FirstSpear Ballistic Advantage

Archive for the ‘USMC’ Category

UCSD Medical Center Requesting MCSC’s Help to Support COVID-19 Crisis

Wednesday, March 25th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —

The University of California San Diego Medical Center has requested Marine Corps Systems Command’s assistance to help medical professionals as they deal with the evolving crisis of COVID-19.

On March 16, Dr. Sidney Merritt, an anesthesiologist at UCSD Medical Center, contacted MCSC’s Advanced Manufacturing Operations Cell requesting assistance in coordinating 3D printer assets to design parts to enable the simultaneous ventilation of multiple patients.

AMOC initiated collaboration with the Naval Information Warfare Center Pacific Reverse Engineering, Science and Technology for Obsolescence, Restoration and Evaluation Lab to rapidly design, print, test and evaluate prototype ventilator splitters using various materials.

The AMOC team also worked with the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery for support in evaluating, certifying and approving the parts prior to delivery to the medical center.

MCSC, NIWC Pacific and UCSD have established a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement to facilitate current and future support requests. A Memorandum of Understanding among MCSC, NIWC Pacific and the Navy’s Bureau of Medicine and Surgery is also being established to codify roles and responsibilities.

MCSC’s involvement

On March 18, Merritt provided design files for the ventilator splitter based upon a successful test print conducted by the UCSD engineering team. UCSD requested assistance in printing ventilator splitters in higher resolution and with diverse materials that could meet specific design requirements.

After receiving the design files, AMOC and the NIWC Pacific RESTORE lab printed several prototypes using different materials. In less than a day, AMOC used its industrial printer in Quantico, Virginia, and the RESTORE Lab employed its organic printers to produce initial prototypes. 

The 3D-printed ventilator splitters were scanned to ensure accuracy with the design files and then brought to UCSD Medical Center for fit testing and further design analysis.

AMOC’s reputation in advanced manufacturing has grown since its establishment in 2019. The cell has demonstrated the ability to produce 3D-printed parts and provide other sustainment and manufacturing solutions in a timely fashion. When called upon, the AMOC can produce parts in a fraction of the time it takes traditional manufacturers.

“AMOC’s response to this situation demonstrates how additive manufacturing can respond quickly to supply chain disruptions and rapidly prototype, evaluate and test new solutions to meet emerging urgent requirements,” said Scott Adams, AMOC lead at MCSC.

The rapid response by AMOC and the NIWC Pacific RESTORE lab to UCSD Medical Center’s request for support is indicative of how the Department of the Navy is prepared to respond to the medical community during the COVID-19 crisis.

“I couldn’t be prouder of the Marine Corps and NIWC Pacific team,” said Carly Jackson, NAVWAR Chief Technology Officer. “We are demonstrating the power, agility and speed of response that our Naval research and development centers bring to bear in times of national need.”

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

Trijicon Awarded $64 Million Contract for Marine Corps Squad Common Optic

Tuesday, February 25th, 2020

Trijicon Inc., Wixom, Michigan, is awarded a maximum $64,000,000 firm-fixed-price, indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the purchase of Squad Common Optic systems, spare parts, training, non-functional units, interim contractor logistics support and refurbishment of test articles.  Work will be performed in Wixom, Michigan, and is expected to be complete by February 2025.  Fiscal 2020 Procurement Marine Corp (PMC) funds in the total amount of $19,077,827 will be obligated immediately following the base contract award.  Delivery order 1 (M67854-20-F-1696) will be awarded in the amount of $48,000; delivery order 2 (M67854-20-F-1697) will be awarded in the amount of $13,237,502; and delivery order 3 (M67854-20-F-1698) will be awarded in the amount of $5,792,325.  PMC funds will expire September 2022.  This contract was competitively procured via Federal Business Opportunities website, with three offers received.  The Marine Corps Systems Command, Quantico, Virginia, is the contracting activity (M67854-20-D-1695).

The optic is the Trijicon VCOG 1-8×28.

