include a steel, or 7075-T6 aluminum barrel nut, but it must be non indexing in nature
* Rail must accept heat resistant rail covers of a similar nature and material to those found the M27

Desired Characteristics:
* Ability to fire AB39, .264 USA, .260 Remington, M80A1, etc.
* Modular bolt/barrel/magazine & magazine insert conversion packages for caliber changes (compatibility with A059, AB49, AB57, Mk255 Mod 0, etc) and optimized for respective caliber, charge, burn rate, and pressure curve (barrel threads can be 1/2X28 or 5/8X24)
* Novel approaches to lightweight rifle and ammunition
* Ambidextrous bolt catch and non-reciprocating charging handle
* Reversible magazine release and selector
* Adjustable length of pull stock, integral storage for spare bolt and QD sling attachment points
* Upper receiver will arrive with modular rail mounted sling attachment point
* Pistol grip sized for a 5th-95th percentile Marine
* Handguard sized 11-13” consideration to accessory use (lights, lasers, etc)
* Minimum mass cycling components to create no higher G-load than unsuppressed M110 SASS when fired
* High use of corrosion resistant alloys, coatings or treatments
* System deliberately built to perform at optimal level while suppressed – must divert gasses away from the shooter’s eye
* Bolt and barrel life greater than 15,000 rounds with no more than 200 FPS velocity loss
* Entire system serviceable at no higher than 2nd echelon maintenance level
* Coating or surface treatment in coyote brown in order to not stand out visually in combat environment, and desired reduction in IR signature.

4. Infantry Rifle Suppressor
The Marine Corps is interested in new and emerging suppressor technologies. The Marine Corps is interested in a rifle that is guided by the following specific requirements:

Required Characteristics
* Advanced venting to reduce back pressure, cyclic rate, and gas blowback
* Gas flow improvements to reduce or eliminate first-round flash
* Effective attenuation of noise and dust signatures – desired to be hearing safe
* Minimal and consistent point-of-impact shift of no more than 1.5 MOA
* Constructed of advanced high-temperature, corrosion resistant alloys with advanced coatings or treatments
* Service life of 24,000 rounds firing AB49 through a 14.5” barrel
* No longer than 6.5”, desired length 5” (overall length of suppressor), may fit over muzzle device
* Must include locking capability (fast QA/QD capability desirable, but primarily intended to prevent unthreading of suppressor and inevitable baffle strikes)
* May not weigh more than 20 oz.
* Suppressor shall not be capable of disassembly at 1st echelon maintenance level (cleaning interval shall be recommended by manufacturer on basis of weight gain due to carbon buildup if any)
* May include muzzle break/flash suppressor. If included, will utilize existing 1/2X28 threads. May use shims or washers to index properly. May require use of Rocksett to prevent unthreading during use. May not exceed 25 inch pounds of torque for installation. Signature reduction through mitigation of flash and blast overpressure (velocity of redirected gasses as well) is highly desirable.
* Existing NSNs, safety certifications, use or testing by other military agencies is highly desirable

5. Infantry Rifle Optics
The Marine Corps is interested in optics that incorporates technologies that are applicable to current and future battlefields. The Marine Corps is interested in upgrades that meet the specifications of one of the following items:

Required Characteristics
* Magnification from 0/1-8 power to PID threats (presence of weapon) out to 600M, and engage threats in close proximity
* Must possess large and forgiving eyebox and extended eye relief
* Included ambidextrous capable feature to rapidly adjust magnification with non firing hand
* Reticle features for engaging moving threats out to 150M and rapid ranging feature that accounts for average width of human head and of shoulders
* Compatible with clip-on current night vision or thrermal imaging devices (e.g PVS-24A, PAS-27, etc)
* Low profile elevation turret or cap – turrets locking or capped to prevent inadvertent loss of zero in combat conditions
* Scope base/rings must return to zero after removal
* Center of reticle must have daylight bright illuminated dot for close quarter use at 0/1 power.
* Must meet MIL-STD 810G environmental/durability requirements

Desired Characteristics
* Scalable and modular to accept future digital feature set and new reticles requirements
* Potential low end setting as red dot sight (RDS)
* Form factor comparable to existing COTS optics with similar mid range magnification
* Optimized for mounting height over rail at 1.54-1.93”
* Battery life comparable to that of Aimpoint M4S CCO (Army standard optic).
* Squad level networking and target designation capability
* Visually displayed point of impact cue (drawing information from laser rangefinder and ballistic solvers, integral and/or external)

Responses are requested no later than 14 July 2017. Visit www.fbo.gov for full details.