MARSOC to Consolidate All Marine Special Operations Forces to Camp Lejeune by 2022

Wednesday, February 19th, 2020

CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. – Marine Forces Special Operations Command will soon begin implementing a phased plan to consolidate all MARSOC personnel and equipment to its headquarters aboard Camp Lejeune by the end of 2022. This initiative will relocate approximately 900 Marines, Sailors, and civilian employees from 1st Marine Raider Battalion and 1st Marine Raider Support Battalion, which have been located aboard Camp Pendleton, C.A. since MARSOC’s inception in 2006.

“MARSOC has been pursuing numerous lines of effort to increase performance, efficiencies, and capabilities in support of the 2018 National Defense Strategy’s imperatives to build a more lethal force and reform the department for greater performance and affordability. One line of effort is the consolidation of all Marine Special Operations Forces to the east coast. Consolidation will enhance the command’s Enterprise Level Agility to meet the future operating environment challenges articulated in the NDS, the Commandant’s Planning Guidance, and our own vision and strategy, MARSOF 2030,” said MajGen Daniel Yoo, MARSOC Commander. “It will also position MARSOC for more economical experimentation, testing, and evaluation of future operating concepts and near-peer offset capabilities, while streamlining organizational learning to enhance component-wide standards, performance, training, and readiness across the force.”

The efficiencies gained through consolidation extend beyond performance and training, with significant impacts to time and money. Consolidation will allow MARSOC to gain back almost 2000 man-days per year that would otherwise be lost to PCS and other TAD requirements not associated with deployments. This creates tangible and significant cost-savings and increased readiness across the force. In addition, MARSOC will be better positioned to meet the Secretary of Defense’s Deployment-to-Dwell (D2D) guidance, providing greater stability and increased quality of life to Marine Raiders and their families.

The physical movement of personnel and equipment from the West to the East Coast will occur over three phases. The phasing plan allows for minimal disruption to normal Marine Corps transition timelines, like those associated with Permanent Change of Station (PCS) orders. It also provides a managed population increase to the local area. Personnel and families will begin moving from the West Coast during the traditional PCS cycle beginning in the summer of 2021.

MARSOC and Marine Corps Installations East (MCIEAST) School Liaisons and Community Plans and Liaison Officers (CPLO) have been working together to estimate impacts on the local communities and school districts. According to Joe Ramirez, MCB Camp Lejeune Director of Government and External Relations, MCB Camp Lejeune will continue working with Onslow and Pender County Schools and Governments to anticipate and plan for increases in student population and to ensure that all students will be accommodated effectively and receive a quality education.

Story by Maj Kristin Tortorici, Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Photo by Cpl Bryann K. Whitley , Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Marine Corps Cold Weather Clothing Evaluations

Monday, February 10th, 2020

Not to be outdone by the Army, the US Marine Corps is evaluating upgrades to their Mountain Cold Weather Clothing & Equipment Program in Norway this Winter.

The MCWCP is a family of cold weather clothing items designed to support Marines operating in wet/cold and dry/cold or mountainous environments with a threshold temperature range from 4.4 to -31.6 °C (40 to -25 °F) when used as a system. The objective temperature range extends down to -37.2°C

Specifically, they are looking at product improvements to Level 1 and 3. They are also exploring mesh underwear for level 1. For Level 3 they want to enhance wicking/moisture transport and drying time and to decide whether it should be wool or synthetic.

There’s a Softshell uniform solution for insulation being evaluated as well. It is quick drying and more breathable than APECS meaning less sweat buildup and condensation inside the garment.

The Marines are also looking at a new balaclava and Extreme Cold Weather Cap as well as handwear systems.

Their handwear evaluation includes a Contact Glove, Intermediate Cold Weather Glove, Extreme Cold Weather Mitten, and Inserts.

Additionally, the Marines are apparently evaluating the Norwegian cold weather “system” which is actually a collection of cobbled together items. Considering the Norwegians are currently in source selection along with Denmark, Finland, and Sweden for the Nordic Combat Uniform, the Marines’ efforts seem to be a waste of time. Even the Norwegians know their clothing needs to replaced so you wonder if it’s not a throwaway, in order to validate current Marine systems as superior.

At any rate, data collected across all efforts will help shape the future of MCWCEP.

MCSC Approves Procurement of New LAV Intercom System

Monday, January 27th, 2020

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va.—In December 2019, the Program Manager for Light Armored Vehicles at Marine Corps Systems Command approved the initial procurement of the TOCNET-G4 Intercom System—or G4 ICS—for use in the Family of LAVs.

The G4 ICS is the LAV communication management system that allows Marines to easily communicate, both internally and externally, improving communication and situational awareness on the battlefield.

“We’re providing a communication capability that offers tremendous utility for Marines,” said Dan O’Conner, the project lead for Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance payloads and capabilities for PM LAV.

The G4 ICS is an easy-to-use tactical communication system comprising a user interface that adapts well to the operational environment of the LAV. The equipment provides enhanced audio quality and performance, said O’Conner.

The intercom also controls the entire

communication suite within the LAV. The G4

ICS gives Marines a single point-of-control for

radios, GPS systems and other technologies rather than having to independently manage each system.

“Not only is it simple to use, [G4 ICS] is interoperable with the existing communication suite within the Marine Corps platform,” said Kim Bowen, deputy program manager for LAV. “It also has the ability to easily add a wireless capability.”

In 2017, the Light Armored Reconnaissance Operational Advisory Group identified upgrading the LAV intercom system as their top priority after receiving complaints from Marines about the legacy ICS. A frequent criticism was the older-generation ICS experienced shutdowns causing a loss of communication and lengthy reboot times.

The G4 ICS is a modern ICS that is more fault-tolerant to LAV electrical fluctuations that cause ICS shutdowns and subsequent reboots. In the unlikely event that the G4 ICS does reboot, the G4 ICS will reboot in a few seconds, said O’Conner.

Stakeholder involvement

PM LAV incorporated Marine Corps stakeholders into the evaluation, assessment and selection process of the new ICS to ensure all parties participated in the selection of the system. The acquisition approach focused on assessing the technology’s value and utility for end users, and strategically conducting test and evaluation trials early in the process to better inform decisions, said O’Conner.

“By doing this, we can deliver an improved ICS to the fleet approximately a year earlier than if we followed traditional acquisition methods,” said O’Conner.

In June 2018, PM LAV conducted market research seeking viable candidates for a replacement intercom system. In April 2019, Marines representing all Light Armored Reconnaissance battalions assessed three candidate systems in a Systems Integration Lab during a user evaluation to provide feedback on performance, utility and usability.

After narrowing the search to two systems, a Limited User Evaluation took place in Twentynine Palms, California, and finished at Camp Pendleton, California, in August 2019.

In November 2019, Marine Corps Operational Test and Evaluation Activity—who helped plan the LUE and managed the conduct of the evaluation—provided an independent System Assessment Report, which provided data to support the selection of the G4 ICS. The SAR provided data that clearly showed the G4 ICS performed superior to its competitor.

“We wanted a reliable and easy-to-maintain system that would meet the current and future needs of the user.” said Steve Myers, MCSC’s program manager for LAV. “That is why [Marines] were involved in every step of the process.”

Initial Operational Capability for the new ICS is scheduled for fiscal year 2021, and Full Operational Capability is slated for fiscal year 2022.

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command

USMC photo by LCpl Nathaniel Q. Hamilton

MARSOC Takes Certification Exercise To The Next Level

Saturday, December 7th, 2019

Marine Forces Special Operations Command recently concluded a series of exercises in the Gulf Coast region aimed at streamlining integration of forces at various command levels. The three-10-day exercises were a collaborative effort between MARSOC, governmental agencies and other stakeholders to evaluate Marine Special Operations units deploying in support of Theater Special Operations Commands and Combined Joint Special Operations Task Forces across the globe.