USMC M27 Update – Designated Marksman Role Added

Thursday, May 4th, 2017

During this week’s NDIA Armamement Symposium, Mr Chris Woodburn, Deputy, Maneuver Branch of the Marine Corps Capabilities Development Directorate discussed the expanded roles for the M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle. Adopted in 2011, the M27 is based on Heckler & Koch’s 5.56mm HK416.

The Marine Corps has determined that the M27 has the longest range in the squad and plans to capitalize on this capability. In the near-term, they are planning to reconfigure an undetermined quantity of M27s with 3-9x optics for use as Squad Designated Marksman Rifle (SDM-R). This will happen starting in FY18, with fielding completed by FY19.

Additionally, evaluation of squads equipped solely with the M27 continues by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory. However, signs continue to point to a Marine Corps move to field the M27 to all Infantry. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Gen Robert Neller has a saying, “All Marines are riflemen, but not all Marines are infantrymen.” Based on the current resource constrained environment, his modernization priorities have been the infantry. For instance, the Marines plan to replace their M203 40mm grenade launchers with the M320, which is incidentally also made by H&K, like the M27. While the M320 assuredly adds capability to the squad due to its compatibility with a wider range of ammunition, it is also compatible with the M27, unlike the M203 it will replace.

On another note, Mr Woodburn was asked during a Q&A period about when we should expect the test report for last year’s suppressor evaluation. He said that it should be ready by Fall but that the Marine Corps’ suppressor priority was for its Medium Machine Guns. Scuttlebutt suggests that the Marines noted a decrease in range during the evaluation when used with the M4 and M27. Furthermore, Mr Woodburn mentioned that the Marines are interested in finding a suppressor that is compatible with the M27, which could be construed as further evidence of the Marine Corps’ intent to field more M27s. Or, it could mean that the IAR would be next in line after the suppression of the medium machinegun fleet.

The M27 Sources Sought Notice, released in February by the Marines, received several submissions from industry. MARCORSYSCOM is currently evaluating those submissions in order to help formulate an acquisition strategy. While the Marines are keeping their cards close to their chest, I believe they do intend to field the M27 to at least the Infantry. We will keep an eye on the M27 SDM-R implementation and update you when the USMC takes further action to increase the density of M27 in the rifle squad.

MARCORSYSCOM Hosts NATO Group – Focus ‘all about the Soldier, Sailor, Marine’

Thursday, April 13th, 2017

Defense experts from around the globe gathered at Marine Corps Systems Command April 5-7, to share information and work toward common solutions for complex issues across allied forces.

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems convened at MCSC’s Gruntworks Squad Integration Facility aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. Representatives from 20 countries and three continents discussed standardization of common capabilities and issues for coalition Marines and soldiers worldwide. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. NAAG’s mission is to support nations in achieving the objectives of NATO land force armaments cooperation. It promotes interoperability of alliance and partner armed forces by means of information exchange, materiel standardization and cooperative activities.

IMG_0840
Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of Marine Corps Systems Command, speaks with leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems during the group’s biannual meeting aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico on April 5. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. NAAG’s mission is to support nations in achieving the objectives of NATO land force armaments cooperation. It promotes interoperability of alliance and partner armed forces by means of information exchange, materiel standardization and cooperative activities. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emily Greene)

Brig. Gen. Joseph Shrader, commander of MCSC, kicked off the three-day session with a warm welcome to attendees and provided a glimpse into the priorities of the Marine Corps.

“Our Marine Corps Operating Concept sets forth our commandant’s four directives,” said Shrader. “The future of the Corps is focused on being more capable, more networked, more resilient and more lethal. Those are the things I think about on a daily basis.”

Shrader placed emphasis on the mission of the Marine Corps rifle squad; which is to locate, close with and destroy the enemy by fire and maneuver or to repel the enemy’s assault by fire and close combat. He said the question lies in how to continue accomplishing that mission as technology constantly develops, often adding to the load of the Marine even as it provides increased capability.