RAVEN Unit Readiness Exercise serves as the certification exercise for a soon-to-be deploying Marine Special Operations Company. It has evolved into a multilevel venue to integrate the various command structures and capabilities deployed by MARSOC. Each level of command, down to the team, is challenged in planning and executing, and command and controlling activities in urban environments. Through RAVEN, the MARSOC commander ensures operational readiness and capability of Marine Special Operations Forces to conduct special operations missions across a range of military operations and domains. It tests Marine Raiders’ individual and collective abilities to synchronize operations, activities, and actions in the information environment with those in the physical environment to affect decision making and mission planning.

Since its inception in 2012, the unit readiness exercise has become increasingly complex. What was originally done at Fort Irwin, Calif., has expanded to several locations throughout Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi. Teams were spread across a 100-mile area, with the exercise operations center at the National Guard Base in Gulfport, Miss. The decentralized approach is intended to mimic the challenges in communication, planning and logistics when evaluating considerations for mission execution.

“RAVEN’s scenario design incorporates current and future dynamics the joint force may encounter to present exercise participants challenges across the range of military operations,” according to a former company commander, now the special operations officer in charge of the entirety of training execution. “Within this, participants must account for the implications of tactical actions across operational and strategic levels. The great thing about RAVEN is that it lets a unit execute full spectrum operations in a realistic military training environment without any requirements to support the exercise.”

It is also an opportunity to enhance collaboration and strengthen our operational relationships between members of the SOF community, conventional Marine Corps units and other partners with whom Marine Raiders work closely, ensuring MARSOC provides the nation with an agile, adaptive force to meet the complex demands of the future operating environment.

“RAVEN incorporates lessons learned from academia, the joint force, and redeploying MARSOC units to maintain a realistic and current exercise. The [Exercises, Training and Education Branch] consistently seeks incorporation of experimental and new technology, equipment, and TTPs into the exercise providing exposure to the force, and testing and evaluation feedback under simulated real-world conditions,” said the OIC. “This enables the exercise the ability to immediately implement the Commander’s initiatives while quickly adapting to emerging indicators of the future operating environment.”

The exercise also capitalizes on the opportunity to further streamline the integration of other SOF and conventional forces.

“SOF are inherently reliant on support from joint forces across conventional and SOF formations. Conventional forces gain the exposure and experience of working aside SOF units and the joint force improves interoperability with both SOF and conventional forces. As Marines, [Raiders] are intimately familiar with the task organized Marine Air-Ground Task Force concept. Our understanding of the MAGTF, and both USMC and SOCOM concept allow us to improve institutional and operational cooperation through interdependence, interoperability and integration with conventional forces,” said the former company commander.

For this particular exercise, MARSOF integrated with conventional Marine Corps assets from Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 366 from 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing, 3rd Battalion, 6th Marine Regiment, and 2nd Reconnaissance Battalion from 2nd Marine Division and 3rd Assault Amphibian Battalion from 1st Marine Division. There was also integration of Air Force Special Operations Command assets from the 73rd and 319th Special Operations Squadrons, and the 178th Attack Squadron; and Army Special Operations Task Force. These units were able to come together and execute missions beginning at the target development phase all the way through mission execution.

“This is the kind of stuff you envision when you join the Marine Corps,” said one of the platoon commanders from 3rd AABN. “You can see the added excitement and engagement from my Marines who are getting the added exposure to infantry skills that may have some carry over for when we have to operate with infantry Marines in the future,” he added. His team of 15 Marines conducted weapons familiarization, close quarters battle drills and planned and executed a raid with the MSOT they were attached to.

For the MAGTF Marines, the training conducted at RAVEN provides exposure to small unit tactics they might not otherwise receive, particularly units like 3rd AABN, whose day-to-day responsibilities are focused on amphibious assault vehicle readiness, basic formations and water ops, and terrain driving.

At the MARSOC company level, RAVEN is the last in a series of training evolutions within the 180-day training cycle an MSOC will execute in preparation for deployment. At this point, units are refining and streamlining processes. Considerations for mobility, sustainment, and logistics all require additional planning and coordination, according to a critical skills operator and team chief evaluated during this RAVEN series.

Having first participated in RAVEN as a sergeant, the gunnery sergeant has seen the exercise grow in scale and complexity, providing units the ability to execute the full range of special operations core tasks, special insertion skills, and missions against an opposing force.