“Technology is a tremendous force multiplier, but it can also be a detractor,” Shrader said. “Additional technologies and capabilities often add weight and size to the load our Marines carry. What you are doing here this week is essential to the future success of our forces.”

Shrader was joined by Timothy Goddette, deputy program executive officer at the Army’s Program Executive Office Soldier.

“This group is all about the soldier, the sailor, the Marine. And not just the soldier, but the dismounted soldier,” said Goddette. “The time you spend here this week, and throughout the year is all about lightening the load, making the soldier more lethal, and providing better protection. It’s like the old carpenter’s motto, ‘Measure twice, cut once.’”


Members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization Land Capability Group on Dismounted Soldier Systems examine a prototype for exoskeleton technology April 5, aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. During the three-day session, representatives from 20 countries and three continents discussed standardization of common capabilities and issues for coalition Marines and soldiers worldwide. LCG DSS is part of the NATO Army Armaments Group, one of the three main armaments groups subordinate to NATO’s Conference of National Armaments Directors. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Emily Greene)

Goddette said the group’s work served two important purposes: increasing the effectiveness of coalition forces and reducing defense costs.

“Every dollar we waste on something that doesn’t work is a dollar we could have spent on a soldier or Marine,” Goddette said. “We have to get it right the first time.”

LCG DSS members were also given opportunities to view new technologies that hold potential for future force enhancement and forums in which to share lessons learned and best practices.

“The LCG DSS meetings provide an important opportunity for us to come together as partner nations and share our hard-earned knowledge so that we all can benefit from it,” said Mark Richter, LCG DSS chairman and MCSC Marine Expeditionary Rifle Squad director. “I think we can all agree that our aim is to create systems that will work together in a coalition environment. These meetings are a key factor in facilitating that cross-collaboration.”

Story from www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil

Marines Issue Mission Enhancement Kits For Mossberg 500A2 Shotguns

Thursday, March 9th, 2017

In this article on www.marcorsyscom.marines.mil, entitled, “Marines make an entrance with new breaching capabilities” By Ashley Calingo, Office of Public Affairs and Communications, Marine Corps Systems Command, she discusses the newly acquired Mission Enhancement Kits for the Corps’ Mossberg 500A2 Shotguns. The MEK consists of a shorter breaching barrel and optionsl stock configurations.

The first contract for these kits was awarded to Pro Patria by USSOCOM back in 2009. Since then, Pro Patria has provided kits to the US Army, US Navy and US Marine Corps.

Marine Corps Base Quantico, Va. —
To Marines on a breaching mission, the shotgun is more than just a weapon. It is a tool Marines use to breach—or gain entry into—an enemy-held building using the minimal amount of force. Marine Corps Systems Command’s Military Enhancement Kit gives Marines the tactical advantage by transforming current shotguns into a more compact and versatile weapon.


Sgt. Trenton Hansen, a Special Reaction Team member from the Marine Corps Base Quantico Provost Marshals Office, uses a Military Enhancement Kit to breach open a door. The MEK provides versatile capabilities to Marine units trained to engage on breaching missions. The kit builds upon the Mossberg M500A2, but gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments, including the collapsible buttstock featured in this photo. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Alan Matthews)

The MEK is a ballistic breaching tool—or what Marines use to safely shoot the locks off of doors. It is designed to augment the M500A2 pump-action shotguns currently used by Marine reconnaissance, security forces, military police, explosive ordnance disposal and special operations units. The kit gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments: a pistol grip, fixed buttstock and a collapsible buttstock. At 18 inches long, the MEK’s barrel is nearly three inches shorter than the M500A2’s standard barrel, making it less cumbersome for Marines to carry.

“When you’re breaching or conducting methods of entry, having the ability to secure the weapon on your body without it becoming cumbersome is important,” said Gunnery Sgt. Michael Flor, ballistic breaching course chief and senior instructor at the Methods of Entry School, the Marine Corps center of excellence for breaching. “Having a shorter barrel and a pistol grip removes all of the extra space that is not necessary for ballistic breaching. So when you stow it, you can stow it much more rapidly.”

Current shotguns can be modified by Marine Corps armorers with a special adaptor from the MEK that allows Marines to easily interchange the buttstocks in a matter of seconds without the need for additional tools.

“Having the ability to transition through the three stocks—the folding, the pistol grip and the fixed—makes the weapons more versatile,” Flor said. “The kit allows the weapon to be tailored to the tactical user at the user level.”

The shorter breaching barrel and different stock grips, namely the pistol grip, offer several tactical advantages, Flor said.

“For instance, if reconnaissance Marines repel from a helicopter carrying a long weapon system that’s unsecured, it can catch on parts of the air frame or the rope and become a safety hazard,” Flor said. “Having a shorter weapon system, secured tightly, is more manageable. That’s an advantage.”

The MEK also yields significant savings for the Marine Corps—another advantage.


The Military Enhancement Kit provides versatile capabilities to Marine units trained to engage on breaching missions. The kit builds upon the Mossberg M500A2, but gives Marines a shorter, vented breaching barrel and three interchangeable buttstock attachments pictured here. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Alan Matthews)

“By using the MEK with currently-fielded M500A2 shotguns, the Marine Corps only had to buy the kits,” said Maj. Paul Gillikin, Special Purpose Weapons team lead in MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. “Also, modifying the shotgun in local armories will save time and shipping costs, and units will retain their shotguns on-hand, as opposed to sending them in to a depot for maintenance.”

As part of IWS’s evaluation process, Gillikin and his team turned the kit over to Marines at the Methods of Entry School, located aboard Marine Corps Base Quantico. MOES instructors teach breaching methodology to Marines assigned to Reconnaissance and Force Reconnaissance units, Security Forces Regiment Recapture Tactics teams, Military Police Special Reaction teams, Explosive Ordnance Disposal units and Marine Special Operations Command units. Marines who undergo training at MOES will be the primary users of the kit.

“We reached out early to MOES, and the feedback we received from experts like Gunnery Sgt. Flor and Master Sgt. Bryan Maass was key to helping us get the MEK to Marines,” said Gillikin. “They were able to articulate a capability and requirement, and assist us in test design and execution. Infantry Weapons Systems-South logistics personnel took it the rest of the way by completing the cataloging process, which will allow units to sustain the kit through normal supply requisitioning.”

The MEK is currently being fielded to select units across the Marine Corps, and is one of the many capabilities offered to Marines by MCSC’s Infantry Weapons Systems. IWS strives to ensure that Marines are equipped and ready for their next challenge, whether that means introducing new weapons systems or, in the case of the MEK, enhancing current ones.

BREAKING: USMC Begins Process To Issue M27 IAR to Every Rifleman; Issues RFI To Industry

Friday, February 10th, 2017

Earlier today MARCORSYSCOM issued “Request for Information (RFI) M67854-17-I-1218 For Marine Corps Systems Command (MARCORSYSCOM), Quantico, VA Infantry Automatic Rifle (IAR)”. They are very clear at this point that is solely an initiation of market research under Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) Part 10 and is NOT a Request for Proposal (RFP). To be clear, issuing an RFI is a natural step in the acquisition process.

This action comes after a short duration experiment last Fall during which, an entire Marine Infantry Battalion was equipped with the IAR instead of their issue M4s. The experiment was obviously a success.  At the time there was still no requirement but apparently, they’ve worked that out and lined up funding to make this happen.

As the RFI only calls for the production of an additional 11,000 rifles, this means that only additional select Infantrymen will be issued the M27. Conversely, the Marines purchased over 45,000 M4 carbines. When the M27 IAR was initially selected, the Marines had undertaken a study to determine what it would cost and how quickly the manufacturer H&K, could build the rifles in order to pure fleet the service. At the time, H&K did not have the production capacity to meet the Marine Corps’ fielding timeline so the plan was scrapped. This new move may very well be incremental in nature, with further fielding taking a longer timeline and encompassing a larger portion of the Marines.

The 5.56mm M27 Infantry Automatic Rifle is manufactured by Heckler & Koch. It is based on their HK416 carbine and was fielded to the Marines to supplant beltfed the M249 SAW in the Rifle Squad. This RFI will assuredly be used by SYSCOM to create a a sole-source “Justification and Approval” in order to purchase the rifles directly from manufacturer H&K without going for an open solicitation. While the RFI describes the M27’s salient characteristics to a “T”, what may throw a monkey wrench in this plan is if another manufacturer or two claim they can build the weapons as well with a model based on a 416 clone.

We will watch this procurement closely and keep you updated on its progress. Offerers have until March 17th at 3:00 PM to respond.