“The command has invested quite a bit of time and money into making the training challenging and realistic,” he said. While there are still role players, the scenario is much more developed, requiring in-depth analysis in developing possible targets.”

According to this team chief, another aspect that has improved is the extent of the integration of mentor-evaluators and Exercise Control Group into the training.

“It is an opportunity for the team to cross-pollinate [tactics, techniques and procedures] from units across MARSOC. We all have the same baseline, but it comes to identifying gaps and refining efficiencies, down to things as simple as naming conventions,” he said. “Having been a mentor-evaluator and seeing teams go through the stress of the exercise, it is eye-opening to have that outsider’s perspective. It can be time-consuming, but it spreads the learning across the entirety of the exercise.”

MARSOC conducts the RAVEN series several times a year, alternating locations from the Gulf Coast Region and the Kentucky-Tennessee border two to three times per year, with the next one being conducted in April, 2020.

Story and Photos by Gunnery Sgt. Lynn Kinney , Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Additional Photos by Photo by Lance Cpl. Elias Pimentel. Marine Forces, Special Operations Command

Happy Birthday US Marines

Sunday, November 10th, 2019

Here’s the Commandant’s birthday message.

We appreciate everything you’ve done America. Keep it up!

Here’s to 244 more!

Next-Generation Bomb Suit Lightens Load for Marines

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2019

MARINE CORPS BASE QUANTICO, Va. —
Explosive Ordnance Disposal Marines will soon receive a lighter and more capable bomb suit for protection against various threats.

Fielding in 2020, the EOD Advanced Bomb Suit incorporates several 21st century, next-generation technological advancements intended to help EOD Marines withstand arduous conditions on the battlefield.

The system protects against severe injuries caused by blast overpressure, shrapnel, heat and impacts. The suit also comprises an elaborate integrated ventilation system to reduce heat stress and improve breathing.

“The new EOD bomb suit provides the warfighter with additional protection and flexibility,” said Fernando Pena, Marine Corps Systems Command’s project officer for the suit. “It is a superior suit compared with the previous system.”

In 2014, the Corps fielded an innovative bomb suit that has provided protection to the warfighter. However, because threats are ever-evolving, the need to find new ways to safeguard EOD Marines is paramount in carrying out missions and defeating adversaries.

Master Sgt. Zachariah Kindvall, an MCSC subject matter expert for the EOD bomb suit, says the new system helps meet the warfighter’s ever-changing needs.

“The new EOD bomb suit will add another level of personal protection equipment for Marines to use,” said Kindvall. “It provides a higher level of protection than what we currently have.”

The EOD suit meets or exceeds the performance and characteristics of the legacy system. For example, the newer system has a more ergonomic design, offers superior overall balanced protection, and provides greater situational awareness and operational capabilities, said Pena.

Kindvall noted how the suit offers more comfort, reducing the risk of fatigue. He said engineers emphasized the design and fitting of the suit, making it easier for the warfighter to maneuver. The clothing is also easier to don and doff compared with the previous system.

“The foot protection, in particular, is much easier to walk in and provides much more comfort and protection,” said Kindvall.

Additionally, the suit is significantly lighter than its older counterpart—a characteristic of the system Kindvall says can help Marines. Lightening the warfighter’s load is important because too much gear can wear on the warfighter. The new bomb suit reduces weight while also enhancing protection and communication.

“Lightening the load gives Marines more flexibility during missions—even if it is just a reduction of a few pounds,” said Kindvall. “That weight reduction can be significant.”

Both Pena and Kindvall are confident the system will be advantageous on the battlefield. As Pena explained, the warfighter can investigate and perform render-safe procedures involving an improvised explosive device knowing the suit’s added stability can protect them from serious impact and other hazards.

“We as a program office must be proactive in understanding the dynamic changes of today’s threats as well as future threats,” said Pena. “The new EOD bomb suit helps to support this idea.”

By Matt Gonzales, MCSC Office of Public Affairs and Communication | Marine Corps Systems Command